Since this writer began the current series of EDA WEEKLY articles back in November 2009, the exploits of publicly-held EDA companies have received the most attention. While the general citizenry may not relate to the existence of most EDA companies, whether large or small, public or private, their names and logos are familiar to most electronics aficionados around the world, especially in locations where the largest EDA suppliers are headquartered.
The west coast of the United States sports the homes of the Big 3 EDA vendors, with Synopsys and Cadence in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Mentor Graphics Corporation in nearby Oregon. Agilent EEsof EDA, likely the fourth largest enterprise in terms of EDA revenue, is in Santa Rosa, CA. Apache, recently acquired by Pittsburgh’s multi-physics MCAE vendor ANSYS, is here in the Bay Area. So too is Autodesk, on the mechanical CAD side, whose HQ is in San Rafael, CA. Hundreds of other design automation firms also flourish here.
While there may be a valid chicken-egg argument to make, the support of world-class universities and a thriving venture capital industry have made Silicon Valley an especially attractive hub of EDA activity, with its highly-agreeable weather year round; spectacular coastal scenery, mountains, National Parks and winter sports only hours away; and need I mention, its liberal political climate.
Sure, it’s expensive to live here and it’s getting more and more crowded, with a morning and evening commute of epic proportions, but there are expanding Bay Area Rapid Transit, light rail, and Caltrain systems and other public transportation available; three major airports; and who doesn’t treasure an occasional automobile trip across the Oakland Bay Bridge or incomparable Golden Gate Bridge to the headlands, redwoods or Napa and Sonoma Valleys?
Yes, living space remains dear (my SF Bay Area house is a fifth the size of our previous dwellings in Oregon or in the Midwest). Our yards are miniscule and neighbors are close. But what neighbors they are! On our little street alone: university professors; television personalities; symphony musicians; a house full of undergraduate students, Master’s and PhD candidates; post-docs; physicians; apartment dwellers; a family of two daddies, one mommy and a beautiful baby; Nobel Laureates; and professional people from everywhere in the world!
Let’s not forget the even larger population of private EDA enterprises, many of which are formed here by ex-employees of the largest public EDA vendors. Many private EDA companies are started in Silicon Valley from scratch by people who arrive just for that reason. And frequently, private companies begun elsewhere eventually move their headquarters here.
To move the needle back toward a balance between private and public EDA vendors covered in the EDA WEEKLY by this writer, for February 2012, we choose two private companies from the categories mentioned above: Silicon Frontline Technology, Inc. and Breker Verification Systems, Inc.
The headquarters of Silicon Frontline are located at 595 Millich Drive, Suite 206, Campbell, CA 95008, about 7 miles southwest of the city center of San Jose, CA.
There is also a Silicon Frontline Branch Office in Belarus. Offshore sales representatives are based in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.
While Silicon Frontline is a young company, its founders and electronic verification experts already had years of Silicon Valley experience under their belts, having worked at Epic Technology and then founding Nassda Corporation in 1998.
Before being acquired by Synopsys in 2005, Nassda had become a provider of full-chip circuit verification software for complex nanometer semiconductors. Cofounder Yuri Feinberg was in charge of post-layout simulation at Nassda and cofounder Andrei Tcherniaev was in Nassda’s Simulation Core Technology Group. They were the original developers of HSIM, the EDA industry’s first hierarchical circuit simulator.
EDACafe.com Coverage of Nassda
As it happens, Nassda had been one of the initial nine publicly-held companies included in the EDA Commentaries posted quarterly in EDACafe.com by the writer and his associates since 2003.
Indeed, the December 2004 EDA Commentary reported that Synopsys and Nassda had announced a proposed merger on December 1, 2004. Measured by annual revenue, Synopsys today is the largest EDA vendor in the world. The two companies entered into a merger agreement in late 2004 providing for the acquisition of Nassda by Synopsys in an all-cash transaction at $7.00 per share, subject to the closing of the acquisition, settling all outstanding litigation by Synopsys against Nassda and certain Nassda officers, directors and employees.
On January 10, 2005 Nassda said that the Federal Trade Commission had requested additional information and documentary material in connection with its review of the proposed merger, to which both Nassda and Synopsys quickly complied.
