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Chip design startup Invecas to invest $15-20 million over next two years

Livemint:  April, 2015

Hyderabad: Invecas Technologies Pvt. Ltd, a startup working on outsourced chip design, will invest $15-20 million over the next two years to set up design centres in Hyderabad and Bengaluru apart from other locations outside India.

Founded by Dasaradha R. Gude, whose other venture Ineda Systems Inc. developed low-power microchips for wearable technology devices, Invecas designs, builds and licenses semiconductor technology solutions for customers including semiconductor companies. Its designs will be incorporated in chips built inside smartphones, wearable devices, graphic cards, and automobiles.

Invecas plans to invest $10-15 million this year. The money will be deployed to hire highly skilled people, and purchase equipment and tools for its design centres, said Gude.

Part of the money would be raised from companies outsourcing complex system-on-a-chip (SoC) design while a portion of the funds will also be raised internally, said Gude, chairman of Invecas.

SoC is an integrated circuit containing various components of a device on a single chip. The small size of a SoC makes it extremely complex to design and develop.

Besides designing SoCs, Invecas will also manufacture the chips in collaboration with US-based GlobalFoundries Inc., and test the microchips at its labs before delivering them to customers. It has an exclusive tie-up to manufacture silicon wafer-based solutions at GlobalFoundries facilities.

“If someone comes with a concept, we can design an entire chip,” Gude said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The company will make money by licensing its technology designs, or by earning royalty on every chip sold.

GlobalFoundries and Invecas will share income based on a pre-decided revenue sharing arrangement. Invecas is one the 40 intellectual property (IP) partners globally for GlobalFoundries.

“Invecas India complements our in-house global design solutions capabilities while enhancing our existing ecosystem of design and IP partners,” Rick Mahoney, senior vice president of design enablement at GlobalFoundries said in a statement.

“This partnership will enable a broader range of customers to accelerate time-to-volume of designs on complex technologies like 14nm FinFETs,” Gude said.

Invecas will tap into 160 customers of GlobalFoundries, the third biggest semiconductor foundry in the world with 9.4% market share.

“GlobalFoundries will work closely with Invecas to make sure designs are manufacture-able,” said Subramani Kengeri, vice president of global design solutions at GlobalFoundries.

Invecas has the capability to design transistors to the size of 14 nano meter, and will be one of the first few companies in the world to work on 10 nm-size transistors. Kengeri pointed out. “Invecas will focus on leading edge technology on the most advanced nodes.”

Invecas will start operations in Hyderabad and Bengaluru this month with a workforce of around 200 people. The headcount is poised to grow to 1,000 over the next 2-3 years with 600 people working in the Hyderabad centre alone, Gude said. Invecas also has two centres in the US at Vermont and Santa Clara.

Gude said he plans to establish development centres in countries such as Taiwan.