iSTART-TEK (iSTART, TW: 6786), the only leading developer in memory testing and repairing technology in Asia, reported revenue of more than NT$ 3 million in January 2021, a 26.62%YoY decreased. The revenue decline was due to some customers’ delayed purchasing budgets.
In addition to the START™ v2 memory testing and repairing EDA tools used by many well-known local and international companies, iSTART provides customized Intellectual Property (IP) services for a variety of memory testing and repairing via strong research and development capabilities and in-time technical support.
According to industry trends, major foundries indicate that 5G, High Performance Computing (HPC), Internet of Things (IoT), and automobile chips is driving the growth in the semiconductor industry. iSTART has benefited from the market development. The high penetration rate of 5G infrastructure and terminal devices has led to a surge in the amount of used, generated, and stored data. As a result, there is increasing demand for high-bandwidth memories to support edge data processing.. Edge data not only comes from 5G handheld devices, but also from IoT devices. According to Micron Technology, Inc., the memory manufacturer, , the data generated and processed by edge computing will grow from the current 10% to 75% by 2025. As a result, memory testing and repairing is becoming increasingly crucial in response to the rise of edge computing..
HPC, which is the second largest source of output value for the top foundry (TSMC), needs to store complicated algorithm programing. Therefore, the area percentage of memory on chip has continuously increased to 88% by 2020. This means that the yield rate and life of memories are the key points of product competitiveness. Compared with HPC chips, automotive chips focus more on reliability and service lives, highlighting the importance of memory testing. iSTART EDA tool, START™ v2 provides POT (Power-on Test), with which clients will be able to obtain the ISO26262 certification. As the use of automotive electronics continues to grow, the total solutions offered by iSTART are becoming increasingly important.
With the unique and beneficial marketing positioning, iSTART has been able to establish business contacts with clients in different sectors of the semiconductor industry and faces limited competition within the business ecosystem. In the semiconductor supply chain, iSTART’s role is much closer to IP suppliers. In addition to its well-known clients, like fabless and design service companies, START also provides EDA tools to memory IP suppliers. Moreover, ATE (Automated Test Equipment) companies help their clients to analyze the SoCs’ error causes through iSTART’s customized error analysis solutions. Currently, iSTART collaborates with foundry industries to develop next-generation memories, and its memory IP business on the manufacturing side is expected to grow year by year.
In addition, iSTART addresses the needs of small-scale customers by collaborating with well-known cloud platform vendors. iSTART plans to make its simplified EZ-BIST available on the cloud and develop a unique payment method to expand its market coverage.”
In summary, the products of iSTART are unique and non-reproducible. The company has developed a variety of business models to serve clients across the semiconductor ecosystem. Initially, revenue from EDA tools accounted for the majority of total revenue, but as clients move to mass production, the percentage of IP business revenue is expected to increase. We can look forward to iSTART’s future development with optimism.”