CEO Talk: Pascal Barioulet of Elsys America

This interview was held with Pascal Barioulet, Managing Director, Elsys America.



How did you first get started with your company?


I joined Elsys Design, an electronic systems design and software house, at its creation in 2000 to build and develop our business in the South of France while managing key international semiconductor and OEM accounts in various fields of applications. 


Over the years, Elsys enjoyed an amazing growth from a high-tech startup based in France to an international group of more than 1000 engineers! I had the chance to participate in our international expansion with support from our design centers in Serbia (Elsys Eastern Europe). Continuing to build on our expansion took me from France into the USA and Silicon Valley in 2015 to lead and develop our semiconductor business here.


Could you tell me a bit about your background?


I’ve graduated from an engineering school in France, University of Sciences of Montpellier, with a master in microelectronics and automation in 1996. I started my career as a digital ASIC design contractor and worked for Atmel, Philips and VLSI. I had the chance to work on challenging high-tech projects like the first ARM 7TDMI processor implementation, an advanced technology at the time.


Since the beginning, not only was I passionate about semiconductors but I also enjoyed interacting directly with clients. After few years in that first company, I was fortunate to be promoted to a sales manager position.


Tell me a bit more about Elsys America?


We are an integrated circuit (IC) design and software company that works with both mid-size firms and large international corporations in North America to provide trusted design services and cost-optimized outsourcing solutions in Eastern Europe.


We leverage Elsys companies’ technical expertise and track record in medium to high complexity digital and mixed-signal chip SoC and ASIC designs for automotive, industrial, IoT and data center applications. Typically, our clients come to us when they’re lacking expertise, or they are struggling to scale or deliver critical projects on time – and on budget.


What makes Elsys America different from its competition is that we provide an excellent alternative for US-based companies by outsourcing projects to a reliable and cost-effective design partner close to their sites in Europe. And what’s more, the time zone is optimal for communication with both America and Asia on the same day!


What problems have you encountered and what was your approach in solving them?


It’s clear there’s a shortage of highly skilled candidates for open tech roles. The path for semiconductor companies to bridge the resource gap is to use external capacity from a design house matching their short-term needs. At Elsys, we discuss with our clients about their goals and transform these short-term collaborations into long standing partnerships.


These days more and more OEM companies are considering developing their own custom integrated circuits to differentiate products instead of picking off-the-shelf components. This approach makes them more affordable, especially when targeting matured semiconductor technologies. They are in need of a complete semiconductor ecosystem of expert companies to guide them all along their chip design journey.


To meet these demands, we have built strategic partnerships with key tools, technology and IP providers like Arm to help turn their ideas into silicon chips in the fastest and most efficient way possible! 


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


We had to adapt to the US market specifics but other than that our role hasn’t changed. Elsys America was a logical step forward in our international expansion. This region has huge potential for exactly what Elsys has to offer.


In your opinion, which market segment shows the most promise?


For the semiconductor industry, I would say Automotive with ADAS and self-driving cars. Also, IoT with edge computing and data center applications show a lot of promise, when you consider upcoming deployment of 5G and ever-increasing needs for intelligent and performant electronic components.


What is a typical customer for Elsys America?


Needless to say, our customers are mainly chip makers and fabless companies who have ASIC/SoC design capabilities who are facing a shortage of resources. They are willing to accelerate critical product development or simply looking for reduced cost. However, we are also providing expert support to companies with no or little SoC design activities.  


For example, an OEM, an energy management and automation global leader, wanted to develop a custom SoC to replace few ASICs embedded into programmable logic controllers (PLCs) but they had no SoC expertise. Elsys teams took their requirements and developed the design for them


Did you notice a change in customer behavior in recent years? Where is their focus today?


The last few years, we have seen an increasing complexity of customer designs and the need for mixed hardware and software quality support. This is now a must-have requirement for most customers when looking for an external partner.


Elsys understood this years ago and invested in building strong software capabilities and encouraging dual skill-set development (both HW and SW) to address the growing miniaturization and integration of complex electronics


What is the best moment in your day?


These little moments every day when I feel like I am part of a solution to a bigger problem and that my decisions matter and impact on a larger scale. Assisting my clients, team members or even friends brings me joy


How do you spend the time outside working hours?

I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with my family and friends. I play tennis and work out at the gym. I also like traveling, barbecuing and discovering new food and wines (for this one, maybe because I am a French guy ?).

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