What Would Joe Do?
Peggy Aycinena is a freelance journalist and Editor of EDA Confidential at www.aycinena.com. She can be reached at peggy at aycinena dot com.
Invionics: Optimism leads to Innovation
July 29th, 2014 by Peggy Aycinena
There are two ways you could have talked to the young Vancouver-based company Invionics in June. Make your way to British Columbia, or seek them out in the Verific booth at DAC in San Francisco. The second option is how I got to chat with Invionics CEO Brad Quinton, and although our conversation amidst the organized chaos of DAC was brief, it left the impression of a company with a bold future ahead.
Per their website, the company’s products include “design tools, hardware IP and EDA development platforms.” However, Invionics also provides “experienced contract R&D to extend our products and IP, [which enables our] customers to quickly implement key functionality and gain competitive advantage for their products.”
In other words, Invionics is my favorite kind of company: A product company that’s also a services company. Of course, this is my evaluation and not necessarily theirs. Nonetheless, it was completely refreshing to talk to somebody at DAC who seems to look at things with a new perspective, an optimistic perspective that’s all about charting a new path going forward.
Dr. Quinton told me his doctoral research at University of British Columbia was commercialized through a startup called Veridae Systems, which produced the Certus debug tool, and was then sold to Tektronix where Quinton subsequently served as Chief Architect for the Embedded Instruments Group.
Since leaving Tektronix, he has been involved at Invoinics, recently morphing from COO to CEO, and now leads the company whose VRDM Development Platform can be licensed along with Verific’s tools to work to “a higher level of abstraction for tool development.”
Per Quinton, “Sometime the Verific parser is too powerful at an early stage of a customer’s project, so the Invionics tool can first take the details and merge them into a smaller API which is agnostic to the design language.”
As the figure indicates, users can access the VRDM platform either with tcl or python, before C++, and then move on to utilize the Verific tools.
Quinton noted, “People often want to take control of their own tool flows and tools, and we are successfully responding to that need. Right or wrong, these customers often feel they know how to do such things.”
Quinton told me that before founding Veridae, the team that started the company were ASIC developers, so they know of what they speak. They know that not every customer necessarily wants to depend solely on third-party EDA tool providers to have access to a toolkit for design.
I asked Quinton about the oft-expressed sentiment, especially by the big EDA players, that customers do not want to have to provide ongoing development and support for their own internal tools.
He responded definitively: “Chip design is such a big and expensive bet, such companies do not always see spending an additional million dollars [on developing a tool specific to their needs as prohibitive].”
“Internally,” he said, “the really big guys want to do their own tools, which is why they all have in-house CAD teams. We can help [these types of customers] eliminate the need for C/C++ expertise, and allow them to use tcl or python in their tool development.
“The fact that we are taking the technology and making it far more accessible [to a wide customer base] will inevitably lead to more innovation.”
Invoinvics also provides an RTL Processing Engine and a Netlist Explorer.