413 Views

CEO Talk: Ravi Balasubramanian of BLR LABS

This interview was held with Ravishankar Balasubramanian, CEO of BLR LABS Pvt Ltd.

 

 

Q : Tell me a bit about your background? How did you first get started with BLR LABS?

 

Thank you for asking me that question. Personally speaking, I come from a challenging background both Physically and Socially. I did my post-graduation in electronic design from Indian Institute of Science and the credit goes to my Parents. My wife works in a bank and my son is in middle school. My Love for Chip design has brought me here.

 

I started my career with IBM as a Chip Designer in 2001. Since then, I have worked with the best of Semiconductor companies in the backend side of chip design and having executed 57 Tapeouts. Amongst these, atleast 25 or more have been layout architected by me. I have worked on designs with very high speed, complex clock architecture, power sensitive applications for Military/Automotive/Connectivity/Medical and Consumer industries.

 

During this process, I realized that IC design need not be expensive and resource consuming to be a bottleneck as it is made out to be. We could help Startups and New age technology companies to focus on their core business and bring down their cost of realizing the chip in a fast paced with high quality execution, so that it could benefit not just the rich, but holds significant promise for developing economies. This desire is what transpired into BLRLABS vision i.e. to “provide cutting edge chip execution technology to aspiring startups.

 

 

Q : Tell me about BLR LABS?

 

As I said, BLRLABS vision is to enable startups and New Age technology companies by being their backbone in Chip delivery. If this vision were to be realised, we understood that we have to

 

  1. Cut down the cost of execution by orders of magnitude
  2. Churning the chip in a fastest possible TAT (Turn Around Time)
  3. Quality and precision outmarching the competition
  4. Enable the customer to achieve a minimum viable product to address their core application.

 

When did you start BLR LABS? What were you doing before that?

 

BLRLABS was started in 2016. Prior to that, I was the founder of two other companies, “Black Pepper Technologies”, “Actifolks Networks” while being a Contracted Director in Smartplay where I headed 2 SoCs managing 120 people.

 

 

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

 

Chip design was always seen as a High investment/Resource intensive business that was extremely complex for small startups to venture. However, the advent of IoT and AI is significantly altering our lifestyles. These applications need to make complex decisions at the source of information acquisition. All these means critical computation in sensing devices, thus creating a huge demand for semiconductor chips to be installed in almost everything we use. This is where we come in. We can provide “cutting edge chip execution with high quality and quick TAT at extremely low cost of execution”.

 

Q : How has the role/offering of BLR LABS changed during the recent years?

 

We started as a design services company supporting MNCs like Qualcomm. AMD, Intel etc. During COVID our vulnerability of being a small sized resource augmentation company  was exposed, as we were the easiest disposable supply chain elements while large companies focused on cash preservation.

 

This enabled us to reframe our strategy to build a process that would enable us to focus on Architecture, Technology, Automation which would be a good platform for fabless companies to use our expertise in building their chipsets.

 

Q : Which market segment seems promising to you? And why?

 

Connectivity and AI. Our experience in successfully executing complex designs in this space, flexibility to recalibrate for the fast changing requirement of the segment and our constant, transparent and open minded approach to tirelessly work with the customer in solving the problems of this market makes us an extremely competitive option that one cannot overlook.

 

Q : What is a typical customer for BLR LABS?

 

We are an attractive option for customers desires of making their own ASIC with no prior experience in chip implementation and their volumes are low to medium range making them unattractive for big players. Our experience and expertise in tailoring the solution to fit these customer’s various needs and pockets is our USP.

 

Q : 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?

 

These priorities remain and in addition, todays customer is looking at a partner who are flexible and ready to adapt to the changes in the SPEC by providing quick alternate solutions.

 

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

 

Be transparent, accurate in detailing the problem and proactively communicate the same in a timely manner so that we could work with them to find probable solutions.

 

Q : Are you currently hiring? What type of jobs?

 

Yes.  Candidates with skills in Physical Design, Automation, Architecture, DFT, AMS are a good fit.

 

Q : What is your #1 advice for people who want to work for your company?

 

Develop passion to work hard with integrity and attitude to smile in the face of adversity. Money and fame will follow you.

 

Q : Where can one find more information?

 

Our website (www.blrlabs.com), Linkedin page.

 

Q : What is the best moment in your day?

 

When we sit together as a family and play.

 

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

 

Read inspirational stories while pondering over solutions to overcome the challenges of the day.

 

Q : What is your preferred lunch discussion topic?

 

Politics and developmental economics apart from movies and cricket.

 

Q : How do you spend your time outside working hours?

 

Chatting with family and friends, watch sport and think policies, politics.

Recent Stories