Meanwhile, on January 12, 2005, Nassda announced the financial results for its first quarter of fiscal 2005, ending December 31, 2004. Total Nassda Revenue for the quarter was $11.3 million, an increase of 16% from $9.7 million in the same quarter the previous year and highest quarterly revenue in Nassda’s history.
Dr. Sang Wang, then Nassda’s Chief Executive Officer, said at the time, "First fiscal quarters are always seasonally challenging. We are pleased to have achieved satisfactory financial results, exceeding both the revenue and earnings expectations for the first quarter of our fiscal 2005, and maintaining our total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments balances at $101.0 million." Nassda CEO Wang continued, "Even though the semiconductor industry completed 2004 with good growth, we expect that the customers will continue to be very cautious with their spending. Nevertheless, as design starts steadily move to smaller and smaller geometries, we expect the need for nanometer verification software will become even more prominent."
By the time Synopsys finally completed its acquisition of Nassda in May 2005, Nassda had announced the financial results for its second quarter of fiscal 2005. Total Nassda revenue for its second quarter was $12.3 million, another increase from the record revenue of $11.3 million for the just-previous first quarter. Net income for the second quarter was $1.9 million. This time, Sang Wang said, "We are very proud to have achieved another quarter of sequential revenue growth and (we) returned to profitability despite the substantial costs incurred related to the pending acquisition. Our total cash, cash equivalents and short-term investment balances have also increased to $107.9 million at March 31, 2005."
The financial and legal issues associated with the eventual May, 2005 acquisition of Nassda by Synopsys were unusually complicated. This excerpt was taken from the Synopsys 10K filed on December 21, 2007:
Purchase Price. The Company acquired all the outstanding shares of Nassda for total cash consideration of $200.2 million, or $7.00 per share. In addition, as required by the merger agreement, certain Nassda officers, directors and employees who were defendants in certain preexisting litigation between Synopsys and Nassda made settlement payments to Synopsys in the aggregate amount of $61.6 million.
Net of the settlement payments described above, the Company paid $138.6 million in cash to the former shareholders of Nassda. However, in accordance with EITF 04-01, Accounting for Preexisting Relationships between the Parties to a Business Combination, the Company was required to separately value the settlement of the previously existing Nassda litigation and the business combination. The Company determined the fair value of the settlement to be $33.0 million and recorded this amount as other non-operating income. The Company valued the net assets acquired from Nassda in the business combination at $196.9 million. The total purchase price included $13.2 million in acquisition-related costs and $12.1 million in vested stock options assumed.
Acquisition-related costs of $13.2 million consist primarily of professional service fees, which include legal, tax and accounting fees; severance costs for employee termination, and other directly related charges. As of October 31, 2007, the Company has paid all the costs related to this acquisition.
Assets Acquired. The Company acquired $30.4 million of intangible assets consisting of $15.7 million in core developed technology, $7.3 million in customer relationships, $5.9 million in contract rights and $1.5 million in non competes to be amortized over three to five years. Additionally, the Company acquired tangible assets of $116.7 million and assumed liabilities of $42.5 million.
Goodwill, representing the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of the net tangible and identifiable intangible assets acquired in the merger was $92.4 million. Goodwill resulted primarily from the Company's expectation of synergies from the integration of Nassda’s technology with the Company's technology and operations. During fiscal year 2006, reversal of $0.5 million acquisition related costs and $2.6 million tax related adjustments resulted in a reduction in goodwill. During fiscal year 2007, $0.6 million tax related adjustments resulted in a further reduction in goodwill. As of October 31, 2007, the goodwill acquired resulting from the acquisition of Nassda was $88.7 million.
Enter Silicon Frontline
Once Feinberg and Tcherniaev had departed from Nassda, and with the guidance and support of the former Nassda CEO Sang Wang, they founded Silicon Frontline.
“We founded Silicon Frontline with the goal of moving post-layout verification technology to the next level,” said Yuri Feinberg, as the new CEO of Silicon Frontline. “We wanted EDA users to experience what hadn’t been possible before—Guaranteed Accuracy and fast parasitic extraction and analysis for post-layout verification.”
