Looking back, founders of start-ups, like many human beings, often tend to romanticize their times of trial, however brief or lengthy, when the pressures were the most severe. When such a person says, “I never felt so alive,” he or she often means, “I had to do the jobs of three or four people at the same time.” While surviving a war or overcoming a life-threatening disease are arguably tougher, starting a business is not unlike the challenges faced by the millions of immigrants who leave their native countries with few possessions and risk everything to take their chances in the new world.
While it's technically true that Lauro Rizzatti was not one of the original four founders of EVE, starting EVE's US operation on his own was certainly equivalent, in this writer's judgment. The other six EVE employees at the time were staying afloat in France by doing consulting projects for end users of emulation systems offered by rivals, such as those sold at the time by Mentor Graphics and a few others. The EVE folks in Palaiseau had little money to spare and were in any case 6000 miles distant, so Lauro was essentially on his own. No outside funding for EVE from venture sources yet existed. Lauro went for half a year with no salary at all.
Outside EVE Investors:
So for three years, the tiny EVE SA enterprise in France was self-funded until the French headquarters finally landed EVE's first venture round of some three million Euros, led by the French branch of worldwide venture firm 3i.
(Note: Early on, EVE management explicitly chose to rely solely on capital sources in Europe. Not only was venture capital eventually available, but also with rare exceptions, European VC's are thought to provide more patient money than their American counterparts. Moreover, the French government offered entrepreneurial entities zero interest loans used for supporting R&D).
EVE subsequently enjoyed two further rounds of venture funding from European sources after the first round in 2003. That's it - three rounds - about US$20 million in total. None since 2006.
Investor 3i participated in each of the three rounds, but 3i has since sold its entire stake in EVE to Encore Ventures, a leading European secondary team that acquires portfolios of investments in growth and venture-stage companies. Other investors in EVE include Auriga Partners, Crédit Agricole, Siparex, and Rothschild. The members of the EVE board of directors currently representing these five investment firms are Jean-David Chamboredon, Philippe Granger, Michel de Lempdes, Pascal Demichel; and Jean-Michel Beghin, respectively.
Other Members of the EVE Board of Directors:
While the EVE investors described in the foregoing are critical to the financial well-being of EVE, the executive, technical, marketing, sales and customer directions of the enterprise must also be represented and nurtured at the Board level. The four remaining EVE BOD members focus on the latter functions: Luc Burgun, Ludovic Larzul, Venk Shukla, and Robert Eckelmann. (Over time of course, all BOD members grapple with both financial and operations functions as necessary).
Two of the four founders of EVE who also participate on the Board are EVE executives Dr. Luc Burgun and Mr. Ludovic Larzul:
Today Luc Burgun is president & CEO of EVE.
Luc was born in Brest, a well-known city in Brittany in north-western France . Brest was an important seaport for centuries of French history, long before it fell into the hands of German occupiers during World War II. (In the image below, Brest is is represented as the black dot at the far western tip of France).
Once occupied by the enemy, Brest suffered the misfortune of repeated Allied air attacks during the war in an ongoing effort to destroy the notorious German Unterseeboot (U-boat) pens that were built there. After the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy, the city was virtually leveled in the subsequent Battle of Brest. But before surrendering to the Allies, the occupying Germans destroyed the Brest port facilities. Repairs were not completed until long after VE Day in May 1945, so the Allies never were able to supply the war effort through Brest.
Lauro Rizzatti says that the French people of Brittany are known for “their no-nonsense attitudes; a people of few words driven by results.” Such traits are often evident in Luc Burgun's personality, according to Lauro.
As a student, Luc excelled for years at sports, especially Track and Field, running often in the French 900- and 1500-meter championship races, honing his competitive instincts which carry over to the world of business.
Château de Brest Castle and Tour Tanguy on the River Penfeld in Brest
Along the way, Luc earned a PhD in Computer Science and Logic Synthesis at the world-famous University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris:
Subsequently Luc has accumulated some 20 years of experience in EDA, holding many engineering and executive positions. Prior to founding EVE, Luc headed the aforementioned R&D team of Meta Systems, specializing in hardware emulation. He has published numerous articles at international technical conferences and has been granted six patents on accelerated verification.
To this day Luc keeps fit via a regular regimen of jogging, biking, hiking, climbing, swimming and cross country. A multi-dimensional Frenchman, Luc balances his scientific and executive pursuits at EVE with creative and relaxing hobbies such as composing music, singing and playing guitar. He also maintains a 2000 bottle wine cellar with a preference for - you guessed it - Bordeaux vintages, some quite rare.
Luc is also President of the Supervisory Board of CoFluent Design, a privately held hi-tech company headquartered in Nantes, France, and a leader in system-level modeling and simulation solutions that allow developers of electronic devices and chips to quickly imagine new concepts and architectures. Spun-off from the French University of Nantes, founded in 2003 by Jean Paul Calvez, Stéphane Leclercq and Vincent Perrier, the company has received several awards from the French Senate and the French Department of Research and New Technologies. In 2007 CoFluent Design raised $2.6 million in venture funding. CoFluent Design's technology has been adopted by several global leaders of the electronics industry. The company runs direct operations in France, Japan and North-America (San Jose), and it has distributors around the world.
Ludovic Larzul is Vice President of Engineering for EVE.
Ludovic Larzul is also one of the founders of EVE. Ludovic has accumulated over thirteen years of experience in CAD development. He has worked on numerous projects including the integration between hardware emulators and popular software simulators, efficient interfaces based on transactors, communication between multiple emulation systems, system-level place and route, etc.
Ludovic holds a Diplome d'Ingenieur de l'Institut de Recherche et d'Enseignement Superieur aux Techniques de l'Electronique (Ecole Polytechnique de Nantes):
Also serving on the EVE BOD today are two highly-regarded independent individuals Messrs. Venk Shukla and Robert Eckelmann, who joined the BOD in 2004 and 2003, respectively. Both have outstanding career credentials, as summarized below:
Venk Shukla has had a long and varied career that includes sales, marketing, and general management experience, and a proven track record of leading companies through rapid growth. He was most recently senior vice president of marketing at Magma Design Automation Inc. Before joining Magma, Shukla was CEO and co-founder of Everypath, a leader in enterprise mobile computing. Previously, he was vice president of marketing at Ambit Design Systems, acquired by Cadence Design Systems, and a marketing executive at Cadence. At Systems & Networks, a network planning software company, he was vice president of marketing and sales. He also worked in sales at Teradyne, Inc. In 1990 Shukla helped found the standards organization, Open Verilog International (OVI), which has since become Accellera. He started his career in Civil Service where he was an under-secretary within the Indian federal government.
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-- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.