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Nanette Collins
Nanette Collins
Boston-based Nanette Collins is the 2013 recipient of the Marie R. Pistilli Women in EDA Achievement Award, presented annually to an individual who has helped advance women in the EDA industry. She started Nanette V. Collins Marketing and Public Relations in 1994 after working as director of … More »

Entrepreneurship is Alive and Well in Our Industry

May 3rd, 2013 by Nanette Collins

The design and EDA communities have been preping since last June for DAC’s 50th anniversary to be celebrated in one notable high-tech city, Austin. The program’s been posted, keynotes announced and everything’s coming together nicely. The exhibit floor will be filled once again with a mix of new companies, long timers and emerging companies.

Over the next several weeks this blog will be dedicated to a few of this year’s DAC exhibitors, all of whom are emerging companies reporting growth, new customers and products and momentum. We’ll start with an impressive story about Verific Design Automation, a company that hails from a small town across the Bay from San Francisco called Alameda.

(Editor’s Note: Nanette Collins manages Verific’s Public Relations activities.)

Verific: Head and Shoulders above the Rest

DAC attendees who wander the exhibit floor must have passed by the Verific booth –– this year, in Booth #2141 –– a time or two and noticed that a giraffe serves as its mascot. You may have walked away with one of its plush giraffe giveaways, or entered your name into a drawing to win the large, stuffed giraffe on display. Attendees who look more closely will see a tagline that reads, “Head and Shoulders above the Rest.”

The Verific Team at DAC in June 2012 included, from left to right: Rob Dekker, Rick Carlson, Hoa Dinh, Michiel Ligthart, James Johnston, Abhijit Chakrabarty and Rajat Mukherjee.

Well, ask anyone at Verific about this and you’ll soon discover that its founder and several of its employees are well over 6’tall in stature. Crane your neck a bit and discover that “Head and Shoulders above the Rest” also refers to a well-regarded, well-respected company providing SystemVerilog and VHDL parsers to well over 50 companies and counting in the semiconductor ecosystem … EDA, FPGA, IDMs. In 2012 alone, Verific signed six new licensed customers, while several existing customers added further software to their existing product mix. What’s more, Verific reported a 2012 revenue increase of 20% over 2011.

Verific unveiled a Perl interface to SystemVerilog and VHDL parsers and elaborators at last year’s DAC.

As we talk over coffee one afternoon, Michiel Ligthart, Verific’s president and chief operating officer, chuckles about using a giraffe as the company mascot. He gets serious when describing Verific’s success: “Much of our business comes as a result of our reputation for quality, reliable software and excellent customer service, the hallmarks of our corporate culture. EDA developers continue to select our parsers so that they can focus on their core competencies and get their products to market more efficiently.”

Rob Dekker is Verific’s founder who stands tall in HDL circles and his vision has made Verific the go-to company for SystemVerilog and VHDL parsers since 1999. The software is found in more than 40,000 copies of analysis, simulation, verification, synthesis, emulation and test tools for RTL design. Today, Rob continues as principal developer of Verific’s HDL source code software. Prior to founding Verific, he was at Exemplar Logic, now Mentor Graphics, serving as the architect and a primary developer of Leonardo, a synthesis product that has sold more than 10,000 copies.

No article about Verific would be complete without a mention of industry giant Rick Carlson who ably serves as vice president of sales, and seemingly knows everyone, even from an outpost in Colorado. What you may not know about this well-liked executive is that he founded the EDA Consortium in 1987. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear the full story from him when you stop by the Verific booth.

Michiel Ligthart (left) and Rick Carlson huddle at last year’s DAC.

Speaking of this year’s DAC, Michiel said that the Verific theme again this year will be “Build Your Own RTL Tools.” It’s a nod to CAD managers and SoC designers who have a hankering to build one-of-a-kind EDA applications they cannot get from mainstream EDA companies. The tool came as a result of designers who need to solve a specific problem in their RTL code or netlist. “They aren’t C++ programmers and they would prefer to put a solution together using a scripting language so we extended our regular parsers with a Perl API.”

The connections to giraffes continue. In early 2012, a baby giraffe named Maggie was born in the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, Calif., the next town over from Alameda. Being close in proximity, Verific donated $1,000 to the zoo’s Adopt-an-Animal program.

James Johnston and friends share a DAC moment.

As I closed my notebook on our conversation, I think that it’s quite impressive how a sizable part of EDA came to rely on a small company. Michiel interrupted my train of thought to mention that a Verific user once said: “Verific is Giraffic!” That just about sizes up Verific, doesn’t it?

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