How to find the right ASIC service providers for your project

September 16, 2013, anysilicon

How many ASIC service providers are typically included in a shortlist when launching a project?

We’d argue that too few.


There are over 2000 ASIC service providers worldwide that provide a range of services – ASIC design, verification, validation, packaging, testing, or supply chain solutions, which combine multiple services. With the large vendors it’s a no brainer. Finding the contact number of GLOBALFOUNDRIES, eSilicon or TSMC does not take much effort. But what about locating a smaller, specialized ASIC shop with unique expertise that match your needs?

For example, a company specializing in RFID ASIC design (check out DELTA Microelectronics). Or a vendor with core competencies in high-voltage ASIC design (check out ICsense). By finding the ASIC provider that has the exact expertise for your project, you can definitely reduce risk. The thing is, it’s not always that easy to find that vendor.

In other instances, enlarging the pool of vendors in your shortlist will increase competition and lower your costs. For projects with ‘conventional digital ASICs’, more vendor candidates in the shortlist may mean a more economical final price.

Another issue is that for fabless companies with relatively small projects it is sometimes a challenge to get the attention of the larger ASIC service providers, who’s focus is primarily on larger projects. The more attractive quotes, in some cases, can arrive from the lesser-known shops.

Looking at this business engagement from the other side of the coin –  for a small ASIC service provider, it is typically difficult to pull together the marketing resources needed to establish name recognition and online presence. Show me a single ASIC service provider that would not be glad to enhance the pool of qualified leads.

Our ASIC vendor directory is designed to resolve some of these issues and bridge vendors and buyers. Instead of spending time on Google searches, the directory enables quickly finding vendors that match specific needs, using pre-built categories, and free-search keywords. For vendors we offer the opportunity to expand their market reach and expose their key capabilities.

You are welcome to try our recently launched ASIC vendor directory. To learn how to join, see the get listed page.


  • http://FirstfigureoutyouSoW James Lee

    Having worked for 3 serivce providers My personal suggestions are Referrals and Check References. I had several customers follow me from one service provider to the next. Its all about the personal relationship. A local service provider may be well worth more than a distant lower cost quote. You should also look at how your project managment style works with the service service provider. Services come in (over simplified) 3 basic tiers:

    1) Body shops, these are just folks who try to connect people and provide individuals, this will work if you only need a few bodies and you will manage it yourself, you will like host them at your site and need to provide all the tools and computers. You will need to screen and interview each contractor yourself. There are hundreds of these types of firms.

    2) Service providers with teams that will agument your team of be your full team. They will be able to provide from one persone to a full team and likely even project managment. They may work a combination of on site or from their office/design center. When working with these you will get a team lead and teammembers. If for any reason a team member does not work out for you, they will have the ability to swap in another person. In the US good examples of firms like this are Intrinsix and Paradigm works.

    3) Turn key service providers, they want to take your whole project and possible a fixed price bid. Some firms will operate in both team augmentation and this mode.

    So in summary: First figure out you Statment of work and engagement model. Then look for local referrals.