$13M UK venture cash boosts Palmchip

Mega gate SOCs 'R' Us

San Jose-based IP outfit Palmchip has trousered first-round venture funding of $13 million from a syndicate led by Index IT, a division of Beeson Gregory in London specialising in funding emerging semiconductor and IP companies in the UK and US.

Palmchip's flagship product is its CoreFrame architecture which allows any piece of third-party IP to plug-and-play with other third-party IP, including Palmchip's own collection of proprietary designs.

Palmchip has created a range of general-purpose platforms featuring interfaces to embedded processors used by fabless chip companies and system manufacturers of set-top boxes, GSM and Bluetooth devices.

The market window in these areas is notoriously short -if it takes more than three months to develop a new GSM phone it will be out of date before it reaches the shops. Palmchip offers pre-tested and pre-verified building blocks aiming to reduce time to market.

Andrew Naylor, Technical Analyst with Beeson Gregory, says the company will use part of the funds to build a global sales presence and add ASIC expertise, adding that the whole VC deal was signed, sealed and delivered in less than two weeks.

Further rounds of funding were likely in the future, he added.

Palmchip will use more cash to develop its next generation mega gate (chips with more than a million transistors) SOC offerings. These platforms pre-build many of the basic, functions of an SOC device and include interfaces to and libraries of popular embedded processors, as well as other important system blocks.

As usual, board level changes come with the VC territory. Mike Hackworth, former president and currently chairman of Cirrus Logic is now Palmchip's chairman, while Joseph Rodgers, previously CFO of Quantum, also takes a seat on the board. Derek Bell, formerly vice president of engineering in charge of Synopsys' design services group, joins as executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Bell reports to Jauher Zaidi, Palmchip president and CEO, and will be responsible for the development and support of the company's hardware and software platforms and products. ®

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