Efinix brought in Harald Werner, an FPGA specialist, two years ago. As Sales Director Europe, he was to build up the business in Europe. A successful move, as Werner explains, »After two years, I see Efinix as one of the top FPGA suppliers in Europe, but also worldwide.«
Markt & Technik: How have the first two years gone for Efinix?
Harald Werner: Very well. On the one hand, our products have been well received by the market, and on the other hand, the supply bottlenecks at our competitors have also had a very positive effect on our business. This applies to Europe, but also worldwide. Because of the supply bottlenecks, many additional customers have contacted us, and we have been able to help them very well with our FPGAs. The supply bottlenecks in the density range of less than 150,000 LUTs seem to have been particularly bad and have been a reason for many companies to look for alternatives. All these factors together have enabled us to far exceed the targets we set ourselves two years ago.
In addition, in the last two years we have brought the complete Trion family into production, launched four devices from the Trion family as AEC-Q100 devices and announced Titanium, a new FPGA family based on 16 nm, as well as bringing the first devices from this family into production. Efinix relies on RISC-V for our embedded processor and in this case, too, we have already been able to set up a considerable Eco-system. I would also like to add that the RISC-V on Titanium FPGAs run at 350 MHz, delivering the compute power needed for complex operating systems such as Linux.
Were the large manufacturers more affected by supply bottlenecks, or did it also affect smaller companies?
I can only speak for Efinix and we have had the supply situation largely under control, thanks to the good cooperation between our foundries and our planning team. Working closely with our foundries, they have been telling us that they much prefer to process standard CMOS wafers in times of constrained supply to optimize their flow. This is a clear advantage for us because our Quantum architecture is based on a standard CMOS process and can therefore be produced with a minimum of disruption. Accordingly, we have been able to offer very good solutions to customers looking for alternatives and have excelled in delivering to our customers in a stable and timely manner.
Add to that the ease of use of our tools and our unique Quantum FPGA architecture, and all of this has contributed to the fact that many companies have switched to Efinix, redesigning their product to take advantage of Efinix efficiency and cost effectiveness.
So you assume that the new customers will also stay with Efinix, even if the established manufacturers can deliver again?
This is what we assume. We were able to prove the quality of our tools and our building blocks in the design process. This does not mean that our design flow is completely error-free. But what matters is how you deal with such challenges and how quickly you can come up with solutions. And here I am absolutely convinced that we scored.
We work continuously to keep prices stable for our customers, even under the current circumstances, so that they can bring their products to market as calculated. That certainly speaks in our favor. That is why we are convinced that our customers will continue to do projects with us, even if the others can deliver again. Many customers want long-term delivery commitments, something that we can more easily do given that our FPGA families have quite recently been introduced. Easier certainly than with FPGAs that have already been on the market for some considerable time. I am absolutely convinced that this will create partnerships that will last beyond the crisis.
Then there are the technical advantages of our Quantum technology, which of course also play their part in ensuring that customers will continue to work with us. I am absolutely convinced that the great growth of the last two years and the establishment of libraries of IP and reference designs on our part will enable further healthy growth in the future.
Can you give some examples of the extent to which structures have changed?
Yes, of course. For example, Efinix has established managers for the global sales regions and built up the associated technical resources. In addition, an experienced CFO and a general counsel have been hired, both of whom will help prepare Efinix for the next steps in the market. An FPGA is a design-in product, so the technical support structure is also being continuously developed and networked worldwide so that solutions can be worked on 24/7.
Back to the delivery situation: Why was Efinix able to deliver while other FPGA manufacturers had problems?
As already indicated: In times of tight capacities, foundries look at which processes are very easy to handle to run as many products through the process as quickly as possible. This is where Efinix has an advantage with its Quantum architecture. That's because it requires only one pure CMOS process, with no additional process steps. This helps the foundry to run these products through quickly.