Moortec: A View Across the Vision of a Chip
In the era of Smart Everything, devices are getting better and connecting in an easier way. People have even started to link their house appliances and various gadgets to one set that would allow them to control everything.
All of this is thanks to high-quality, high-performance chips that are part of these machines. Powering the whole era, these chips enable everything, from self-driving cars to faster communication across our phones.
And at the forefront of this is Moortec Semiconductor, or as it’s called now, Synopsys.
In 2015, Stephen Crosher had an idea to apply the same approaches that were the core principles of Rolls Royce and the technology offered by the aviation giants to semiconductor devices. These were data analyses for predicting reliability issues, maintenance, and assessment.
Keep on reading to see the story of how Moortec became one of the giants that leads the “silicone to software” path today!
How It All Started
Every successful story needs a little bit of luck, a little bit of passion, and a little bit of knowledge. The mix of these brings the experience to another level.
Stephen Crosher, the founder of Moortec, was born in 1973. He led a peaceful childhood, enjoying his free time sailing, playing tennis, or strolling down the British pubs together with friends, enjoying the UK nightlife. However, as much as he liked these pastimes, his preferred way to spend time was indulging in electronics and electrical devices.
Stephen started his education at Borden Grammar from 1987 till 1991. But since electronics were his passion, he wanted to know more about this world, so he kept pushing forward, looking for ways to satiate his thirst for knowledge.
The one sure way he could do this was to continue his education. So he went to the University of Exeter, where he earned a Master's degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.
Slowly and with safe steps, Stephen was set on the road to becoming an exquisite mind in the world of electronics!
The Path to His Own Success
His hard work paid off in the end, as Stephen managed to land a solid job right off the bat! His career started in telecommunications solutions, then continued in the TV industry.
Namely, his first job was at one of the most famous companies in the world - Nokia. He worked as an electronics design engineer for more than 2 years. Here, Stephen and a team of highly competent peers worked on testing and verifying the SDH fixed access in telecommunication products.
Seeing the potential in this bright young mind, Stephen was quickly snatched by Tandberg Television to work as its senior designer. Even in this company, Stephen had to work in a team – the Post-Product Development group of the company – and together, design and authorize professional equipment for digital broadcasting.
After spending 2 years and 11 months in Tandberg Television, Stephen made another change, this time entering Zarlink Semiconductor. He worked for 4 years in the Ultra-Low Power and Network Communications units, where he had to make sure designs for various IC products functioned the right way.
But after almost 9 years of jumping from one company to another, Stephen was done with it and decided it was finally time for a big change. He had an idea to provide better analytics, optimization, and lifetime in-chip monitoring solutions. This is how he founded Moortec – a company that delivers complex technical projects.
Moortec Semiconductors - A Real Business Innovation
Established in 2005 with great enthusiasm and passion for change, Moortec Semiconductors provides compelling embedded subsystem IP solutions for Process, Voltage & Temperature (PVT) monitoring, targeting advanced node CMOS technologies on 40nm, 28nm, 16nm, 12nm, and 7nm.
Stephen Crosher founded it with some help from Fraser Philips and a team of ex-Zarlink Semiconductor engineers.
The design community demanded increased device reliability and enhanced performance optimization. Moortec, therefore, provides great support for IP application, integration, and device testing during production.
Its business model includes supplying tried and tested IP circuit solutions to chip developers to optimize the SoC designs' performances and reliability. As a company, they greatly help solve the challenges by enabling optimization schemes and extending device reliability.
In-Chip Monitoring Challenges
In-chip monitoring means measuring, monitoring, and optimizing. But this is not as easy as it sounds.
There have been enormous challenges that the company has faced through the years in terms of in-chip conditions, design challenges, thermal challenges as well as supply and process challenges.
One of these included providing reliable but power-efficient and speed-optimized chip designs. The main issue, in this case, was the overheating that came because of the thermal activity. This, in turn, affected the device's longevity, so Stephen had to find a way to create better thermal control.
Nonetheless, with long devotion to reliability, new design methodologies, and accurate, trusted monitoring, Stephen overcame all of these difficulties.
This led to the announcement of an addition to the company’s deeply embedded monitoring portfolio – the distributed thermal sensor on TSMC N5 process technology. Shown to the market in 2019, this technology supports high accuracy measurement and enhanced conversion speeds.
Right before this, Stephen also volunteered at the Horrabridge Community Primary School. He was a Local Authority Governor to the school’s governing body. It was a slight challenge to juggle working at two places, but his enthusiasm for the areas pushed him to excel in them both.
Financial Aspects of This In-Chip Leader
From 2005 up to 2020, Moortec Semiconductor was a privately held company with headquarters in Plymouth, UK. The number of employees it had was around 25 to 100.
Moortec had only 2 funding rounds. The first one was in 2016 when the leading investor was Altitude Partners. The sum of this investment was around $59.6 thousand. The following year, there was an additional round with relatively the same amount – $59.3 thousand.
Acquisition by Synopsys
Both rounds made total funding of $119 thousand. Yearly, the company made somewhere around $4.62 million in revenue. In 2020 Synopsys, a firm that creates software apps and electronic products, acquired Moortec.
This business was founded in 1986. Eight years later, Synopsys opened up an IPO and registered under the ticker NASDAQ: SNPS. Until today, this company has made 22 investments – the most recent one being in 2017. It has also acquired 86 organizations (the latest one is WhiteHat Security in 2022) and had 6 exits, such as Arteris IP, Pixim, and AWR Corporation.
Acquiring Moortec was done so the company’s technology would gain more detailed and precise optimizations at each stage – starting with the design implementation, manufacturing process, test production, and in-field operation. This merge provides customers with data-analytics-driven solutions, which is more than necessary as it enables increasingly functional conditions, performance, and reliability.
Moortec Contributes To a Better Society
As Moortec is now part of Synopsys, the headquarters is at Mountain View, California. Synopsys Inc. has around 10,000 employees.
In 2016, Synopsys received the TSMC Open Innovation Platform Partner of the Year Award for the New IP category. The company was shortlisted for the Semiconductor Product of the Year in 2018 for the in-chip monitoring subsystem IP.
In Synopsys Inc., Stephen is now working as an SLM strategic programs director, pouring his 20+ years of experience into creating strategies and roadmaps to develop sensing technologies. These would later be used to make unique lifestyle analytics of semiconductors.
Stephen’s dream of creating technology that will sense changes within a minute has come true. Now his goal is to add even more to the ever-growing realm of technology.