Wow, who could resist that description? As it turns out, not many, once you realize you need it! The company, with fewer than 20 employees, has landed over 25 customers since its first products began shipping in Q2 2009, including 10 of the top semiconductor vendors and over 250 separate designs. Customers have used Silicon Frontline technology to solve problems for 28nm and 40nm sensitive analog circuits, analog digital convertors, image sensors, memories, custom digital designs and power devices.
While revenue creation has not always been smooth and exponential, here is what VP Sales and Marketing Dermott Lynch told me recently about Silicon Frontline’s results in 2011, “We are very happy to have our products adopted by so many companies. We are grateful for our customers' support and on-going commitments, which in 2011 led many customers to significantly increase their license count, and/or to purchase additional products. With the growth from our initial products R3D (resistive 3D extraction and analysis) and F3D (Fast 3D extraction), and our recently introduced H3D (Hierarchical 3D extractor), Silicon Frontline finished 2011 very favorably and enters 2012 with high confidence.”
Current Products of Silicon Frontline
Silicon Frontline today has a product portfolio as follows:
H3D – Hierarchical 3D RC Extraction
Nanometer process technologies permit designers to develop innovative circuits, delivering high-performance functionality and incorporating logic, memory, analog and RF on a single CMOS die.
F3D – Fast 3D Extraction
F3D is a 3D capacitance and distributed RC extractor based on stochastic random walk method. F3D calculates capacitances from first principles using the original layout configuration, including all 3D and advanced manufacturing effects associated with 65nm, 45nm processes, and beyond.
R3D – Resistive 3D Extraction and Analysis
R3D is a resistive 3D extraction and analysis product for large resistive structures like power devices. Efficiency and reliability are key design criteria and R3D provides a solution to calculate and optimize both.
P2P: Point to Point Resistance extraction and analysis
ESD Checker: Full chip ESD analysis
Why the electronics industry needs 3-D technology
Why 3D extraction? “It all comes down to the need to create, from the layout view, a more precise electrical circuit model, which when simulated gives the designer performance characteristics such as timing, power and noise, as well as other important parameters like gain, bandwidth and reliability,” according to Dermott Lynch.
What's wrong with 2.5D extraction technology?
Traditional tools available from some other EDA providers are polarized. On one hand, 2.5D extractors scan through the layout geometries, devices and interconnect, looking for matches with pre-characterized patterns. When they find a match, they check sizes, run some calculations, and produce R and C values for back-annotation into the netlist. Capacity is rarely a problem for these products, and performance has been mostly acceptable (though the run time is lengthening, due to a greater number of more complex patterns for which to check); however, what has become increasingly an issue is precision.
For example, Figure 1 shows a typical MOMCAP structure, which due to the 3D topology requires 3D extraction to ensure accuracy; 2D or 2.5D extractors simply don’t handle this topology correctly.
At the more advanced process nodes, designers need to extract distributed RC models that incorporate crosstalk, fringing and shielding capacitance — and more — between interconnect segments in an increasingly complex metal stack, as well as between devices and interconnect. And don't forget the substrate. Since 2.5D extraction lacks the necessary precision for nm designs, designers are forced to follow conservative design practices, giving sub-optimal designs.
Backgrounds of Key People associated with Silicon Frontline
Let’s find out more about the key folks at Silicon Frontline:
Yuri Feinberg – Silicon Frontline Co-founder & CEO
In his career prior to 2007, Yuri Feinberg had realized that the bulk of a design team’s work was focused on the physical side of electronic design with verification being a cumbersome and slow process. At Silicon Frontline, he wanted to develop tools that would streamline the verification process and therefore achieve quality levels rapidly with a reduced resource requirement.
Yuri was born in the city of Minsk, in Belarus, to Alla and Valerie Feinberg. Minsk is the capital and largest city in Belarus. Minsk is also a headquarters of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). It had a population of 1.8 million as of 2009.
The earliest references to Minsk date to the 11th century (1067). It was annexed by Russia in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of Poland. From 1919–1991, Minsk was the capital of the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Yuri has one younger brother, Alex, who is an engineer at LinkedIn.
