CEO Talk: Tim Tiek of Bruco Integrated Circuits

September 25, 2020, anysilicon

This interview was held with Tim Tiek, CEO of Bruco Integrated Circuits.



Tell me a bit about your background? How did you first get started with Bruco Integrated Circuits?


I have loved electronics ever since I was a young kid, building my own amplifiers at the age of 12 already. I studied EE in Twente and then started at Ericsson. Since then I have worked in startups as well as multinationals like Texas Instruments and Sensata Technologies, in many different commercial and technical leadership roles. The markets I’ve worked in are automotive, energy storage and semiconductor. I cherish my good memories of working with top international teams and the great successes we had together. I know Bruco IC since 2010 when I was responsible for the automotive sensor ASICs in TI/Sensata. When Bruco IC was looking for a new leader in 2017 I was excited to get on board and take the challenge to bring the company to the next level. I’m really proud of our strong team, our great Customer base and how we’re moving forward as a company. Next to Bruco IC I’m also part of HighTechNL, representing 200+ high tech companies in the Dutch ecosystem.


Tell me about Bruco Integrated Circuits?


Bruco IC is an independent design house for Integrated Circuits. We excel in RF and analog ASICs and can deliver complete turn-key chip solutions for our Customers, including supply chain and application support. We have been around for over 30 years and did many hundreds of designs and tape-outs. This includes chips for automotive drivers, WiFi, cellular (incl 5G), Integrated Photonics interfaces, Phased Array solutions etc… BrucoIC has excellent engineers with a broad range of IC design experience, who love the variety of our projects. I am happy that despite the uncertainties in the world today, we’re standing strong. The morale is very good and we can keep satisfying and providing continuity to our Customers.


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


We have many challenges both as a company and as an industry.


As a company, being around for 30+ years is both a good thing as well as a challenge. It feels comfortable to stick to old habits sometimes, but the high tech landscape changes rapidly. The traditional design services model by itself is under pressure. The days when you received a specification and spent 2 years designing an IC without many dynamics or changes along the way are long gone. In order to best serve our Customers we need to be super flexible, responsible and fast. We add value on application or even business level by helping our Customers succeed, not just as a single company but also with our many other partners in the Ecosystem for testing, packaging, FA etc. In Customer partnerships we often focus on what is beyond designing an IC and what they are trying to achieve with it. I think we’re doing a great job being on top of things, adding unique expertise knowledge value in analog & RF IC design, and becoming ever more responsive towards our Customers.


As an ecosystem we have many challenges as well. As the Semiconductor industry is maturing the innovation areas are moving. Recently new challenges were added with the trade war and the extreme covid-19 measures from governments. Another hot topic is how China is investing in Semiconductor and what it means for the European landscape. As always this results in both challenges and opportunities, and in HighTechNL we’re addressing these with all our companies as well as politicians. We have a unique ecosystem in the Netherlands with very closely connected companies and I’m quite confident this will flourish if we manage to focus together and build on our USPs. One of those is RF IC design so Bruco IC is in the sweet spot there.


How was the role/offering of Bruco Integrated Circuits changed during the recent years?


In addition to what has been mentioned above, we’re moving more towards turn-key ASIC designs. We also manage the supply chain, testing, packaging, yield analysis etc for our Customers. This helps us to create a healthy mix of services and products.


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


We have a mix of Customers from startups to multinationals. That’s what keeps things very interesting. Customer behavior has changed a lot over the last 15 years. The Customer base and competition have become global. Customers expect fast responses and full ownership, they are often more financially driven, and their applications change more frequently along the way. This is good. It helps everybody to stay sharp and drive continuous improvement.


I also see big differences between SME and multinationals. Many multinationals have become purely financially driven organizations with focus on shareholder value and not as much long term vision as in the past. This is completely understandable but is not always good for innovation and long term success. With small to medium size companies it’s easier and more fun to really partner and do pure innovative engineering together, we enjoy and cherish those relationships.


Where can one find more information?


Hiring slowed down recently, but real top talent is always invited for a casual talk and company tour. If you’re a good RF IC engineer or architect, please get in touch! We’re also looking for EDA consultants in our daughter company Dizain Sync.


How do you spend your time outside working hours?


I have many good moments in my day! Over 90% of my worktime gives me energy. I like to think you’re in the driver’s seat yourself all the time, and you shape your life yourself. Work is an important element of life and it’d better be fun most of the time. If not, if you get home super tired every day for a long period, try something else.


Outside working hours I like hiking, nature, cars, photography, playing with my kids or dog, and travelling.

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