SiMa.ai recently sat down with new Chairman of the Board Moshe Gavrielov for an in-depth interview where he shared his views on the state of the embedded edge market and how SiMa.ai can transform it with its pioneering MLSoC™ technology and unique software-first approach. Here are his thoughts on the competition, what most excites him about the company, and why he joined SiMa.ai on the journey to scale machine learning at the embedded edge.
What is your view of the current state of the embedded edge market and how do you see machine learning impacting the market?
I think the embedded edge market is under served with leading-edge technology at this point. To a large extent, it’s because it’s a very fragmented market with a lot of different sub-markets. Some of these are actually serviced well because they tend to be extremely fast-moving consumer markets. There are a lot of other great markets, though, that tend to move at a slower rate and as a result, don’t get attention from the semiconductor companies who are driven by fast revenue. I believe that SiMa.ai has a tremendous value proposition for these markets, in particular because of its software- first approach, ease of use, and purpose-built machine learning technology. These value propositions will enable these markets to benefit from new and emerging technology that is revolutionizing the industry.
How do you see SiMa.ai’s technology transforming the embedded edge and helping customers?
I think SiMa.ai’s approach is quite unique. Typically, when you look at semiconductor companies, they’re all about the silicon and adding more and more features. Of course, the silicon and the features are really important but it’s actually the power and ease of use that is more important to most customers. SiMa.ai’s software-first approach which focuses on ease-of-use will enable more customers to adopt the technology quickly. In my ten years in the FPGA world and ten years in EDA prior to that, I learned that ease of use is really essential and is a make-or-break for new technology. Not only does the technology need to be better, but you want a broad set of customers to be able to use it. You don’t want it to be limited to black belt specialists. You want a customer base as broad as possible and SiMa.ai’s approach is centered on enabling that broad usage and getting to the power of the silicon technology through the software entry point.
What excites you about SiMa.ai as a company?
The excitement in the company is palatable and there is something electric in the atmosphere. The engineers relate to the challenges of bringing something new and different to the market and are excited to help customers realize their full potential. I can’t wait to see the impact of broader deployment of SiMa.ai’s technology. This is non-trivial. It’s really difficult to get customers to adopt new technology from a new company, in particular a startup. I think this is a turning point in the semiconductor industry and it’s exciting to be part of it.
How do you see SiMa.ai leading the charge to scale machine learning at the edge?
The challenge will be to figure out how to broadly deploy the technology and to demonstrate the added value to a large set of customers at the earliest possible point. It’s a tough balance but I do believe SiMa.ai’s software-first approach provides the company with a unique ability to demonstrate its capabilities and excite customers even before silicon is readily available and can be broadly used. Having said that, you really want to reinforce it with the silicon because that’s when you see the true performance power and the variety of low power applications that can be enabled by it.
Where do you see SiMa.ai in five years?
I think there is a big opportunity for SiMa.ai. I believe that there is a void due to the recent semiconductor company consolidations. Once a company is consumed in a larger company, the focus tends to turn to a smaller number of larger customers. The edge market has thousands and thousands of smaller customers with very fragmented applications. Being able to take a product to market and address these numerous sub-markets is the big challenge for SiMa.ai but it’s also a very exciting one because the company will get to see lots of customers and lots of applications. In five years, I believe this will be front and center for SiMa.ai and its success going forward.
Who do you think SiMa.ai’s main competitors are and what are your thoughts about what the company should be doing in regards to competition at this point?
The first thing SiMa.ai has to do is execute. This is the one thing a company can control versus what their competitors are doing. That being said, when you look at SiMa.ai’s competitors, there’s a broad range of them. The programmable logic companies are definitely going to be one element of competition. I also feel that SiMa.ai will end up competing in one way or another with the embedded microcontroller players although I think their ability to compete in this market is going to be very limited because they won’t have the appropriate technology.
When you are considering joining a Board of Directors, what kind of things do you look for in a company? What is it that you saw in SiMa.ai that led you to join?
Working with people I respect who have high integrity is a common element for me when considering joining a Board of Directors in addition to making sure there is an exciting value proposition for the technology. I’m on four Boards now and each of the companies couldn’t be more different in terms of size and the nature of the business. There are really unique challenges in all four of them and their impressive technology enables them to become leaders in their target area. In the case of SiMa.ai, I think the company has the opportunity to demonstrate that leadership going forward and broadly bring it to market.
As Chairman of the Board, how can you best leverage your background to help SiMa.ai realize its full potential?
I have a lot of experience and I’ve seen a lot in my 40-year career. Even though this is a different time and a different technology, the nature of the challenges tends to repeat themselves. Even though this isn’t an operational role for me, my hope is that I’ll be able to use my experience to be a good counsel to the SiMa.ai management team and help propel the company to be the market leader for machine learning technology at the embedded edge.
To learn more about SiMa.ai Chairman of the Board Moshe Gavrielov, read the press release.