Yuri attended St. Petersburg Engineering Academy, graduating with a Master’s degree. The university trains experts in the field of construction of buildings and special structures, engineering and technical systems, and the power industry. It has a modern experimental base for testing various thermal-mechanical and power equipment, structures and construction materials, and carries out research and development activities.
Yuri’s wife, Yulia, is an engineer working for Intel. The couple has 3 children, 2 boys and a girl. The two older children attend Harker Academy, while the younger boy recently celebrated his first birthday.
Dr. Maxim Ershov – Silicon Frontline Chief Technology Officer
Dr. Maxim Ershov is Silicon Frontline’s CTO, having joined the Company in September of 2007.
Maxim was born in the city of Yaroslavl, Russia, located 250 kilometers (160 mi) northeast of Moscow.
Maxim’s father worked as an engineer and schoolteacher. Maxim has 2 siblings, both of whom still live in Russia working in the medical and financial fields.
In his younger years, Maxim was heavily involved in sports, competing in swimming and rowing, while also playing on local soccer teams. Additionally, his love of things technical led him to an interest in radio-engineering, and he filled any remaining time by being an avid reader. Maxim attended boarding school at the Moscow State University, specializing in physics and mathematics.
During his high school years, he won first prize in the Russian Olympiad in physics in 1982.
Maxim then attended the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology from 1983-1989, where he graduated with a M.Sc. in solid state electronics. While there, he also achieved first prize in the USSR Olympiad in physics in 1986.
Maxim continued his studies, attending the Russian Academy of Sciences where he earned a Ph.D. in Solid State Electronics in 1992. From 1993 until 1998, Dr. Ershov was an Assistant Professor at the University of Aizu, Japan; and from 1999 until 2001, he was an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University, USA. Maxim joined PDF Solutions in 2001 working as a Senior Engineer. In 2004 he moved to T-RAM Semiconductor as a senior staff device engineer and joined Foveon, Inc. from 2006 until 2007. Dr. Ershov has published over 100 reviewed papers.
By the way, Dr. Ershov and several others at Silicon Frontline have absorbed the work in which Andrei Tcherniaev was involved. After nearly five years of helping Silicon Frontline to ensure that the company’s “extraction” products were solidly established, Andrei has joined a group at Cadence to pursue once more his affection for electronics “simulation.”
Dermott Lynch – Silicon Frontline VP Sales & Marketing
Dermott Lynch, VP Sales and Marketing, joined the company in April 2008. Prior to Silicon Frontline, Dermott was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Infinisim, beginning in May 2005. Prior to Infinisim, he was VP Sales at Nassda and previously was VP at Sente, Inc.
He also spent 4 years at Quad Design/Viewlogic as Director of Technical Marketing and in previous assignments in software and hardware design at Hyster, Ashling Microsystems and Elcor Associates.
Dermott was born in the city of Coventry, in 1961, to Jerry and Lily Lynch. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England. It is situated 95 miles (153 km) northwest of London.
Dermott’s father, Jerry, held numerous jobs; including butcher, bartender, and farmer, and he is now retired. His mother, Lily, was, and continues to be, a homemaker. They now live in Bailieborough, County Cavan, Republic of Ireland, where they have resided since 1975.
Dermott has 3 brothers and 1 sister, all of whom live in Bailieborough. His older brother works for the Department of Agriculture while his 2 younger brothers are school teachers. His sister, previously an accountant and school teacher, now runs a family business with her husband.
The family returned to Ireland in 1962 and settled in Dublin, Ireland’s capital city. While there, Dermott attended Our Lady of Victories Primary School from 1965 until 1973. This was followed by attending Beneavin College Secondary School. In 1975 the family moved to Bailieborough, and Dermott studied at Lourdesville Secondary School until 1978.
During his younger years, Dermott spent all his free time playing soccer, Gaelic Football, and running cross country. While playing with Beneavin College, the school won the national championship. Nowadays, he continues to enjoy playing soccer.
Dermott attended University College, Dublin’s Engineering School, from 1978 to 1983, receiving a B.E. (First Class Honors) in '82 and a M. Eng. Sc. in ’83. From there he worked for Hyster Corporation doing hardware and software design of mobile platforms – automated forklifts. During this time he spent a year in Portland, Oregon at the company’s headquarters. From Hyster he joined Ashling Microsystems again becoming involved in development. In 1988 he joined Elcor Associates, distributing EDA products including Orcad; PADS-PCB; and Quad Design, which he later joined.
