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19 July, 2021 - 10:10 By Tony Quested

Arm steers historic silicon surge for tearaway tech startups

Cambridge’s greatest ever technology company Arm is paying it forward in spades with new initiatives designed to stimulate a fresh surge of Cambridge innovation.

The first is Arm’s virtual Startup Day next Tuesday (July 27) which provides a masterclass in how Cambridge fledglings can lead the world in the next wave of bleeding edge tech breakthroughs.

An amazing line-up of inspirational speakers from with the company and externally will preach disruption! 

Startups around the world are disrupting markets and driving innovation in unimaginable ways. Arm and its ecosystem are helping them succeed with the compute technologies needed to translate a transformational idea from inspiration to production quickly.

As part of its commitment to helping startups thrive, and following the launch of the Arm Flexible Access for Startups program last year, Arm will be holding a new, virtual event for young companies building or utilising next-generation hardware products from 8 a.m. PST/4 p.m. BST next Tuesday and will include a number of keynotes, fireside chats, and panel discussions encompassing: -

  • How startups can go from product experimentation to execution with support from Arm and its world-leading ecosystem 
  • With insights from companies including Arduino, Axiado, Edge Impulse, PragmatIC and UltraLeap, as well as fireside chats with Ampere and Microsoft for Startups
  • Industry landscape analysis from leading investors such as venture capitalist Miles Kirby, technology hub VentureLab, and Silicon Catalyst, the only incubator focused on semiconductor solutions
  • The untapped opportunities of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things for startups
  • The shared future opportunities for developers at the intersection of hardware and software.

The company has just wheeled out Arm® Flexible Access for Startups, an extension of its already highly successful Flexible Access program. This new initiative offers early-stage silicon startups zero-cost access to a huge range of Arm’s leading IP, along with global support and training resources, enabling them to start on their journey to commercial silicon and business scale.

“In today’s challenging business landscape, enabling innovation is critical – now more than ever, startups with brilliant ideas need the fastest, most trusted route to success and scale,” said Dipti Vachani, senior vice-president and general manager, Automotive and IoT Line of Business. 

“Arm Flexible Access for Startups offers new silicon entrants a faster, more cost-efficient path to working prototypes, resulting in strengthened investor confidence for future funding.”

Early-stage silicon startups can now access a wide range of Arm IP at no cost, allowing them to experiment, design and prototype with various Arm solutions throughout the product development cycle. 

Arm defines early-stage as startups with up to $5 million in funding. Startups meeting these criteria will have access to a broad portfolio of Arm-based processors, including IP from the Arm Cortex®-A, -R and -M processor families, select Arm Mali™ GPUs, ISPs, and other foundational SoC building blocks. 

Startups will also be able to supplement their in-house skills and experience with access to Arm’s leading ecosystem of silicon designers, software developers, support, training and tools.

Emerging use cases in areas such as AI at the edge, autonomous vehicles and IoT have spurred a new wave of silicon startups, as illustrated by new insights from Semico Research which reveals that there has been a 10 X increase in funding from 2016 to 2019. In the last five years silicon startups have received more than $1.3 billion in funding.

Over a third of startups that have emerged in the past five years are targeting automotive, with another third targeting IoT applications.

In terms of key challenges, semiconductor startups have small engineering teams facing the increasing complexity of SoC designs and need to satisfy a growing range of customer and market requirements in the shortest timeframes possible.

Missing a market window could mean the difference between success or failure, so they rely heavily on a strong ecosystem to enable fast, low risk and robust product development in order to quickly, cost effectively bring a product to proof of concept and beyond.

As part of the introduction of Arm Flexible Access for Startups, Arm has also announced a strategic partnership with Silicon Catalyst, an incubator focused exclusively on helping startups accelerate silicon solutions. 
Silicon Catalyst members can now access Arm IP, EDA tools and prototype silicon for free, significantly reducing costs at the critical stage of the business.

The program has seen significant momentum, with more than 40 customers now registered covering areas such as IoT, AI at the edge, autonomous vehicles and medical wearables. 

Arm already has a successful track record in driving engagements with innovative smaller customers, hundreds of which have seen significant success using Arm technology, such as AI chip vendor, Hailo, and fabless semiconductor company, Atmosic. This new program will enable further engagements with emerging silicon startups.

• To engage with Arm’s Startup Day visit www.arm.com/company/events/startup-day and for more details on the flexible access programme go to: www.arm.com/products/flexible-access/startup

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