As we are aware about SmartDV Technologies, a fast emerging company in IP space with offices in Bangalore and San Diego, its booth in 52nd DACwas located at a prominent position in front of DAC Pavilion on the exhibits floor. So, most of the crowd coming to attend sessions in DAC Pavilion had a glimpse of SmartDV. I met Deepak Kumar Tala, Founder & CEO and Harish Poojary, VP of worldwide sales and business development at SmartDV.
On Sunday night, the day before start of the conference, I attended Gary Smith’s presentation about the future of EDA and IP where he predicted the IP business to be almost flat until 2019. Gary sees Designware IP to become commodity and platform-based IP (a model that ARM follows) to remain premium. Also, in Gary’s list of what to see at 52ndDAC, SmartDV was mentioned at the top of his list where he recognized the intelligent testbench technology for VIPs from SmartDV. The link to Gary’s list is provided at the end of this page.
SmartDV has a wide range of IP products including MIPI, Networking and SoC, Automotive and Serial Bus, and Storage VIPs, and also Memory models and Design IPs. And they have customers across the world for these IPs. So, I talked to Deepak and Harish about how they see the current IP business and the expected growth in future. Here is the conversation–
Q: SmartDV has a large VIP portfolio and you have a good customer base. How do you see the current IP business and future growth potential from your perspective?
A: From SmartDV business perspective, we have a large growth potential at key accounts. There is lot of work to be done to develop our major accounts and also acquire new customers. We are excited about the growth opportunity ahead of us. However, if you are asking about usual VIP business, we see simulation VIPs becoming more of commodity products whereas there is a premium uptapped market out there for simulation acceleration IPs.
Q: Your VIPs are easily customizable in customer’s environment and they run order of magnitude faster, so that’s like providing a customized VIP to a customer. How do you see profit margin playing out in that space?
A: We are able to maintain high profit margins while offering low cost VIPs to customers. Our Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is way lower than competitors. We keep operational cost as low as possible by removing redundancies and also by increasing efficiency through automation. All our engineering is based in India and our support is remote. Also, there is lot of automation from engineering side due to compiler technology.
Q: Your own language and compiler technology must be providing you a good edge for differentiating your VIPs from the rest in the market?
A: Yes, our compiler is the key reason why our time to market is very short. Also, it helps maintain high quality and standard architecture across all VIPs. It is because of the compiler we are able to ship compliance test suites with all VIPs along with detailed documentation without high engineering cost.
Q: Recently you released six new VIPs – USB-Power Delivery, MIPI-CPHY, MIPI-DBI, AMBA5 CHI, LPDDR4 and DDR4. How are they performing in the market?
A: We have customers for all except AMBA5 CHI. We are very happy with the quality of top tier customers engaged for these VIPs. In addition to existing customers, we are currently engaged with several other propsects for evaluating these VIPs.
Q: I see networking, automotive, and storage gaining most traction in the near future. Where would be your focus in the next 3-5 years? Which area you see as most growing?
A: Our focus is to be the leader in simulation and acceleration VIP market including memory models. We see the major growth for SmartDV to come from acceleration IPs.
Q: How about Design IP? Which area you are pursuing?
A: Our strategy is not focussed on Design IPs. Instead, we are focussed on delivering complete portfolio in simulaiton and acceleration VIP market.
Q: How about a model for a complete solution in a particular area? For example, networking where you provide IPs for design, verification, interface, and other required hardware and software?
A: This is not something we have currently planned to accomplish. However, depending on market situation, we may consider such a solution in the future.
Q: What are your upcoming products this year? Is there any new release in immediate horizon?
A: There is lot of push from customers to develop comprehensive solution for memory models and platform independent acceleration IPs. This is our focus area for next 12 months while maintaining leadership in simulation VIP market.
Q: Would you like to talk about your customer(s)? What do they like most about SmartDV?
A: We can’t mention our customer names. We can proudly say most of the semiconductor companies are our customers. Some of the top companies use 10+ VIPs from us. They like our flexibility with technical customization, support model, pricing and quality of the products. Engineers love the fact that every VIP comes with a compliance test suite which gives them a jump start.
This was a great conversation with Deepakand Harish. I can see SmartDV’s strategy panning out quite well. Their innovative language and compiler technology is paying good dividends to keep them differentiated from others in the VIP space.
Gary’s list of what to see is HERE.
Pawan Kumar Fangaria
Founder & President at www.fangarias.com