Start-up companies offer entrepreneurs fulfillment for their innovative product concepts, not to mention recognition and the promise of monetary rewards. However, no matter how well conceived or financed, most perish. Not because they lack great ideas, or aren’t passionate enough or committed to their company and its products. Many of these companies succumb to the inexperience of the founding team and the people they subsequently bring aboard. Business schools have certainly helped distill the lessons of many successes and failures into a formulistic guideline for those intent on venturing forward. One wise sage offered, “A short cut to success is to emulate those who have succeeded”. Today we will sample some insights and factors that propelled five consecutive Semiconductor startups towards success. All the companies built sizeable businesses and were rewarded by going public in the market place with an IPO.
Paul Franklin, former Vice President of Operations at Atheros from 2003-2009 (acquired by Qualcomm in 2011) has over 50 years in the semiconductor business. From 2001 to 2003 he served as an independent consultant in the semiconductor industry focusing on operations, business planning, financing and as a CEO at Inphi Corporation. He was President of the Multimedia Products Division of SonicBlue, formerly S3 Corporation from 1999 through 2000, after the acquisition of Diamond Multimedia. Earlier at S3, a fabless graphics semiconductor company, he had served as Senior Vice President of Operations from 1992. Prior to that he was Vice President of Operations and helped start up Actel, an FPGA supplier and one of the earliest Fabless companies in 1985. He spent another 20 years in management, engineering roles in manufacturing, product engineering, strategic marketing, business development and R&QA functions at Monolithic Memories Inc. (acquired by AMD), Motorola and Dickson Electronics (acquired by Siemens). Mr. Franklin majored in chemistry at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute (now Polytechnic Institute of New York) and Arizona State University. He was an early member of the Bay Area Band of Angels and has served on a number of BODs and advisory board positions. He continues as an advisor to start-ups and venture capital firms.