In 1996 he teamed with Sente, Inc., the leader in RTL level power analysis, covering numerous roles from Director of Technical Marketing, VP of International Sales, and VP of Business Development. He met up with Yuri and Andrew when he joined Nassda in 2000, where he worked with the sales team and eventually became VP of Sales. After Nassda, he worked as VP of Sales and Marketing for Infinisim, Inc. He moved to Silicon Frontline in 2008.
Dermott met his wife, Susan, in San Jose, where she had recently arrived from Florida. They have three daughters. The eldest graduated from UCLA, while the younger two girls attend Leigh High School and Union Middle School, respectively. Outside of school they work diligently at Irish Dance, and they have traveled throughout the USA and beyond to perform.
Silicon Frontline Board Members
Silicon Frontline has been fortunate to have Dr. Sang Wang’s support since the beginning. He was joined by Art Reidel, a number of other Angels, and the iD SoftCapital Group, in the Company’s first and only round of financing, in September 2007, totaling $4 million.
Dr. Sang S. Wang was Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Nassda Corporation, a Santa Clara, California-based Electronic Design Automation company from 1999 to 2005. Nassda went public in 2001 and was acquired by Synopsys in 2005. Previously, Dr. Wang was co-founder, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of EPIC Design Technology from 1986 to 1997. EPIC went public in 1994 and was acquired by Synopsys in 1997. Dr. Wang served as a Senior Vice President and Business Unit General Manager at Synopsys from 1997 to 1998. Prior to co-founding EPIC, Dr. Wang was a Senior Member of Technical Staff and a CAD Manager at Advanced Micro Devices from 1982 to 1986.
Dr. Wang holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from National Taiwan University, a MS in Physics from Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He has published numerous technical papers and business articles. In addition to having served on Nassda, Synopsys and EPIC's Boards, he has also served on Stanza, Gambit, Plato, Virage Logic's Boards and others. Dr. Wang was also a Board member of Electronic Design Automation Consortium from 1993 to 1994.
Art Reidel has helped build profitable businesses in the electronic design automation, pharmaceutical software, semiconductor, and communications industries for more than 30 years. In January, 2011, he retired as CEO of Scintera, a mixed signal wireless IC company he joined in 2006. He was previously co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Pharsight Corporation (now part of Tripos International). Tripos is the leader in modeling and simulation for pharmaceutical development, where he led its IPO in August, 2000.
Earlier Art held executive positions with Sunrise Test Systems (acquired by Viewlogic Systems), where he served as its president and chief executive officer. He was also an executive at Weitek, Interactive Training Systems, and Schlumberger Computer-Aided Systems. Art and I worked together at Schlumberger in the early 80’s. We also served on the board of directors of the MacNeal Schwendler Corporation when our board terms briefly overlapped in the mid-90’s.
In addition to his management roles, Art is well connected to the investment community. From 2003 through 2005, Art was a venture partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, where he provided management assistance to portfolio companies and was responsible for several new investments. From 1984 through 1991, he served as a general partner at ABS Ventures Limited Partnerships, where he invested in and was a director of numerous technology-based companies. Art is a limited partner in several venture funds; he has made numerous personal “angel” investments, and he serves on several boards. Art has also been an active member of the Band of Angels since 1995, and is a partner in the Band's Acorn fund. He has a BS in Mathematics from MIT.
iD SoftCapital Group
The iD SoftCapital Group was established by Acer Founder, Stan Shih, together with venture capital veterans and former Acer senior management, offering expertise in asset and fund management, and consulting services. Intellectual Development for the New Economy is iD SoftCapital Group’s mission. The group currently manages assets worth US$664 million, and a total fund size of US$832 million divided among venture capital, incubation/post-incubation, reengineering and branding funds.
