Chip business honors ex-Cadence CEO and VC Lip-Bu Tan


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The Semiconductor Business Affiliation awarded its highest honor to Lip-Bu Tan, the previous CEO of Cadence Design Techniques and the founding father of the enterprise capital agency Walden Worldwide.

Tan served as CEO of Cadence, a maker of chip design instruments and simulation software program, for 13 years. And in 1987, he based Walden Worldwide. At the moment, no one wished to spend money on semiconductor corporations as chip making was getting so costly.

Over time, he invested in 85 semiconductor corporations. Of these, 26 had been acquired and 19 went public. Virtually nobody has that type of funding file. A type of corporations, Credo Expertise, went public earlier in mid-February, elevating $230 million at a worth of $1.6 billion.

Tan was there along with his spouse, two youngsters, and their grandchildren as he accepted the award. CEOs Pat Gelsinger of Intel, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Jensen Huang of Nvidia, and Matt Murphy of Marvell sang his praises and Tan mentioned it was humbling. He remembered again to the times when he took over Cadence, hoping it will be a three-month gig. He needed to apologize to clients and buyers who had felt deceived by Cadence’s former chief. And he answered emails on the best way to repair Cadence, typically getting 300 of them a day from his personal workers.


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Lip-Bu Tan is chairman of Credo.
Lip-Bu Tan is chairman of Credo.

Tan stayed at Cadence for 13 years and oversaw its market worth change from lower than $1 billion when he took over to $45 billion when he retired in 2021. And as an investor, Tan made it to the Midas Checklist of Forbes.

“Nice renaissance leaders had been so expert throughout so many dimensions,” Gelsinger mentioned in presenting the award. “Lip-Bu Tan is that type of particular person. However whereas they weren’t preferred, Lip-Bu Tan is cherished by everyone and he is aware of everyone. I couldn’t consider anyone extra worthy of the Robert N. Noyce Award than my good friend Lip-Bu Tan.

The Walden agency was named after Henry David Thoreau’s ebook, Walden, as Tan believed in related issues, like self-reliance, mentioned Matt Murphy, CEO of Marvell.

Tan mentioned he was honored and humbled. He famous he didn’t end his doctorate in nuclear engineering at MIT, as Three Mile Island modified his profession path. Chips had been unpopular too, however he doubled down and tripled on them, he mentioned. He mentioned he obtained a couple of “CEO for Dummies” books when he was named Cadence’s chief as a first-time CEO, and he learn all of them.

He mentioned he stays fascinated with applied sciences reminiscent of quantum computing, hyperscale servers, large knowledge processing, and superior packaging. He believes all of them have the potential to remodel the lives of people on this planet.

And he quoted Noyce, the cofounder of Intel, who famously mentioned, “Don’t be encumbered by historical past. Go off and do one thing fantastic.”

“Semiconductors have grow to be very strategic for the nation and essential for the entire world,” Tan mentioned in an interview with me this summer season. “President Biden has introduced up chip wafers and this chip act is essential for the nation and the world.”

In our interview, Tan mentioned he was involved about local weather change and enthusiastic about investments in AI and different applied sciences. Whilst Credo went public, he noticed robust instances even again in July after we talked.

As for the chip business cycle, he famous that the bull run in semiconductors has gone on for a very long time. Now that smartphones have hit an enormous put in base, gross sales could decelerate and there might be softness in the long run marketplace for chips. He mentioned he can see the market slowing down in 2022 or 2023. However he believes that it may bounce again by 2024.

“I believe the subsequent two years will likely be difficult,” Tan mentioned, because of points reminiscent of inflation and supply-chain points. “The opposite half is the geopolitical danger. This pertains to power and political tensions.”

And in the long run, he’s involved that progress in chip design may additionally decelerate because the chip business hits the boundaries of Moore’s Legislation, the prediction that chip capability would double each couple of years. Good relationships with companions in digital design automation and foundries have grow to be essential. Credo is an in depth accomplice for contract chip producer TSMC.

“It’s extra difficult so as to add efficiency,” he mentioned. “With respect to Credo, there is no such thing as a must push the superior manufacturing know-how. They’ve an enormous benefit in design. With Moore’s Legislation slowing down, you could do chiplets and intelligent packaging and that’s the reason Credo noticed the chiplet as the correct method to go.”

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