iSTART-TEK (iSTART, TW: 6786), the only leading developer in memory testing and repairing technology in Asia, reported that revenue of more than NT$ 3 million in January 2021, though YoY decreased 26.62%. The revenue decline was due to some customers’ delay in purchasing budgets. iSTART provides Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools and customized Intellectual Property (IP) to speed up clients’ products Time to Market.
In addition to the START™ v2 memory testing and repairing EDA tools used by many local and world-widely well-known companies, iSTART also provides customized Intellectual Property (IP) services support a variety of memory testing and repairing via strong research and development capability and in-time technical support.
From the perspective of industry trends, famous foundries indicate that 5G, High Performance Computing (HPC), Internet of Things (IoT), and automobile chips drive the growth of semiconductor value. iSTART benefits from the marketing development. 5G infrastructure and terminal devices increase in the high penetration rate, driving the surge in the amount of used, generated, and stored data. Therefore, edge data drives the demand for high-bandwidth memory to increase simultaneously. Edge data not only comes from 5G handheld devices, but also from IoT devices. According to the estimation of the memory manufacturer, Micron Technology, Inc., the data generated and processed by edge computing will grow from the 10% currently to 75% by 2025. Because of the rise of edge computing, memory becomes more and more crucial, leading the increased need in memory testing and repairing.
HPC, the second largest output value for Top1 foundry (TSMC), needs to store complicated algorithm programing. Therefore, the area percentage of memory on chip continuously increases to 88% by 2020. This means that yield rate and life of memory are the key points of product competitiveness. Compared with HPC chips, automotive chips focus more on reliability and service life, highlighting the importance of memory testing. iSTART EDA tool, START™ v2 provides POT (Power-on Test). Clients has adopted iSTART solutions to pass ISO26262 certification. As the degree of automotive electronics increases, total solutions of iSTART become an important role.
With the unique and beneficial marketing positioning, iSTART can have business contacts with clients in different layers of semiconductor industry though has less competitors in the business ecosystem. In the semiconductor supply chain, iSTART’s role is much closer to IP suppliers. In addition to the generally-known clients, like Fabless and Design Service companies, START also complements to memory IP suppliers with EDA tools. Moreover, ATE (Automated Test Equipment) companies help their clients to analyze the SoC cause errors via iSTART’s customized error analysis solutions. Currently, iSTART collaborates with foundry industries for next-generation memory. iSTART memory IP business on the manufacturing side will grow year by year.
In addition, considering of small-scale customers’ needs, iSTART does business with the well-known cloud platform vendors and plans to put the simplified-versioned EZ-BIST on the cloud, developing the unique payment method and widening the market coverage.
In summary, the products of iSTART are unique and nonreproducible. iSTART has developed unique business models with various types of clients in the semiconductor ecosystem. At the initial stage, the percentage of revenue of EDA tools took up most percentage of total revenue. In the foreseeable future, as the client design in mass production, the percentage of IP business revenue will account for more percentage of total revenue. We can look forward to its future development.