Investors, look into the Integrated Photonics sector now

A conversation between SMART Photonics CEO, Richard Visser and PhotonDelta Business Editor, Jonathan Marks explaining to investors why this is so relevant.

We have entered a new phase of integrated photonics development. Light has long since left the lamp and has entered a new rapid business creation phase. Foundry’s play a key role in making this happen faster.

Building the smartest business strategy with customers
“Like any high-tech high-growth business, we discussed the different business models we could use to grow the business” Richard Visser explains. “We quickly saw the huge benefits of what’s called the “pure-play foundry model”. We had access to the best tools to manufacture the integrated circuits. But, just as important, we had expertise in the entire production process from a bare wafer through to finished products. On top of that, we had access to a lot of market intelligence and a customer network who had a clear need for photonic solutions.”

“This approach meant we have had customers from our first day of operation in July 2012. And that’s because we’ve built our business on trusted partnerships.”

SMART Photonics only makes products using designs from our customers
“We have always been pure-play and independent. The fact that we don’t make our own products is a deliberate strategy.”

“We assumed, correctly, that small companies working at the forefront of technology would be reluctant to work with large foundries. They expressed concern that their intellectual property could be adapted slightly and then used to compete against them in the market. Likewise, large foundries were not keen to share their key technologies because external customers could become competitors. We could see a stalemate situation was actually slowing down the tipping point of Photonics, rather than building a trusted network which is the way it should be.”

“We also learned to master the complete process of a chip manufacturer, including building close relationships with Europe’s best photonics designers and understanding the challenges of the packaging steps after the chips are made. We’re also seeing the development of hybrid chip solutions, which is why we work closely with colleagues at LioniX International who have complementary skills and facilities.”

Open Foundry Model is the Best Way to Scale
“We have modelled SMART Photonics on the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). They started in 1987. Today they have grown to be the world’s largest independent pure-play semiconductor foundry with sales of NT$763 billion (approximately €21 billion) in 2014.”

Apple supports Open Foundry Model
According to recent reports in DigiTimes Asia, Apple has selected TSMC to exclusively build its A-10 chip. That’s the new proprietary chip designed by Apple and expected to power the iPhone 7. Many analysts are looking for its launch in September 2016.  Apple has changed its dual sourcing strategy that it employed for previous iPhone models, dropping Samsung and switching to TSMC as a single source for their A10 chip. TSMC’s 10-nanometer manufacturing technology is reportedly among the main reasons why Apple did the deal with TSMC.

“We think there are other strong advantages to the pure-play foundry approach.” continues Visser. “TSMC only make chips for others. We believe that Pure-Play is the only way to build trust with customers, especially when you’re working with highly complex designs and Intellectual Property worth billions.”

Investors, read the full conversation on the website.

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