Hyderabad, 21 August 2018: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad aims to impart a major boost to the Indian Chip Design Sector by launching an Incubator dedicated exclusively to help startups in this sector. Three startups are already being incubated and the Incubator is calling for early stage startups to apply.
The Fabless Chip Design Incubator (FabCI) is thought to be the first-of-its-kind in India and will focus on creating an ecosystem for grooming startups in chip design. The Incubator provides a bouquet of offerings including free software tools with leading technology partners in Electronic Design Automation (EDA), a good characterization facility for testing the chips and equipment for performing DC and RF characterization. A technical event was held at IIT Hyderabad campus recently.
In a video message for FabCI, Shri Ajay Prakash Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India, said, “India should become a center for global excellence in the semiconductor industry. This Incubator is a step in the right direction. It will greatly benefit from the expertise of IIT Hyderabad and mentors outside the Institute and should make a mark in the International Chip Design Sector. I’m sure FabCI will create the ecosystem to incubate startups that will make India proud.”
The grand vision is to leverage the design expertise that exists in India to create Indian IP and to make a mark in chip design internationally.
The primary motivation for this unique incubator program is to provide a one-stop solution for startups focusing in the area of chip design. The goal is to incubate at least 50 ‘Make-in-India’ chip design companies that can compete globally and generate Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs).
Speaking about FabCI, Prof U.B. Desai, Director, IIT Hyderabad, said, “This incubator exemplifies the commitment of IIT Hyderabad to develop semiconductor and chip design industries in India and enhance its IPR. We’re looking forward to incubating startups that will roll out the next generation of disruptive products. This incubator will also contribute to the ‘Startup India’ and ‘Make In India’ campaigns of the Government of India.”
FabCI is funded by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India. FabCI technology partners Cadence Design Systems, Inc. and Mentor Graphics both are leading providers of Electronic Design Automation (EDA) software, hardware and IP.
The startups are provided with the relevant infrastructure, hardware and software and mentored to succeed with the help of mentors who are pioneers in this field.
FabCI is already incubating three startups, which are at different stages of evolution. They are working in deep technologies and with customer interest and/or investment. FabCI is actively looking for expressions of interest from new early-stage startups. The Incubator also offers virtual support to non-Hyderabad based startups who can join FabCI and successful leverage the offerings and participate remotely.
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The electronics industry is one of the fastest growing and largest manufacturing industries in the world, estimated to be at USD 1.75 trillion now and projected to reach USD 2.4 Trillion by 2020. The demand in the Indian market driven by higher consumption of electronic goods and our strategic needs for using technology in education, defense and healthcare industries is projected to reach USD 400 Billion by year 2020.
Starting a company in Integrated Circuit (IC) design field is an enormous task as the hardware, software and the relevant infrastructure requires huge amount of capital investment. Also, developing a business model in this highly competitive domain is a non-trivial task. Mentorship by experts in both technical and business domains would hasten the process of transition from a startup to a revenue generating company.
The encouraging fact for India is the growing emphasis on fabless chip design companies. Manufacturing electronics chips/gadgets involve three primary activities: design, fabrication and testing. Applications are being called for startups to join FabCI.