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Efinix -- Programmable Product Platforms  
Founded: Sep 2012
Status: Private
Source: Semiconductor Times, 10/17
900 Lafayette St, Suite 406
Santa Clara, CA 95050
Tel: 408.789.6917

Efinix was founded in September 2012 to develop programmable product platforms and technologies. In September 2017, Efinix completed a $9.5 million funding round led by Xilinx and Hong Kong X Technology Fund (HKX), an investment fund supported by Sequoia Capital China. Samsung Ventures, Hong Kong Inno Capital and Brizan Investments also joined the round. The investment will accelerate the deployment of the company’s Quantum™ programmable technology with a focus on deep learning and compute acceleration. The company has raised $16M to date and plans to seek $15M+ in additional capital in 1H’19. Efinix has 20 employees and 5-6 contractors.

Efinix’s Quantum programmable technology delivers a 4X power-performance-area advantage over traditional programmable technologies, according to the company. Its solution can address a wide variety of applications that are typically not served by today’s FPGAs. The performance advantage will enable Quantum technology accelerated products in the ASIC, ASSP, and FPGA segments to compete in high-growth markets such as custom logic, deep learning and compute acceleration.

The basic building block of the Quantum technology is the eXchangeable Logic and Routing (XLR) cell. An XLR cell can function as either a LUT-based logic cell or a routing switch encoded with a scalable, flexible routing structure. This innovation improves the active area utilization by 4X compared to traditional FPGAs, resulting in up to 4X area efficiency and a 2X power advantage. The power, performance and area advantage is scalable by logic density. The company has 2 patents granted and more pending.

Quantum technology only requires 7 metal layers, a significant reduction compared to traditional FPGAs that have 10 to 14 metal layers. Performance is improved because worst case routing everywhere is not required. The architecture removes a lot of overhead, making the development flow easier and simpler. With increased area utilization, resulting in a much smaller dies size, Efinix can use a process generation that is 1 to 1.5 nodes behind the state-of-the-art.

Efinix has developed the Efinity integrated development environment (IDE) software, a design environment that supports all Efinix programmable products for design entry (RTL), synthesis, place and route (P&R), timing analysis and bitstream generation. Efinix builds custom devices and/or cores for customers who have applications or market needs that cannot be satisfied by standard FPGAs. Business models range from core licensing to silicon design and turnkey services; however, Efinix stressed that it is not an IP company.

Competitors include FPGA companies other than Xilinx. Efinix and Xilinx are collaborating; however, specifics are confidential. Efinix said that it offers the only architecture that combines a LUT and routing switch in a cell, resulting in a 4X PPA advantage.

Combining its Quantum programmable technology and Efinity IDE, Efinix will be launching several joint development projects and a new line of silicon product platforms in the coming months. Efinix has development activities with several partners focused on high volume infrastructure, data centers, and advanced silicon processes, including video and edge inference deep learning products.

Efinix expects the first Quantum-based silicon product samples to be available by December 2017, and multiple production-ready devices in 2H’18. The first product platform will offer programmable devices ranging from 4K to 150 LEs, serving custom logic, mobile, IoT and edge computing.

Sammy Cheung, Founder, President, and CEO (previously VP of the IC group at Stretch and senior director developing HardCopy products at Altera)

Tony Ngai, Founder, CTO & SVP Engineering (previously 15+ years of management experience at the top 3 FPGA companies)

Jay Schleicher, VP Software Engineering (previously spent 23 years at Altera, where he led software and IP teams)

Kar Keng Chua, VP & GM of Malaysia Operations (previously Director of Product Development, IC Engineering at Altera)

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