Innovation Zone at TSMC Technology Symposium: Emerging Customers Showcase Cutting-Edge Innovations

TSMC is always passionate about working with startup companies. Since its founding 35 years ago, TSMC has worked with startups to accelerate innovations throughout the world by providing access to process technologies and manufacturing capacity. Our partnership with these startup customers, or fabless design houses that do not operate fabs, allows them to invest in next-generation semiconductor design and innovation rather than in capital-intensive manufacturing, which has given them the flexibility to innovate broadly and creatively. The Fabless-Foundry model was born from that collaboration. In fact, those early design house startups have become the foundation of today’s Fabless industry, such as Broadcom, NVIDIA, and MediaTek. TSMC and our Open Innovation Platform® (OIP) partners have been a trusted partner to more than 1,500 startup companies to foster innovation and spearhead advances in communications, computing, healthcare, transportation, clean energy, and countless other applications.

Driven by the passion to enable startup customers’ success, we began hosting a dedicated Innovation Zone at our annual TSMC Technology Symposium since 2021. We are excited to use this platform, both in-person and online, to showcase startup customers’ cutting-edge products and innovations. This year, we were even more thrilled to welcome 24 emerging customers to exhibit at the first-ever in-person Innovation Zone, where event attendees were able to explore firsthand how they achieved success by partnering with TSMC. These customers showcased wide-range disruptive innovations in cashier-less retail, next-generation computing interconnect, Cloud & Edge AI, power electronics, augmented reality, satellite-mobile communication, battery-free devices, in-vehicle network, software-defined touch sensing, 5G Open-RAN, and more. Their inspirational stories of a value-driven mindset, relentless determination, and progress behind creating the next wave of innovations for the industry came alive during their interactive demos.

In addition to their product demos, we’re honored and humbled to share the videos and the testimonies in the following section to celebrate our partnership and highlight the role TSMC played along every step of their innovation journey. These are some of the many startup companies that have trailblazed the frontier of innovation. Their success validates the passion and value TSMC brings to this robust and vibrant ecosystem worldwide. We are committed to supporting the startup community in this exciting period of transformation and truly honored to be growing together with them.

TSMC 2022 NA Technology Symposium Innovation Zone
TSMC 2022 EU Technology Symposium Innovation Zone

TSMC Provides Leading Technology and Manufacturing Excellence

Astera Labs, a leading company in purpose-built connectivity solutions for data-centric systems, said that TSMC’s industry-leading technology has given the company critical performance advantages to develop purpose-built connectivity solutions for cloud-scale operators. Secure and dedicated capacity from TSMC enabled Astera Labs to fulfill customer demands with predictable, reliable, and best-in-class shipping performance and lead time. “Our partnership with TSMC ensures that our system-aware PCIe®, CXL™, and Ethernet connectivity products are delivered with the highest quality and performance at industry-best delivery times to our customers. Thanks to TSMC we have now entered pre-production phase for our Leo Memory Connectivity Platform for CXL 2.0 and 1.1 technologies, enabling the CXL ecosystem to ramp quickly from concept to reality,” said Sanjay Gajendra, chief business officer at Astera Labs.

Graphcore, a semiconductor company that develops accelerators for artificial intelligence, also emphasized that Graphcore systems made possible with TSMC’s manufacturing excellence are used in AI applications across various industries, including pharmaceuticals, financial services, the automotive industry, and consumer internet services. “TSMC’s innovation in semiconductor manufacturing has allowed Graphcore to bring our advanced, made-for-AI Intelligence Processing Unit to life and rapidly bring it to market,” said Simon Knowles, Graphcore CTO. “Most recently, Graphcore became the first systems maker to commercially deploy a processor build using TSMC's 3D Wafer-on-Wafer technique, giving our latest Bow IPUs increased performance and reduced power consumption.

A TSMC customer since 2014 and leading provider of Gallium Nitride (GaN) Power ICs, Navitas noted that its partnership with TSMC continued to push the limits on high-efficiency power electronics. “Excellent teamwork, learning, and collaboration with TSMC have created a proven, high-yielding platform on which Navitas can build next-generation GaNFast power ICs,” said Dan Kinzer, Navitas co-founder and COO/CTO. “Our close partnership delivers fast, high-capacity, high-quality, and low lead-time results. With strong support from TSMC, Navitas is releasing a next-generation of GaN power IC every 12 months, with over 50,000,000 units shipped, zero reported GaN-related field-failures, and production lead-times of only 6 to 16 weeks.

