Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a series of Q&As profiling presenting companies at Venture 2003.Talk about “pain points.” A Durham company is addressing several in the integrated circuit industry where improved software is needed to improve design and production.

“ViASIC addresses a market where the technical need is so great, that even during these tough economic times, there’s 69% growth (Dataquest) in our market segment,” Max Lloyd, president and chief executive officer of ViASIC, tells Local Tech Wire. “This opportunity will continue to be available as the software to design integrated circuits (ICs) increasingly falls short of the ability to manufacture them.”

The firm, which was launched by Bill Cox and Laura Zavelson in 1999 in a garage, already has products and is generating revenue. Lloyd says the firm has its eyes on much loftier goals — such as being a market leader in the multi-billion dollar market for integrated circuit design software.

(ASIC refers to application-specific integrated circuits.)

ViASIC landed Series A funding last summer from an undisclosed investor and hired Lloyd, a mathematics and computer science major at UNC Chapel Hill, to be its CEO. Zavelson moved aside to become chief financial officer. Lloyd previously was vice president of business development at ASIC International in Oak Ridge, TN, which was acquired by Flextronics in 2001.

Turner has been involved in development of tools related to integrated circuits for more than 15 years, has helped developed programmable logic architectures, and also holds 11 patents.

Zavelson led the initial fund raising from “friends and family” through its Series A round. She previously served as senior manager for business development at Guidant Corporation.

The company recently added Kiyosi Isihara, who worked previously at Coventor, to head applications engineering.

ViASIC is one of 23 companies preparing for presentations at Venture 2003, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development’s 20th annual venture capital event.

As it did a year ago, Local Tech Wire is featuring in-depth profiles of presenting firms built around a Q&A with a company executive as well as a Fact Box of important information. One profile will appear each day.

LTW put together a Q&A designed to not only produce facts about the presenters but also to give each a chance to state the case for venture capitalists to invest.

Eighth in the series is from Lloyd..

Venture 2003 is set for April 22-23 in Chapel Hill.

Times are tough. If you had only one chance and one paragraph to convince an investor, how would you answer this question: “Why should an investor choose your company?”

ViASIC addresses a market where the technical need is so great, that even during these tough economic times, there’s 69% growth (Dataquest) in our market segment. This opportunity will continue to be available as the software to design integrated circuits (ICs) increasingly falls short of the ability to manufacture them.

What is the “pain point” (or points) you address for your customers?

The methods used for building integrated circuits (ICs) just a few years ago, no longer work because of the exponential growth in the number of transistors being place on each IC (Moore’s Law) and the design requirements for manufacturing at wire widths of less than 130 nanometers. Costs to bring a new IC to market in this environment are rising. ViASIC’s products uniquely address this change by offering design tools that can handle these large designs and manufacturing requirements while reducing customer cost
and risk.

What makes your company unique? Do you have a proprietary and/or a patented technology?

ViASIC’s intellectual property includes a number of patents and

What makes your product(s) and/or services unique vs. your competition? (Who is your competition, and what do they offer?) If you have no competition, why not?

Depending on the product, ViASIC’s competition includes Cadence, Synopsys, Mentor, Magma, EASIC and Lightspeed. We compare favorably in head-to-head software benchmarks, performance vs. cost, and ability to get our customer’s products to market on time.

Does your company already generate revenue? If so, how much? Are you cash flow positive?

ViASIC had revenues of $615,000 in 2002 and was profitable. A number of products are scheduled for release in 2003 and ViASIC should return to profitability in 2004.

What is your target market? What is the size of that market in terms of dollars? What share of that market do you believe you can win?

ViASIC’s products address segments of the $1.3 billion market for IC Physical Design which is the fastest growing subset of the $8 billion + market for EDA. In each segment where ViASIC offers a software solution, we seek to have the number 1 or 2 market share position.

What will you do with the invested funds? What is the timeline for product delivery? If you have existing products and services, how will additional funding help you expand your company, if that is the intention, or will you develop new products?

The main purpose for seeking investment is to capture more market share faster. Specifically, funds will be used to do marketing on our current products, expand our existing development staff to speed up new product development, add sales staff and a field applications engineering team.

Why will investors be impressed with your management team?

We’ve done this before. Our management team has had great success in the past, three times taking large market share from the previous number one market share holder in the industry.

What is the exit strategy for the investor from your company? Are there potential strategic alliances with larger companies? Do you wish to take the company public? Or do you wish to grow the company and either sell it or acquire other companies?

ViASIC’s management is focused on the destination it can control, IPO, while looking for other opportunities that may arise.

Just the facts on ViASIC: www.localtechwire.com/article.cfm?u=3861