Silicon 100: The golden age of hardware startups

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

We are now witnessing the golden age of hardware startups focused on information and communication technologies.

The Silicon 100 report is a harbinger of a golden age of startups carrying out significant contribution to hardware technology development. The startup revolution kicked off by Silicon Valley has spread around the globe, from Cambridge, England to Budapest, Hungary and from Hefei, China to Kyoto, Japan.

It’s worth noting that, despite the ubiquitous presence of electronics, hardware startups haven’t been seen as investible during the 2000s. At the turn of this century, the startup realm started to become an almost-exclusive domain of software and Internet-mediated services outfits as venture capitalists started to move away from hardware.

The focus on software and Internet-mediated services has largely remained in place, but the tide began turning in favor of hardware startups again in the mid-2010s. Sure, it’s going to take a while in realizing this paradigm shift, but that makes this report even more significant.

logo for EETimes Silicon 100 report

“A fundamental change in the way compute is done marks a major trend at the moment and it’s likely to continue in the decades to come,” said Peter Clarke, the veteran technology journalist who curated the list of 100 companies worth watching. It’s a broad list that also includes startups that are into a mix of hardware and software, known as platform companies.

“It looks a lot similar to the explosion of microprocessor design in the 1970s,” Clarke said. He noted that among the sheer number of semiconductor startups, there are scores of companies providing hardware for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications. “Sensors are also a very rich field these days,” he added.

Another important finding of this report shows China as the most significant place for hardware startups after Silicon Valley, which still offers a rich environment and ample opportunities for success. The Silicon 100 offers a sneak peek into the fabless chip design scene in China.

Israel is another location to watch. “Israel has demonstrated that if you have the right combination of highly-qualified engineers, entrepreneurial spirit, and capital to go with, great things can happen,” Clarke said.

We are now witnessing the golden age of hardware startups focused on information and communication technologies, and it’s expanding not only the number of startups, but also the number of areas in which these startups are working.

So why did venture capitalists’ confidence in hardware return? Find out the answer to this and see the profile of the daring innovators by downloading the free Silicon 100 report.

Majeed Ahmad is Executive Editor at EDN, and has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.

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