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SiliconReef -- ICs for Sustainability  
Founded: Oct 2008
Status: Defunct
Source: Semiconductor Times, 4/11
Rua Bione, 220, Bairro do Recife
Tel: +55 (81) 3425.4857; +55

SiliconReef was founded in October 2008 in Brazil “to provide innovative solutions in the semiconductor market that contribute to improved sustainability.” The company was born in the innovative and entrepreneur environment of the Porto Digital, an information technology hub that promotes sustainable growth based in an economy of high added value and quality services.

SiliconReef is supported by the federal government (non-equity grants), which has designated the semiconductor industry as a priority for investments in science and technology.

In 2005, the Brazilian Government launched a national Program (called CI-Brasil) to support the semiconductor industry development. CEITEC (see March 2010 issue) is an anchor for this Program and is currently the largest design center in Brazil, not considering Freescale. Roughly 20 design centers spread around Brazil are also involved in this Program.

SiliconReef has raised roughly $1M to support R&D activities and its first product development. The company also has the support from the C.E.S.A.R., a Brazilian R&D center that offers among other services an incubation program. Since 2006, joint with C.E.S.A.R, the team that today makes SiliconReef has developed design services for Brazilian industry in automotive and telecom fields. SiliconReef was a runner-up in the 2009 DFJ and Cisco Global Business Plan Competition, and DFJ may conduct further due diligence on the company in the future.

The company is currently closing a deal with a Brazilian seed capital fund, which will carry SiliconReef to first product launch. A $2M to $5M second round raise is anticipated in roughly one year. SiliconReef has 10 employees.

SiliconReef is focused on the development of low-power analog and mixed-signal ICs. The company’s mature design process results in high quality products with defined interactions and time schedule. The time zone is closely aligned with Europe and the USA.

SiliconReef offers a variety of design services, including digital and analog verification, development and implementation of analog blocks, and development and implementation of digital blocks.

The company has a broad array of mixed-signal IP, including transconductance amplifiers, DC level shifters, Buck-Boost DC/DC converters, voltage references, current references, low dropout linear voltage regulators, current sensors, comparators and more. The IP is silicon proven at LFoundry on a 0.15u process and XFab on a 0.6u process. SiliconReef is also exploring additional foundry partners.

SiliconReef is also working with R&D partners on energy harvesting ICs that improve the performance of the harvesting device by ensuring that it always operates inside its higher efficiency zone.

The EH01 is a single chip solution capable of handling the entire solar energy harvesting process from capture to output power under load. Real-time on-chip MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) techniques increase solar panel efficiency. The device adjusts the maximum power point dynamically and automatically. Once the energy is captured, the IC can charge a lithium-ion battery and provide an output voltage compliant with the ITU-L1.000 standard for a universal power adapter and charger solution for mobile terminals. Additionally, high efficiency power converter circuits enable up to 96% efficiency.

Prototype samples are under test right now, with qualification in Q2/Q3 and launch by the end of 2011. The product will be launched under the SiliconReef brand, although the company is also considering re-branding. Future products will address ultra-low power applications such as wireless sensors networks, as well as handle other energy sources.

Competitively, SiliconReef addresses emerging markets with high potential. The company argues that its customers cannot find comparable solutions today. Additionally, Brazil provides unique opportunities that the company can address as a local provider.

Marilia Lima, co-founder & CEO (PhD Candidate in Microelectronics and 10 years management experience in IC projects)

Tiago Lins, co-founder & CBDO (7 years experience in microelectronics projects)

Vitor Schwambach, CTO (7 years experience in microelectronics projects)

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