Arteris, founded in 2003, is the inventor and leading supplier of network-on-chip (NoC) interconnect IP solutions. Can we say that the company is still a start-up? I would say yes, as their flagship product, FlexNoc (Network on Chip IP function) was a completely new concept when it was introduced. As for every disruptive technology, it takes time for the new concept to be, at first understood by the potential customers, then tested and evaluated, and finally sold. I would say yes as well when looking at the 2011 to 2010 year to year growth rate of 115%. Sales of Arteris' unique FlexNoC IP product have driven the growth of the company as Arteris' patented NoC technology displaces older interconnect technologies such as hybrid busses, tiered switches and crossbars.
So, the Arteris start-up has joined the Inc. 500 list of America’s fastest growing private companies, and this is good news for the SC industry: it means that it is still possible to start an IP company, based on real innovation, and finally be successful. As a side remark for our venture capital friends, please note that it took some time (9 years), and that the company is still in pre IPO stage… it takes some time to cook a good recipe, but the result is far better than fast food (at least according with my French taste).
We have talked in Semiwiki about Arteris product port-folio, including FlexNoc, MIPI LLI (Low Latency Interface) and C2C (Chip-To-Chip Link), so it could be a good idea to look at what has made the success of the company, I mean Arteris’ customers. When you say NoC, you think SoC, and you almost immediately link SoC to Application Processor for smartphone and media tablet, which is true, but we will see that Arteris’ customers develop SoC targeting many other market segment: Video Processing, Consumer Electronics, Automotive, Networking, Multimedia (digital TV), even if a majority develop Application Processor SoC. Let’s start with these:
As you can see, most of the leaders in Application Processor SoC have selected Arteris, and they are located in the USA, Korea and China. OK, Intel is missing on this list, but the success of Intel as a low power chip maker for Application Processor is still to be demonstrated…
Another market segment where Arteris FlexNoC seems to be very popular is Video and Imaging, and the company enjoys design-in with many companies, once again located in various places like USA, Japan, Korea or India:
Because the SoC developed for Consumer Electronics are probably the most complexes, integrating an IP count which can be above 100 (SoC for the Set-Top-Box, for example), developed on one technology nodes just behind the Application Processor, integrating a Network-on-Chip is an obvious solution to speed up the Time-To-Market, so we should not be surprised to see a long customer list in this segment:
This should not be a surprise to see some of the customers listed in the Application Processor segment to appear also in this list. This is not a way to count the same chip twice and increase the customer list, but reflects the fact that companies who have made the huge investment needed to develop an Application Processor are very happy to increase the ROI by targeting other segments, close in term of application (Video, Imaging…) so they can minimize the new investment by designing derivatives chips from the initial Application Processor, leading to a different implementation of the NoC IP. If you look for example at OMAP platform from TI, you will notice various chips named OMAP4XX, each of them targeting a specific segment from Automotive to Wireless and Media tablet (or will be positioned from the high range to the most economical solution in the same segment).
Clearly, this long list of (prestigious) customers has made the success of Arteris. But this success has been made possible because Arteris' unique FlexNoC NoC interconnect IP product was filling a need in the SC industry. According to the March 23, 2012 Gartner Research report, "Market Share: Semiconductor Design Intellectual Property, Worldwide, 2011", by Gartner analysts Ganesh Ramamoorthy and Masatsune Yamaji, Arteris charted a 115% increase in IP license revenue in from 2010 to 2011. "Infrastructure IP was the fastest growing semiconductor design IP market after microprocessor IP in the past year. Its growth is correlated with the growing demand for interconnect functionality in advanced system-on-chip designs," said Ganesh Ramamoorthy, research director at Gartner. "The increasing interconnect requirements of SoC vendors is driving the demand for network on chip technology provided by IP companies."
Let’s give the last word to Charles Janac, President and CEO of Arteris:
"We are very excited to be named to the Inc. 500 list," said K. Charles Janac, President and CEO of Arteris. "Since our founding in 2003, Arteris has charted our own path by continually delivering unique network-on-chip interconnect IP technology to the market. The fact that our fast growth and rapid adoption by leading companies such as Samsung, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments has occurred during challenging economic times proves that our FlexNoC IP saves our customers money, and helps them earn more revenue from their SoCs. Our internal data, based on customer experience, shows a 10x return on investment (ROI) when using Arteris IP for advanced SoC designs. This ROI results from cost savings, schedule savings, and increased SoC revenue due to better SoC performance."
Eric Esteve from IPNEST