Thursday, May 10, 2018

Pakistani-American NED Alum Raises $50 Million For Silicon Valley Startup SiFive

SiFive,  a Silicon Valley intellectual property tech startup, has raised $50.6 million in series C funding. The company is headed by Pakistani-American CEO and fellow NED University alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani.  SiFive investors include Intel Capital, Western Digital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Spark Capital.

NED Alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani
The company was founded by Andrew Waterman, Krste Asanovic and Yunsup Leethe of the University of California at Berkeley. Their team developed open-source instruction set architecture (ISA) for Reduced Instruction Set Computing V (RISC V). RISC V design is freely available under Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) that was first introduced for Berkeley's open source UNIX operating system and open software tools. BSD license permits development of derivative intellectual property (IP) and products. It offers the advantage of having a large open-source community contribute to its continuous development and innovation.

SiFive sells core IP (intellectual property) based on RISC V ISA. The company's IP Cores are the most widely deployed RISC-V cores in the world.  SiFive Core IP is verified and delivered in Verilog for custom SoC (System on Chip) designs.

Naveed Sherwani is a serial entrepreneur with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Karachi's NED Engineering University in 1983. He has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from University of Nebraska. He has taught at Western Michigan University and authored four books and over 100 papers.

In May 2017, NED University alumnus Khalid Raza and two co-founders of Viptela sold their company to Cisco for $610 million. Viptela was a software-defined-networks (SDN) start-up in Silicon Valley that was co-founded in 2012 by Pakistani-American entrepreneurs Amir Khan, Atif Khan and Khalid Raza.

In November 2017, another NED University alumnus Raghib Husain sold his company Cavium to Marvell Technology in a $6 billion stock deal, according to CNBC News. The value of the deal jumped to $7.5 billion enterprise value at the close of market on November 22, 2017.

Sherwani headed Intel's ASIC division before starting Open Silicon, a fabless semiconductor company that offered turn-key custom ASIC solutions. He was the CEO of Peernova before joining SiFive as its chief executive officer.

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Fahad said...

We are also working with Naveed on a NED project where SiFive is giving 10 HiFive RISC V processors to NED for a hackathon

Riaz Haq said...

SiFive has raised a total of $190.5M in funding over 5 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Aug 11, 2020 from a Series E round.

SiFive is funded by 13 investors. Western Digital Capital and Qualcomm Ventures are the most recent investors.

SiFive has a post-money valuation in the range of $100M to $500M as of Jun 7, 2019, according to PrivCo.

Aug 11, 2020
Series E - SiFive Logo
Series E - SiFive
8 $61M SK Hynix
Jun 6, 2019
Series D - SiFive Logo
Series D - SiFive
6 $65.4M Qualcomm Ventures
Apr 2, 2018
Series C - SiFive Logo
Series C - SiFive
10 $50.6M OUP (Osage University Partners), Spark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures
May 8, 2017
Series B - SiFive Logo
Series B - SiFive
3 $8.5M Spark Capital
Sep 1, 2015
Series A - SiFive Logo
Series A - SiFive
1 $5M Sutter Hill Ventures

Riaz Haq said...

SiFive Lands Another $60 Million in Funding to Challenge Arm
The Silicon Valley startup said its latest round of funding was led by SK Hynix, one of the world's largest manufacturers of memory chips. The investment arms of Intel, Qualcomm, and Western Digital, and other current investors joined the Series E round.

The startup is led by president and chief executive officer Naveed Sherwani, who was hired for the position in 2017.

The startup raised $65 million in Series D funding led by Qualcomm Ventures last year, after it landed $50 million in Series C funding from Spark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures in 2018.

Silicon Valley startup SiFive raised $61 million in its latest round of funding to continue rolling out its open-source semiconductor technology and challenge its major rival Arm.

The startup said its latest round of funding was led by SK Hynix, one of the world's largest memory chip manufacturers, and was joined by its existing investors, including the venture capital arms of Intel, Qualcomm, and Western Digital. The funding brings the total amount raised by the company to more than $190 million since it was founded in 2015.

The startup has developed a range of processor cores, accelerators, and other IP based on the RISC-V architecture, the popular open-source instruction set used as the starting point for building chips. SiFive said that its product portfolio spans high-performance processors used in data centers to tiny, power-sipping cores ideal for the Internet of Things. SiFive has rolled out products that compete against Arm's Cortex-A, Cortex-M, and other chip designs.

