While the largest companies have the deepest pockets and often make the significant moves and biggest noise in the industry, every large company started out as a small company. As the design and manufacturing of the semiconductor ICs that underlie the electronics industry has become more complex and the industry more disaggregated it is also taking longer for startups and private companies to get to market.
But hope springs eternal and agile startups are often the way technology is brought to market. So Electronics 360 has come up with a list of 10 private companies that we think will be worth keeping an eye on in 2014. One of them could be the next Intel, Qualcomm, ARM or Imagination - or get bought by one of the major players.
Because of the long time to impact in some sectors of industry we have included a couple of companies whose formation was as long ago as 2005, but they are companies we still think could rock the technology boat in 2014. If you feel that a particular company should be added to this list please get in touch or add your comments in the forum below.
Aledia SA (Grenoble, France), is a 2011 spin-off from French research insititute LETI that has developed light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on microwires of gallium-nitride grown on silicon wafers. The approach produces three times more light per planar area compared with conventional approaches and uses less GaN material. The company raised $13 million in a first round of venture capital finance in 2013 www.aledia.com
Allwinner Technology Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China) is a fabless chip company developing application processor SoCs and analog ICs for mobile equipment. Although only founded in 2007 the company has achieved significant penetration of the Android smartphone and tablet computer market in 2013. www.allwinnertech.com
See China IC Design Firms to Keep Growing Amid Lively Local Front:
Ambiq Micro Inc. (Austin, Texas) is a 2010 spin-off from the University of Michigan that is using the sub-threshold operation of transistors to develop ultra-low power microcontrollers and other circuits for energy critical applications. Investors include Cisco Systems and ARM Holdings. www.ambiqmicro.com
Blu Wireless Technology Ltd. (Bristol, England), founded in 2009, designs and licenses silicon IP for 60GHz and other millimeter-wave applications. The company. The companies Hydra baseband modem mixes fixed-function DSP blocks with vector DSPs. www.bluwirelesstechnology.com
Crossbar Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) is a 2010 spin-off from the University of Michigan that has developed a resistive RAM (ReRAM) based on the movement of silver ions through amorphous silicon. The company reckons the technology can be produced in multi-layers on a die providing the possibility of monolithically integrating 1-Tbyte. Manufactured with standard CMOS processes the non-volatile memory is also suitable for embedding with logic, the company claims. www.crossbar-inc.com
Magnacom Ltd. (Petach-Tikvah, Israel), a 2012 startup, has patented a modulation scheme called WAM that it claims doubles spectrum bandwidth efficiency compared with the best of incumbent technologies. www.magna-com.com
See: Startup Claims Communications Bandwidth Breakthrough
Paqet Systems Corp. (Los Altos, Calif.) was formed in 2012 by engineers with experience
working on early formats of portable computer. They have created PaqetOS, an operating system that can reside in as little as 2.5 kilobytes of flash memory and a few hundred bytes of RAM and that is optimized for Internet of Things clients. www.paqetos.com
See: Startup Preps OS for the Internet of Things
Somnium Technologies Ltd. (Bristol, England) was formed in April 2011 by engineers with experience working on processor architectures but with the aim of producing superior software development tools. The company is developing tools that can address heterogenous multiprocessor systems and is targeting SoCs based on Cortex-based processors initially. www.somniumtech.com
See: Startup Preps Tools for ARM Software Development
SuVolta Inc. (Los Gatos, Calif.), founded in 2005, has developed a deeply-depleted channel technology based on graded doping of planar bulk CMOS. As such the technique represents an alternative to FinFET CMOS and fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) CMOS. The technique supports low voltage operation, one key to low power consumption and is being integrated with CMOS processes from 65nm down to 20nm. www.suvolta.com
See UMC and SuVolta Join Forces to Target Mobile Applications
Tela Innovations Inc. (Los Gatos, Calif.), a 2005 startup, has developed software for compact computational lithography, much of which is aimed at 28, 20 and 16nm CMOS and FinFET technologies. In 2013 Tela filed complaints with the US International Trade Commission alleging patent infringement against several cell phone companies and foundry TSMC. www.tela-inc.com
See: EDA 'David' Files Suit Against TSMC