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NMI Yearbook 2017 – Moortec’s Journey from Local Design Services Company to Global IP Vendor

The following article is taken from the 2017 NMI Yearbook, which can be downloaded by clicking on the image below:

Moortec is a great example of a UK Semiconductor success story, starting small and moving up to compete globally amongst the biggest names in the industry. Moortec provide monitors and sensors that are found within today’s cutting edge silicon chips, helping to increase their reliability and performance.

In 2005, fate prompted a group of us to combine our expertise and set up Moortec. Starting life as a design services company we soon identified an industry wide problem to do with making sure today’s technology could continue to be reliable and perform. This was our chance, our “gap in the market” and that gap could be filled by Moortec’s Embedded In-Chip Monitoring.

Very early on I spoke to a friend running a technology company in another sector, he was very helpful in the first few weeks and Business Link, at that time were also very supportive. We also had some support from Innovate UK but our expansion is down to the fact that we are executing on our growth plan. We were also quite fortunate that we had a small team already formed, the first day there were a small group of us who all had a shared vision. We continued with design services until our visions of an IP product portfolio had matured.

So in 2010, to address the problem we had identified we produced our first temperature sensor, no one else was really doing anything like that at the time, people were providing temperature sensors but they tended to be on the bigger nodes, specific to power amplifiers, RF amplifiers etc. No one was developing them on the open market specifically for digital circuits and not on the advanced nodes.

Without Moortec providing monitors for advanced node devices, circuit designers would struggle to make them perform. At a very high level, developing at advanced nodes is challenging as a media for designing circuits due to the issues related to process variability, our sensors help designers address these issues and allow them to lift the lid on the sometimes adverse conditions their chip could be facing.

Advanced node, analog mixed signal design brings challenges associated with the increased complexity and increased effort required to do the layout. It is imperative to make the circuits reliable and manufacturable, whilst still fulfilling the DRC checks.

One of Moortec’s early challenges was gaining credibility as an IP vendor and gaining customers trust. If you are starting out developing IP you are not part of ant foundry alliances which can be limiting.

Any great relationship starts with Trust and this is never more relevant when it comes to choosing your IP Vendor. Just talk to any of our existing customers and they will tell you that through great communication comes not only trust but the peace of mind to focus on building a great final product instead of worrying about individual components.

With our embedded monitoring solutions, we are now several generations in, therefore you can trust our knowledge and expertise when it comes to proven results and accurate PVT.

Because we were hitting an untapped market we were able to self-fund our growth initially and we found that customer doors were quite open to us around the world. We were and continue to remain, IP vendor focused on these circuits. With a self-funded startup your role requires you to do every job, you are crossing between design engineering management, roadmap and sales and marketing.

We have been developing these monitors for seven years so we can demonstrate our capabilities through our experience and expertise and we can see the strong market and we are selling into customers in China, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Europe and the United States.

As a startup it is vitally important to define your sales processes, record them and live by them accordingly, this will then free you up to focus on your key customers. You must also retain a ruthless focus on your market and identify your Go-To-Market Strategy sooner rather than later. Focus on those areas that will make the boat go faster and avoid becoming a busy fool!

In 2016 Moortec received investment and we are fortunate to have supportive backers who share our vision for the company. Now, as we start 2017 we are a thriving IP vendor with 20+ staff and big plans for continued growth and product development the future. We have established ourselves as market-leaders in embedded monitoring solutions for today’s technologies and will continue to be a local company with global ideas and world class engineers!

About Moortec

Established in 2005 Moortec provides compelling embedded subsystem IP solutions for Process, Voltage & Temperature (PVT) monitoring, targeting advanced node CMOS technologies from 40nm down to 7nm. Moortec’s in-chip sensing solutions support the semiconductor design community’s demands for increased device reliability and enhanced performance optimization, enabling schemes such as DVFS, AVS and power management control systems. Moortec provides excellent support for IP application, integration and device test during production.

For more information please visit www.moortec.com, follow us on Twitter @moortec and LinkedIn.