25/04/2014

Mercia Fund Management and Finance Wales lead significant investment in Electronic Design Automation start-up

Thalia Design Automation Limited (Thalia) today announced completion of its A round funding and imminent beta availability of its range of innovation Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools. Thalia will provide chip designers with a new generation of tools for optimising analogue, mixed signal and power designs.

Electronic (Silicon) chips are either digital or analogue circuits (with combinations referred to as mixed signal). The design of analogue and mixed signal circuits is traditionally regarded as a black art, needing highly skilled and scarce engineering resource, relatively long design cycles and often multiple design iterations to get to a production product.

There is a major opportunity for more design automation in this sector. EDA tools needed to simplify and speed up design process have seen little advance in the last 30 years. Thalia is about to change this with the launch of a new generation of analogue EDA tools focused on helping designers to optimise and perfect their designs. Optimisations tasks which typically took several days to weeks to complete can now be performed in a matter of hours.

Automating optimisation of circuits involves considering million’s of combinations of numerous different component parameters to select the right combination with gives the best circuit performance. Thalia has developed sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms which can rapidly seek the optimum solution. These tools will not only assist engineers’ produce better designs but also greatly increase their productivity and reduce chip design time-scales.  A further benefit is that the toolsets can be used to rapidly retarget existing designs to alternative silicon foundries for cost reduction and sourcing flexibility.

Led by Dr Rodger Sykes, Chairman and Sowmyan Rajagopalan, CEO, Thalia has now completed this initial equity funding round with Mercia Fund Management and Finance Wales. In addition the company has secured grant support from the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the Welsh Government.

Sowmyan Rajagopalan, Founder and CEO of Thalia, comments: “Analogue design methodology has remained unchanged for a long time. I have seen the technical and time consuming efforts analogue designers have had to live with in order to design and optimise their circuits. Thalia’s tools will enable users to meet more challenging design requirements within shorter time frames. Custom chip design companies will benefit from reduced design times, shortened redesign cycles, better performing parts and more effective use of scarce skilled design resource.” 

Everard Mascarenhas, Investment Manager at Mercia Fund Management added: “We are extremely pleased to have invested in a company that has developed solutions that not only address a technical challenge but also bring productivity gains for customers. Thalia has developed a truly disruptive technology in a multi-billion dollar worldwide market where the incumbents grow and expand their offer through acquisition.”

Ann Casey, Investment Executive at Finance Wales commented: “Thalia’s next-generation automation technology has the potential to simplify and speed up the process of designing the Silicon chips that are a key part of the electronic devices we use every day.  Finance Wales’ and Mercia’s investment is part of a larger funding round that also includes Welsh Government and Technology Strategy Board grants.  We’re delighted to join forces with them to enable this innovative company to set up in Cwmbran.”