CEO Talk: Dr. Phil Troyk, Sigenics

January 28, 2019, anysilicon

This interview was held with Dr. Philip Troyk, CEO at Sigenics.




Tell me a bit about your background? How did you first get started with Sigenics?



I was, and am, a university professor and I saw a need for a custom semiconductor company that could serve the research and commercial electronics industry for application-specific-integrated-circuits (ASICs) which did not have the normal high-volume sales.



Tell me about Sigenics?


Sigenics designs and produces custom integrated circuits for customer specific applications.  What is unique about Sigenics is that we can not only produce the ASIC designs, but we can deliver tested production ASICs.  We serve the aerospace, medical, and commercial electronics sector.  Many of our ASICs are used in commercial aircraft that we all use for travel, everyday.



When did you start Sigenics? What were you doing before that?


Sigenics was started in 2000.  Prior to formally creating Sigenics, I was engaged in university research for several government agencies.  My two business partners and myself had worked together on a several custom ASIC designs for the military and emerging-product commercial sector.  The timing seemed ideal to expand our exposure to industry ASIC needs, by formalizing our combined talents in a company.  We sought to create an organization with high-level design capabilities, combined with the capacity to meet customer production needs.  In some ways, our motivations in forming Sigenics were like those of the early pioneers who formed semiconductor companies.


What problem did you see that needed to be fixed? What is your approach to solving that?



Many companies and funding agencies need access to high-level ASIC designers and a pathway to being able to procure production ASICs. We combined these two needs in structuring Sigenics to be a turn-key ASIC provider.



How was the role/offering of Sigenics changed during the recent years?



Customers are often unsure about ASIC design methods, and even what portions of their systems can be placed on an ASIC.  We have developed an extensive team-based interaction process with the customer to guide their decision process and produce the optimal ASIC.  We have shifted to placing significant emphasis, up-front, in working with the customer to identify and quantify their needs.  This shortens the design cycle and makes physical ASICs available to the customer at an earlier stage in product development.


Which market segment seems promising to you? And why?


Innovative new product ideas from established companies, startups, and research projects, that can benefit from custom ASICs in ways which cannot be served by off-the-shelf components.  We sometimes say: “If it’s easy, you don’t need us.”



What is a typical customer for Sigenics?


Our customers typically know they have a need for improving performance and miniaturizing their electronics.  However, they are unsure, and apprehensive, about cost and timelines for ASIC design.  We guide the customer to a solution that is optimal for their application.


Customers are focused on time-to-market, first-time-right, price, etc. Do you see a change in customer behaviour in recent years? Where is the focus today and why?


Often projects are typically planned over a period of months with the customer’s engineering and project planning staff.  However, there seems to be a trend towards delay of starting those projects by the customer’s management.


What are the 3 top things you wish your customers would do better (or different)?

Typically the customer has appropriately determined that a custom ASIC is an ideal solution. My advice to our potential customers is: 1. Realize that apprehension about proceeding with a modern ASIC solution may result in retaining a larger, and less optimal, discrete component solution.  2. Consider that the sooner a pathway to using ASICs is defined, the faster the customer can move ahead of the competition.  3. Realize that waiting for the “better future moment” for using ASICs most often creates delays that places the customer at a market disadvantage, and makes the future entry into using ASICs more expensive.


What is the best moment in your day?


Sigenics’ best moments are when we all see the engineering solution we have devised actually function on the bench.  It is a moment of extreme satisfaction about using our technological knowledge to conquer a problem.


How do you keep yourself energized and engaged during the day?


The Sigenics’ engineers and staff do that for me.  We never suffer from a workday that drags on.  Most often we are surprised when it is time to leave for the day.


What is your preferred lunch discussion topic?


Often our work problems spill over into lunch, but we try to shift towards learning about each other, our families, and our lives.  Sigenics has a very low employee turn-over rate because we all work to create an environment that we all love.


How do you spend your time outside working hours?


It might sound dull, but often phone calls and thinking about the current challenging technical problems are never too far away from my thoughts.  When you love the work you do, it is not work; it is a passion for achievement.  Being with family, watching old movies and discussing the current state of world affairs helps to create the needed distractions.


Where can one find more information?


To learn more about our company you can visit us at www.sigenics.com or on Sigenics’s profile page on AnySilicon.

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