Hidden Secrets of Successful Startups

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Hidden Secrets of Successful Startups
Thursday, March 7, 2024 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Gates B12
Paul Franklin
Abstract / Description: 

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Start-up companies offer entrepreneurs fulfillment for their innovative product concepts, not to mention professional recognition and the promise of monetary rewards. To an employee of a startup, the opportunity provides a condensed course in business, company organization and an accelerated learning experience. However, no matter how well conceived or financed, most perish. Not because they lack great ideas, or aren’t passionate or committed enough to their company, its customers and products.  No, the majority of companies succumb to the inexperience of the founding team, market timing, financial issues or the inability to build winning teams. 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 technology startups towards success. All the companies built sizeable businesses and were rewarded by going public (IPO), after which they were targeted as acquisitions.


Paul Franklin, former Vice President of Operations at Atheros Communications from 2003-2009 (acquired by Qualcomm in 2011) has over 50 years in the semiconductor business. He has participated as an executive in five consecutive startup companies all enjoying successful IPOs. As a member of the Bay Area Band of Angels, he has invested in 12 startup companies. Since leaving Qualcomm in 2012 he has consulted with 14 companies including the first Bitcoin startup.

From 2001 to 2003 he served as an independent consultant in the semiconductor industry focusing on operations, business planning, and financing. During this period he was the CEO of Inphi Corporation (Acquired by Marvell in 2021). He was President of the Multimedia Products Division of SonicBlue, formerly S3 Corporation from 1999 through 2000, and implemented the acquisition of Diamond Multimedia. Earlier at S3, a fabless graphics semiconductor company, he served as Senior Vice President of Operations from 1992. Prior to that he was Vice President of Operations and part of the startup team founding Actel (acquired by  Microsemi in 2010), 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 in 1987). Earlier companies included Motorola’s IC Division  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 has served on a number of BODs and advisory board positions. Paul continues as an advisor to start-ups and venture capital firms.