Another leading company in GaN power semiconductors, GaN Systems, has also partnered with TSMC for over a decade. “GaN Systems was the first company to supply the power industry with both low voltage and high voltage GaN,” said Stephen Coates, vice president of Global Operations at GaN Systems. “GaN Systems has built its sales and pipeline with the confidence and ability to deliver to customers when they need it. TSMC’s advanced manufacturing technology and close collaboration model have both been instrumental in enabling GaN Systems market leadership.

REED Semiconductor has also benefited from TSMC’s superior technology to provide intelligent power stages and point-of-load solutions that target the highest level of robustness, efficiency, and density while also being eco-friendly. “Reed received tremendous support from TSMC to develop high reliability, high efficiency power devices,” said Wenkai Wu, CEO of Reed Semiconductor. “TSMC’s industry-leading technology and R&D efforts, together with power expertise from Reed Semiconductor, enables the leading-edge efficiency and reliability for our power solutions in data centers.

TSMC Offers the Industry’s Most Comprehensive Ecosystem

TSMC and our ecosystem partners provided very important support during the development of Flex Logix’s current Edge Inference Accelerator device (InferX™ X1), which continued into their next-generation project. “TSMC has the best IP of any foundry because of OIP and more suppliers,” said Geoff Tate, CEO of Flex Logix. “TSMC gave us helpful advice and guidance, especially in regard to our technology roadmap, node selection, IP availability, 3rd-party design services options, DFT, yield, and pricing, which are critical to the success of Flex-Logix's product development and launch into the market.

Valens Semiconductor enables long-reach, high-speed video and data transmission for the automotive and audio-video industries, and many of their devices need both soft IP and physical IP. “In order to launch our products to the market quickly and efficiently, we make use of the enormous IP ecosystem that TSMC offers, and that allows us to focus our engineering resources on developing our own core technology,” said Amir Boim, SVP Operations and PMO Operations at Valens Semiconductor. “In addition, when our customers, including the ones at the Tier 1 and automotive OEM level, want to review our internal processes, our collaboration with TSMC is like a seal of approval, giving them the confidence they need in our automotive quality.

Picocom develops SoCs for telecommunications infrastructure that is often deployed in inaccessible locations and expected to function reliably for at least a decade. Because of this, Picocom’s customers and engineers have very high standards for quality and reliability. The company is working closely with TSMC and imec.IC-link, a leading ecosystem partner of TSMC’s Value Chain Alliance (VCA) program. “As a young company, collaborating with TSMC and its ecosystem partner inspires quality and confidence. We chose the TSMC 12nm FFC process for our first SoCs as third-party hard IP was readily available, and we met our power budget. TSMC has exceeded expectations on timescales for our critical engineering lots,” said Peter Claydon, president of Picocom.

TSMC Helps in Selecting Technology and Building a Roadmap for the Future

The support that TSMC provides helps fast growing customers gain perspective on planning their production schedule and technology roadmap to achieve a timely product launch and significant business outcomes. Astera Labs noted the strategic technology and business advice that TSMC provided has advanced their overall mission and growth as the company scales its operations to support growing demand from its customers. “TSMC’s technology consultants have helped Astera Labs immensely to choose the right technology to support existing products and develop future product families, and deliver strong business growth,” said Sanjay Gajendra, chief business officer at Astera Labs.

SigmaSense said that as a startup company, it was crucial to select the right technology nodes to support their product roadmap. Their product requirements focused on Mixed Signal process nodes, and they received crucial guidance from TSMC to select nodes that fit their power and performance requirements, as well as a path to leverage analog design development from one node to another with manageable risk. “TSMC’s strategic vision to support new technology for smaller sized companies with both technical and operational guidance through their extensive portfolio of process node platforms and manufacturing capacity helped SigmaSense achieve product launch success,” said Rick Seger, SigmaSense CEO. “As a great foundry partner for innovative new companies, TSMC is a premier enabler of new technology.

Thanks for catching up on highlights from the TSMC 2022 Technology Symposium Innovation Zone. We look forward to sharing more achievements of our startup customers at the future Innovation Zone.