While anyone can access the open instruction set architecture free of charge, building chips based on the technology can be very costly and take years of development time. SiFive has rolled out a set of development tools that can be used to add custom features to its RISC-V cores, giving customers the ability to differentiate their products. It has rolled out another set of tools that customers can use to assemble the IP into systems on a chip, or SoCs.

SiFive, which also offers chip design services to customers, said the use of its intellectual property and cloud-based tools reduces the cost and time-to-market for custom silicon.

SiFive has been gaining ground in the global chip business in recent years. Last year, the company said it counted six of the top 10 semiconductor suppliers in the world, including Qualcomm and SK Hynix, as its customers. "SiFive's winning product portfolio will continue to expand and be adopted for solutions that require domain-specific architectures," the CEO said in a statement Tuesday.

The company was founded in 2015 by Andrew Waterman, Krste Asanovic and Yunsup Lee, who co-developed the free, open-source architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

Riaz Haq said...

#China's #Huawei develops plan for chip plant to help beat #American sanctions. #Chinese fab will initially experiment with making low-end 45nm chips, a #technology global leaders in chipmaking like #TSMC & #Intel started using 15 years ago. #SiliconValley

Huawei is working on plans for a dedicated chip plant in Shanghai that would not use American technology, enabling it to secure supplies for its core telecom infrastructure business despite U.S. sanctions.

Two people briefed on the project said the plant would be run by a partner, Shanghai IC R&D Center, a chip research company backed by the Shanghai municipal government.

Industry experts said the project could help Huawei, which has no experience in fabricating chips, chart a path to long-term survival.

U.S. export controls imposed in May and tightened in August leverage American companies’ dominance of certain chip-manufacturing equipment and chip-design software to block semiconductor supplies to Huawei.

Industry experts said the planned local facility would be a potential new source for semiconductors after stocks of imported chips Huawei has been accumulating since last year ran out.

The fabrication plant will initially experiment with making low-end 45nm chips, a technology global leaders in chipmaking started using 15 years ago.

But Huawei wants to make more advanced 28nm chips by the end of next year, according to chip industry engineers and executives familiar with the project. Such a plan would allow Huawei to make smart TVs and other “internet of things” devices.

Huawei then aims to produce 20nm chips by late 2022, which could be used to make most of its 5G telecoms equipment and allow that business to continue even with the U.S. sanctions.
“The planned new production line will not help with the smartphone business since chipsets needed for smartphones need to be produced at more advanced technology nodes,” said a semiconductor industry executive briefed on the plans.

“But if it succeeds, it can become a bridge to a sustainable future for their infrastructure business, in combination with the inventory they have built and which should last for two years or so,” he said.

“They possibly can do it, in maybe two years,” said Mark Li, a semiconductor analyst at Bernstein in Hong Kong.

He added that although the chips Huawei needed for making mobile network base stations would ideally be made on 14nm or more advanced process technology, using 28nm was possible.

“Huawei can make up for the shortcomings on the software and system side,” he said. Chinese producers could tolerate higher costs and operational inefficiencies than their offshore competitors.

The project, first reported by Chinese newspaper Caixin last month, could also jump-start China’s ambitions to shake off its dependency on foreign chip technology, particularly from the U.S., which wants to slow China’s development as a technology power.

Huawei has already been investing in the domestic semiconductor sector, especially among smaller operators, a chip industry executive said.

“Huawei has strong abilities in chip design, and we are very happy to help a trustworthy supply chain develop its capabilities in chip manufacturing, equipment and materials. Helping them is helping ourselves,” rotating chairman Guo Ping told journalists in September.

Ahmed said...

Dear Sir Riaz

Thanks for this great post about SFive. Sir I wanted to know that is CEO(Chief Executive Officer) of any Company actually the owner of that company?

When these employees of the company become CEOS(Chief Executive Officers) of the company, is it true that they become CEOs for a specific time? And after completing their time period they are retired from the company?


Riaz Haq said...

Ahmad: "I wanted to know that is CEO(Chief Executive Officer) of any Company actually the owner of that company?"

CEOs of startups usually own a big stake in the company....often the biggest shareholders. They have the most to gain or lose.