Top Executive: Patrick Little, CEO
As Arm’s future stewardship has become increasingly uncertain, SiFive has risen as an alternative chip designer for companies that want to make their own processors. The main differentiator for SiFive: its use of the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture. The San Mateo, Calif.-based startup said late last year that its approach has already netted more than 300 design wins from over 100 customers, which includes eight of the top 10 semiconductor companies. It has also reportedly received takeover interest from multiple parties, including Intel. The talks between the two chip companies didn’t last for long, but Intel’s interest in the startup remains: The semiconductor giant is not only an investor in SiFive, but it also plans to offer manufacturing services for those making chips with SiFive’s designs. With its goal to enable more powerful and efficient chips than Arm, SiFive plans to double its headcount this year to 1,400 employees as it introduces more capable chip designs for a variety of markets.