The management team is comprised of senior executives with solid track records from various domains, with Stan Shih as Chairman of iD SoftCapital Group, Ronald Chwang as Chairman of iD Ventures America Inc. (and Silicon Frontline Board Member), William Lu as Chairman of iD TechVentures Inc., Teddy Lu as Chairman of iD Reengineering Inc., and iD Branding Ventures Inc. Wu-Fu Chen is Chairman of iD Innovation Inc., Carolyn Yeh is Chairwoman of iD SoftCapital Inc., and Philip Peng is President of iD SoftCapital Inc .
Outlook for Silicon Frontline: Bright!
Q3 2011 was an excellent sales quarter for Silicon Frontline, and Q4 2011 was the best revenue quarter for the company in its history. January 2012 bookings have already reached the same level as the bookings of the entirety of Q1 2011. Next month, Silicon Frontline will announce a new partnership agreement. Stay tuned!
Late Breaking News Release from Silicon Frontline
Please click on the URL below for some late breaking news:
Special thanks to Ms. Georgia Marszalek (ValleyPR LLC) and Mr. Dermott Lynch (Silicon Frontline) for their kind assistance to the EDA WEEKLY writer in preparing this article. The cooperation of the other principals of Silicon Frontline is also gratefully acknowledged.
In the annals of EDA history, “Breker” just may be that unusual company name least associated with chip design or verification. Or is it?
Meet Adnan Hamid, co-founder and CEO of Breker Verification Systems, as he picks up the story: “I was getting an MBA at the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business on weekends.”
“During our orientation, we went around the room of 90 or so people, introducing ourselves and explaining what we did for a living. When they got to me, I decided to inject some humor and wake everyone up, so I said that I broke things for a living. It broke up the room and my nickname from then on became ‘Breaker‘.”
Breaking things for a living, eh? What the affable Adnan meant, and what he couldn’t explain to a roomful of fresh MBA students, because they wouldn’t know what he was talking about, was his expertise in hardware verification.
Adnan joined AMD in Austin, TX in 1992, after graduating from Princeton University with Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. While at AMD, where he first worked for five years, he designed an automated test generator to ensure that the AMD microprocessor was fully compatible with Intel’s. This was a big responsibility, and was successfully implemented as well, leading to the AMD K7 processor and to its taking the market by storm when it debuted in 1999.
The early AMD K7 processors featured multiple superscalar integer and floating point units, higher bus speed (up to 400 MHz), larger L1 cache, multiprocessing (Ahtlon MP), and additional SIMD instructions. The AMD K7 was initially produced in June 1999 using 0.25 micron technology at speeds of 500 MHz.
Adnan left AMD to become a senior member of the consulting staff at Cadence, joining on the very day Joe Costello resigned in October, 1997. He stayed for three years as a system verification expert and worked with the Cadence sales team.
Next, Adnan rejoined AMD in 2000, for his second hitch, to become department manager of the AMD System Logic Division where he worked until starting Breker Verification Systems in 2003.
“When it came time to name our startup, we looked at loads of possible names, but kept coming back to "Breaker", my nickname, which we shortened by taking out the “a.”. Our first generation product is called “Trek,” for trekking icebergs. The names are simple, and memorable, and they’ve stuck.” said Adnan.
This Generation’s Marie and Pat Pistilli?
The M and P of MP Associates, Marie and Pat Pestilli, are now retired, but are fondly remembered as the duo that started the Design Automation Conference (DAC) nearly 50 years ago. Many say DAC spawned an EDA industry that’s still thriving today. Pat, the 2010 Phil Kaufman Award winner, was the talented engineer who left Bell Labs in 1984. to start MP Associatea with his spouse, Marie.
If vision, intelligence and energy are indicators, observers close to Breker feel that Adnan and his CFO spouse, Maheen, could possibly wind up as this generation’s Pat and Marie! After 10 years of success, Adnan’s well on his way to defining and building a new SoC Verification category within EDA...with Maheen’s able assistance, of course!
Maheen runs the business side of Breker, much like Marie at MP Associates. Maheen also has an MBA from the University of Texas’ McCombs School of Business, received in tandem with Adnan. With an investment banking and corporate finance background, she is a strong proponent of entrepreneurship as the way to bring broader change. She is a regular contributor to various business forums and also served as a Partner at Balanced Growth Consulting Partners. Since 1994, Maheen has been a Trustee at the ASHIC Foundation, a non-profit organization to help children living with cancer in Bangladesh (the Hamids’ native land).
