Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Indian Microelectronics Academy (IMA) formed to build, nurture and grow start-ups!

Friends, it takes great pleasure to announce the formation of the Indian Microelectronics Academy (IMA), a brainchild of Cre8 Ventures, which was launched by Mentor Graphics UK Ltd in 2005 as an independent network. Cre8Ventures aims to help start-up electronic design companies achieve business success.

The idea of the IMA was conceived and developed by Carson Bradbury, the mastermind behind the European Microelectronics Academy (EMA), who has helped this India chapter get off the ground. You can see him raising the salient points of the IMA to a select audience from the Indian microelectronics industry.Carson also happens to be the director of Cre8ventures, the initiative Mentor Graphics took back in 2003 to help the startups in Europe. During this period, Cre8ventures has been able to help over 80 companies and create a healthy ecosystem for the startups.

On the IMA's objective, Carson says: "It is to help enable a new breed of microelectronic companies that have the promise to become global by owning value chains. The strategy would be to establish new international communities whose tantalizing messages on the world stage is exploitation (US), execution (Asia) and innovation (Europe)."

As for the areas of focus, he adds that it will be "wherever there is a big unmet business need and the opportunity to own a value chain through microelectronics."

What will the IMA do for start-ups in India? Carson says: "The IMA will uncover unmet business needs from big companies from Coca Cola to Tata and will solve the innovation gaps by creating/connecting start-ups and leveraging open innovation strategies from multinational semiconductor companies.

"The IMA will help start-ups get to momentum through the experience, trust and influence of the high profile individuals which represent the IMA’s executive team and the contribution from industrialists (e.g. EDA, Foundry, IP, Assembly and Test, Software and Design Services) who’s ‘take’ is first mover advantage and who’s ‘give’ is risk sharing business models (e.g. spin-out, spin-in, IP donation/extraction).

"The IMA will then aim to take start-ups further down stream so when they get to Series A they will have triple A board rooms, markets defined, early adopter customers an first product/silicon in place."

Now, I sincerely hope this is the story that the Indian semiconductor and electronics industry has, perhaps, been looking forward to! There is a need to build, nurture and help start-ups to develop and grow. The IMA has the goal to make that happen! In that respect, this is your -- the Indian microelectronics industry's -- story!

The IMA's initial steps would be to actually start getting connected with the Indian startups who require immediate help and attention, and come out with its first success story, and more! I sincerely hope that the IMA can interest the other leading industry bodies in India to join hands and make this a very robust ecosystem that will serve the Indian industry in the years to come.

Why need an IMA?
So, why need an IMA in the first place? Well, the IMA has been formed in India with the objective of creating an ecosystem of bringing together all of the necessary pillars required to create successful startups and bridge the innovation gaps among the leading companies.

The idea is to also grow the GDP of the region based on a knowledge based economy. This is a proven concept, which worked for seven years in the form of Cre8 Ventures in Europe. In 2010, Cre8 Ventures first set up the EMA in Europe and now, the IMA in India!

Who's involved in IMA?
Naturally, Carson Bradbury, the brain behind all of this, is heading this initiative.

The others in this team include Raghu Panicker, sales director, Mentor Graphics India, who plays the role of a non executive director in the Academy and brings the world class EDA tools required for the startups to the table.

Himanshu Rawal, account manager, Mentor Graphics India, will play the role of director, Cre8 Ventures India. His charter in the Academy is to discuss and uncover the interests of the various startups, understand the innovation gaps of the leading companies and bring these in front of the Academy.

On a personal note, many thanks to Himanshu for also providing valuable inputs for this post.

Yours truly has also been asked to join the IMA. I hope I can play a decent role in connecting the right dots together!

Now, a note on the Academy’s structure. The IMA will have a chairman, a set of non executive directors and a set of advisory board members.

It will have platinum members who should be willing to invest dollars of investment in the form of services, EDA, foundry services, IPs, etc.

The Academy will also have financial partners – the VC community, as well as knowledge based partners, such as colleges/universities offering incubation to startups; serial entrepreneurs to guide and give the success mantras to the innovators; bluechip partners – big companies who see big markets in the horizon and who need the Academy to fill in their innovation gaps; and a media partner who can transmit the right things that the Academy does at the right time.

The Academy itself will be closely working with the innovators who might come out with solutions such as spin-in, spin-outs, joint ventures etc.

So far, the Academy has identified a couple of VCs who are ready to invest if the Academy approves an innovator’s idea; a couple of successful serial entrepreneurs in the microelectronic Industry; an incubator to help startups getting access to EDA tools; big microelectronics companies who see big markets coming; a platinum partner who is willing to put its money in the right places.

The IMA has now started functioning and a couple of uncovering sessions have been done with startups, which will be put in front of the Academy members during its next meeting scheduled in July 2010. There is an uncovering session planned with a major healthcare company to put their idea in front of the Academy as a project.

With the formation of the IMA, a platform is now ready for the startups in India in microelectronics – semiconductor, VLSI, solar, electronics, telecom, etc., and get benefitted by the core members of the Academy.

Calling all interested start-ups: to start a dialogue, please feel free to contact me -- Pradeep Chakraborty -- through this blog. You can also contact Himanshu Rawal at himanshu_rawal[at]mentor.com.

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