NuSym De-Cloaks 5

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in EDA, skmurphy

It’s been 18 months since I last wrote about NuSym, a hardy perennial in EDA that’s a testament to the unique value of venture funding in building an EDA company (Athena Design is another). Perhaps only a venture backed EDA startup can launch without a product or a customer (note to bootstrappers: please don’t try this at home). Some excerpts from today’s press release “Nusym Debuts with Focus on Intelligent Verification” follow:

LOS GATOS, Calif., May 14, 2008 — Nusym Technology, Inc. formally introduced itself today as a verification solutions provider targeting one of the most critical problems in electronic design: developing confidence in the design in a fraction of the time and resources of current methods. Nusym is focused on an “Intelligent Verification” approach that leverages design insight to automatically drive rapid verification closure.

No discussion of the most significant breakthrough in verification in the last decade (although the careers page still promises “the most exciting EDA opportunity in a decade”).

The company has raised $8 million of capital to date. Nusym’s investment funding comes from premiere firms such as Woodside Funds, Draper Richards, L.P., as well as prominent EDA veterans, including Lucio Lanza and John Sanguinetti.

That’s up from $6 million when Richard Goering interviewed Venk Shukla, Nusym’s CEO, in December 2006 on his pre-SCDSource EET blog.

Nusym’s technology is currently being evaluated on a number of leading edge designs at its semiconductor partners. Nusym will announce its flagship product at a later date.

Why did they launch? Can you have a launch if you can’t give your product a name–although DeNibulator has a nice ring to it–and can’t get a customer to stand up?

“We find Nusym to have a very promising verification technology. It can run on very large design blocks and target hard to hit coverage points”, said Dan Smith, Director of CAD for NVIDIA.

I had thought they were aiming for chip level verification. The phrase “very promising” doesn’t give much indication of when NVIDIA might become a customer. One the other hand it reads like something an engineering director would say, a lot of startups are tempted to stuff their positioning (“rapid verification closure” in the case of NuSym) into a customer’s mouth.
Net net, they’ve raised another $2M and are going to DAC, but it’s looking less and less like there is a pony in there.

Details as they reveal the translucent, like the excited ragged breath of school children clustered at the window for the first snow of winter exposes the hand prints left on the glass from the start of school.

Postscript July 30: Why the Athena Design link no longer works. In an article in today’s EE Times Athena Design Systems: websites down, numbers disconnected by Peter Clarke notes

EDA company Athena Design Systems Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.), appears to have shut up shop.

Two websites used by the company, and , are now “under construction.” Telephone numbers are “disconnected or no longer in service.”

Athena was founded in 2003 by IC extraction expert Dimitris Fotakis. The company announced it had raised $4 million in venture capital funding in January 2007, bringing the total to $8.2 million. That round added PhillipsCapital and NTT Finance Corporation, to the company’s initial investors, who included Woodside Fund, Asset Management Company, and Draper Richards. The money was earmarked for the worldwide rollout of Athena’s first products.

Athena was included in the EE Times Silicon 60 version 6.1 list of companies to watch but dropped off version 7.0 of the list, published in February 2008.

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