Alphawave IP aims for 100 engineers in UK design center

Alphawave IP aims for 100 engineers in UK design center

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

Alphawave IP is looking open up in Cambridge as part of a process of relocating the company headquarters from Toronto, Canada, to London and staging an initial public offering of shares that could see the company valued at US$4.5 billion (see Alphawave IP plans London IPO, Cambridge design centre).

“When we hire we don’t hire in ones and twos,” said Tony Pialis the co-founder and CEO of the company, in an interview with eeNews Europe. “We hire a team. For us a team is 20 to 30 people. In the medium-term I would expect to have multiple teams operating out of Cambridge,” Pialis said.

Although Alphawave is looking to expand strongly in Cambridge it will continue with design groups it currently operates in Toronto, Mexico and India, the company’s executive chairman John Lofton Holt, said.

Since its foundation in 2017 Alphawave IP has been licensing DSP-based serdes blocks and has been aggressive in terms of manufacturing nodes allowing it to ride the nodes at 7nm, 6nm and 5nm. The result is rapidly ramping revenues form what the company calls a long list of tier-1 customers.

The company is expecting to branch out into adjacent IP opportunities from the DSP-based serdes that have been its core business to date. Nonetheless Pialis is enthusiastic about continuing in Cambridge what has been started in Toronto. “DSP for high-performance communications is something that has been done in Cambridge. There’s a deep pool of DSP talent located in Cambridge,” Pialis said.

Next: Use the DSP

It is the DSP approach and a wealth of experience that Pialis gives as reasons his company has out-performed other serdes licensors. “This has been a 25-year journey for some of us. We started out founding Snowbush in the 1990s.” Snowbush Microelectronics was founded in 1998 creating serial communications IP and was acquired by Gennum Corp. for $24 million in 2007. Gennum was in turn bought by Semtech for US$494 million in 2012. Pialis said he founded a few other businesses along the way as well as spending time with Intel managing a unit focussed on high-speed connectivity.

Holt said the company considered four options for the location of its IPO: the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, the Toronto Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange.

“The semiconductor IP focus in the UK meant we knew we would find investors who would value what we do. We are global company with customers in the North America, EMEA [Europe, Middle-east, Africa] and Asia-Pacific,” said Holt. “We think post-Brexit UK is a great place to locate a global company that seeks to address North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific,” he added.

Alphawave IP has revealed the existence of two “cornerstone” investment groups; Janus-Henderson Investors and BlackRock Inc. that have committed to pay more than US$510 million for shares at a price that would value the company at US$4.5 billion. Janus Henderson a UK based investment advisor and BlackRock is a US asset management company. “There is interest from Chinese investors but I expect that to be after-market,” said Holt.

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