Invionics: EDA Development Platform

Company capitalizes on lack of innovation in EDA.

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There has been a dearth of EDA startups over the past year. In fact, if you check out the Knowledge Center for companies founded in 2014 you will find exactly one – Pollen Technology, a metrology company. In 2013 there were four, one of which was Invionics Inc.. Now before we get excited about a new EDA startup—and yes, it is an EDA startup—the company is not out to sell tools or Intellectual Property or anything else that you would associate with an EDA company.

Invionics believes it has found an opportunity caused by the lack of EDA startups and the lack of innovation coming from the established EDA leaders. Designers have specific needs, and using the same tools everyone else gives them no competitive advantage. So they need to be able to add value into the development chain themselves. That is the reason behind the Invio platform. This development platform enables systems companies to develop their own EDA tools, a back-to-the-future event for the industry.

Back in the early days of ASICs, EDA tools were created by the foundries or by the system companies. Over time, they realized that the cost to develop and maintain these tools was expensive and the costs could be amortized over a large number of companies if they acquired their tools from EDA companies. In the end they should receive better quality tools for lower costs, so long as they were willing to live by the same rules as the rest of the industry.

Over the past decade or so, many systems companies invested heavily into startups, hoping to find a new tool or methodology that would give them an edge. When they found one, there was a lot of secrecy surrounding the tool adoption and the startup was never allowed to mention who their customers were. This made life difficult for the startup because without references, smaller companies without the resources to fully evaluate the tool were not willing to take on the risk.

Now, Invionics is giving system companies an alternative. This development platform is not meant to help them develop their own synthesis tool, but it may help them develop their own methodologies, design constraints and the tool suite necessary to take advantage of the benefits that it provides.

In the diagram below, Invionics shows how simple it is to create a design rule that says resets should always be synchronous and provides a short script that can parse existing RTL code, find violations and fix them. This is a python script, and once it has been perfected, it can be packaged into a tool that can be freely distributed within an organization.

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The Invio Platform includes an RTL processing engine, a custom GUI builder and an application packager, and offers a choice of additional modules that speed development in specific areas including the RTL modification module, the netlist modification module, the functional verification module and the SoC assembly module.

Under the hood, The Invio platform relies on the language parsers from Verific, a company that has supplied VHDL and SystemVerilog parsers for a large number of EDA tools over the years. The founders of Invionics are also not new the game. They are the same team that founded debug IP company Veridae Systems back in 2009. That company was purchased by Tektronix in 2011 and then by Mentor earlier this year.