Other key executives at Breker include Dave Johnson, Vice President of Sales and Customer Support; and Rick Nordin, Vice President of Business Development.
Dave brings more than 20 years of experience to Breker Verification Systems, most recently as owner and president of FirstShift Technologies, a company focused on sales and business development for startup EDA companies. Prior to starting FirstShift in 2006, Dave worked for a variety of EDA companies including Nascentric, Cadence, Neolinear, Avanti and Xynetix. At Neolinear, Dave held the Vice President of Sales position for 4 years, and he helped to successfully merge Neolinear into Cadence. Prior to his career in sales, Dave was an ASIC designer at VLSI Technology. Dave holds a BSEE from the University of Cincinnati; the EDA WEEKLY writer’s alma mater.
Rick Nordin, Vice President of Strategic Marketing, comes to Breker with a 19-year track record in EDA. Prior to joining the Breker team, he served as Marketing Director at Nascentric and at Silicon Design Systems, as sales manager for Circuit Semantics, as methodology consultant for Cadence, and as District Technical Manager for Synopsys. Rick began his engineering career as a hardware designer with AMD in Austin, Texas. Rick holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota, and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Ms. Jayshree Desai, an EDA sales and business development specialist, is also a member of the Breker team.
The Business of Breaking Things
Breker sustained itself by doing contract work until it released its first product in 2007. The took time to understand the market and the kinds of verification solutions that the industry needed.
Since its founding, the Breker mission has never waivered: “To remove functional verification as the bottleneck for customer technological innovation and project schedules.”
Today, Breker considers itself The SoC Verification Company and the first EDA vendor to solve the functional verification challenges of complex SoC designs, something that “no other EDA company is addressing the way Breker is.”
Breker has 15 employees worldwide and has bootstrapped itself for many years. It raised a modest Series A fund in 2006, and has just closed Series B funding from non-US based venture capitalists.
According to Maheen, Breker carefully manages its cash flow and available resources, following the Lean Startup model espoused by Eric Ries , even before Ries started writing about it. Their management approach has helped to build an EDA company in a non-traditional way –– agile and customer-value driven.
Are you getting the impression that Breker’s on a roll? The company will soon announce it closed calendar year 2011 with year-over-year growth of more than 150%!
Breker also recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Austin, Texas, to Fremont, California, to be closer to a strong customer base and unique opportunities in Silicon Valley. The new office is at 304 Anza Street, Fremont, CA, 94539. (Readers finally can discern whence cometh the title to this February 06, 2012 issue of EDA WEEKLY -- Silicon Frontline’s principals are from Russia and Ireland, and Breker’s from Bangladesh! – few can ultimately resist the magnetic pull of Silicon Valley!).
In addition, well-known EDA entrepreneur and verification expert Michel Courtoy has become a member of Breker’s board of directors and is actively offering advice and support.
Michel Courtoy is no stranger to the verification challenges of chip design. He was CEO of Certess, a verification company, acquired by SpringSoft in 2009. To quote Michel, “It’s rare to work with entrepreneurs with a focused and clear idea of where the company’s going and how it’s going to get there. Breker has a long-term strategic vision that’s both impressive and sound and a team that can implement the vision.”
“2011 was certainly a momentous year for Breker,” confirms Adnan. “We made some strategic changes to position for rapid growth and firmly established ourselves as The SoC Verification Company. From all calculations, these moves are paying off handsomely. For example, Breker grew its installed base in 2011 by more than 3X.”
The technical details of Breker’s approach to break verification icebergs must await a future article.
Breker, Trek and Iceberg, and SoC Verification may be new and unfamiliar terminology used to describe a challenge that EDA needs to tackle, but they just may be the definitive approaches to meet head-on the challenges facing verification engineers.
EDACafe.com readers should be prepared to see much more about Breker in 2012, as Breker is preparing several new announcements over the coming months.
Breker will be at DVCon at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose February 27 – March 01, 2012.
Breker will also be at DAC in San Francisco June 4-6, 2012, in Booth #2501. See ‘em there!
