SSIA Announces Effort To Boost Semiconductor Startups

By pumping necessary resources into the semiconductor ecosystem, SSIA hopes to boost startup numbers and facilitate overall industry growth. The initiative is in response to the declining number of venture capitalists seeking investments in semiconductor startups and a Gartner study suggesting "very few" semiconductor startups have formed over the past three years.

In addition to Gartner, market research analysts IHS iSuppli recently reported slowed growth within the worldwide semiconductor market. Yearly semiconductor revenue growth, the analysts predicted, will be as low as 1.2 percent in 2011. Last year’s growth, in comparison, was 32.4 percent.

What’s more, as natural disasters and macro-economic instability continue to deal industry blows, IHS doesn’t anticipate semiconductor growth rates to normalize until at least 2013.

SSIA believes Singapore presents an ideal ecosystem for semiconductor startups to thrive and revitalize the market. The city-state's many foundries and research institutes, coupled with its hosting of some of the world’s largest semiconductor companies, including Broadcom, Marvell, and MediaTek, would provide a platform for growth, the association said.

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"Singapore, with its worldwide fabless semiconductor company revenue of $80 billion and an established semiconductor MNC capability, is the perfect place to facilitate the development of cutting-edge technology," said Ulf Schneider, SSIA president, in a statement. "Singapore has a strong semiconductor ecosystem that can be leveraged to enable a competitive advantage for startups."

SSIA’s plan to breathe life back into the semiconductor market is threefold. First, SSIA will serve as an industry "advisor" to guide and nurture fabless semiconductor startups.

SSIA will also create an emerging company board intended to facilitate collaboration between startups and established Singapore semiconductor companies. SSIA's third goal is to coordinate with Singapore government agencies, including the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), to ensure infrastructure support for emerging semiconductor companies is in place.

SSIA members, including IC design companies, manufacturers, fabless companies, equipment suppliers, photovoltaic companies, EDA and material suppliers, and IP companies, look forward to seeing the ripple effect this startup initiative could spark industry-wide.

"There is a real opportunity here to help the semiconductor industry grow stronger, and become more vibrant and supportive of growth and innovation," said Schneider.