EDA Confidential

Kathryn Kranen:
Celebrating Natural Selection in EDA

by Peggy Aycinena

April 6, 2009  

The DVCon 2009 panel, EDA: Dead or Alive, elicited lots of commentary from the EDA ecosystem, including Jasper Design CEO Kathryn Kranen.

Jasper just received an additional $7 million in VC funding, announced February 18th, so it’s not surprising that Kranen’s enthusiasm for the industry continues unabated. She says EDA is neither dead nor dying – with a caveat. Per Kranen, a process of natural selection is playing itself out in the industry.


Kathryn Kranen – Is EDA dead or alive? It depends on the company!

Here at Jasper, we’re seeing the process of natural selection play itself out in EDA. Though these times are brutal for some companies, natural selection is a healthy process that will help drive both current EDA technology and EDA business practices in the right direction. Survival is always a great motivator!

More than ever today, customers are holding their EDA vendors accountable for the ROI of the tools. Time-based license renewals are being heavily scrutinized and, as discretionary tool purchases have all but evaporated, it falls to the EDA suppliers to respond.

Additionally, customers today are expecting the EDA vendors to differentiate between the respective solutions. Vendors need to thoroughly articulate how their particular tool offerings enhance the specific flows and methodologies of each customer. Fortunately, those EDA suppliers who have achieved a critical mass with their technology, and thoroughly understand the needs of each customer, will weather the current economic downturn.

If those EDA suppliers execute a strategy correctly, they have the potential to emerge from this difficult period even stronger – particularly if the strategy includes fully utilizing the skillsets of a well-coordinated global design team. International operations and cultural diversity play an important role in growing a dynamic, successful EDA company. Management methods must be finely tuned in a global organization, but those organizations can and do work – particularly in EDA.

EDA vendors with a long view towards success must also coordinate close interactions with professors from top universities, and hire bright interns for both real-world projects and long-term R&D. This is hard work, but it's crucial for maintaining the viability of the company.

In contrast to all of this, a fledgling EDA company that only offers “promising technology” may not survive the current nuclear winter. The harsh reality is that customers do not have the financial wherewithal today to integrate “experimental” solutions. Customers need to deal with established vendors who will be here for the long haul.

Clearly, these are not times for the faint of heart in EDA. These days when flat is the new up, only those who continue to be enthusiastic, are attentive to customers’ needs, and are aggressive in pushing the technology forward, will prevail. Those are the players who will be here when things turn around.

Here at Jasper, we continue to be enthusiastic about the opportunities that lie ahead – not just for our own company, but for the entire EDA industry.


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Copyright (c) 2009, Peggy Aycinena. All rights reserved.