 Footnote: Per Wikipedia, Eric Ries (born 1979) is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author, recognized for pioneering the Lean Startup movement, a new-business strategy which directs startup companies to allocate their resources as efficiently as possible. He is also a well-known blogger within the technology entrepreneur community.
The EDA WEEKLY writer thanks the leadership at Breker Verification Systems for the chance to post this article; and he especially thanks Ms. Nanette Collins for her composition and insightful assistance.
Breaking News on the Job Front
(02-03) 09:43 PST WASHINGTON (AP) --
In the most impressive surge for the job market since early last year, the United States added 243,000 jobs in January, 2012, far more than economists expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, the lowest in three years.
Hiring accelerated across the economy and up and down the pay scale. The high-salary professional services industry added 70,000 jobs, the most in 10 months. Manufacturing added 50,000, the most in a year.
"This is a very positive employment report from almost any angle," said Brian Bethune, an economics professor at Amherst College.
More Late Breaking News
Shortly after press time for this posting of the EDA WEEKLY, the writer learned that his series of 13 articles in 2011 has been nominated for consideration for an award from the The National Academies Keck Futures Initiative (NAKFI).
NAKFI believes that successful communication is the heart of the Futures Initiative. As such, the annual Communication Awards is an important component of NAKFI. These awards are designed to recognize, promote, and encourage effective communication of science, engineering, medicine, and interdisciplinary work within and beyond the scientific community.
The Keck Futures Initiative—a program of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, with the support of the W. M. Keck Foundation—will award prizes in October 2012 to individuals or teams who have developed creative, original work that addresses issues and advances in science, engineering and/or medicine for the general public in four categories: Book; Film/Radio/TV; Magazine/Newspaper; and Online.
About the writer of the EDA WEEKLY:
Since 1996, Dr. Russ Henke has been active as president of HENKE ASSOCIATES, a San Francisco Bay Area high-tech business & management consulting firm. The number of client companies served by Henke Associates during those years now numbers close to fifty. Engagement lengths have varied from a few weeks up to ten years and beyond.
During his previous corporate career, Henke operated sequentially on "both sides" of MCAE/MCAD and EDA, as a user and as a vendor. He's a veteran corporate executive from Cincinnati Milacron (Research Scientist – Oakley, OH), SDRC (President & COO – Fairfax, OH & Milford, OH), Schlumberger Applicon (Executive VP – Burlington, MA), Gould Electronics Imaging & Graphics (President & General Manager – San Jose, CA), ATP (Chairman and CEO – Campbell, CA), and Mentor Graphics Corporation (VP & General Manager – PCB Division San Jose, CA & Professional Services Division – Wilsonville, OR).
Henke is a Fellow of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and served on the SME International Board of Directors. Henke was also a board member of SDRC, PDA, ATP, and the MacNeal Schwendler Corporation, and he currently serves on the board of Stottler Henke Associates, Inc. (San Mateo, CA). He also serves as VP Business Development of Stottler Henke, focused on commercial applications of artificial intelligence.
In addition, Henke is a member of the IEEE and a Life Fellow of ASME International. In April 2006, Dr. Henke received the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from the CAD Society, presented by CAD Society president Jeff Rowe at COFES2006 in Scottsdale, AZ. In February 2007, Henke became affiliated with Cyon Research's select group of experts on business and technology issues as a Senior Analyst. This Cyon Research connection aids and supplements Henke's ongoing, independent consulting practice (HENKE ASSOCIATES). Dr. Henke is also a contributing editor of the EDACafé EDA WEEKLY, and he has published EDA WEEKLY articles every four weeks since November 2009; all URL's available.
Since May 2003 HENKE ASSOCIATES has also published more than 100 independent COMMENTARY articles on MCAD, PLM, EDA and Electronics IP on IBSystems' MCADCafé and EDACafé; most URL’s available.
Information on HENKE ASSOCIATES is available at http://www.henkeassociates.net.
March 31, 2012 will mark the 16th Anniversary of the founding of HENKE ASSOCIATES.
You can find the full EDACafe event calendar here.
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-- Russ Henke, EDACafe.com Contributing Editor.