Monday, September 22, 2003
Interview with Tony Giraudo, President of TelASIC
Tony Giraudo is president and CEO of TelASIC (www.telasic.com">http://www.telasic.com">www.telasic.com), a spinoff which is introducing a major new chipset Monday.
BK: Tell me a bit about TelASIC, and your products--what are you introducing Monday?
TG: We are introducing our BaseFlex(TM) chipset, which is the world's first cost-effective wideband radio chipset to support all major air interfaces, including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, IS-95 CDMA, WCDMA, cdma2000, and North American TDMA. Based on our leading-edge analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog data converter technology, and incorporating a highly programmable digital tuner, the BaseFlex chipset really simplifies base station designs. Because it can process the entire licensed cellular band up to 75 MHz, the chipset allows base station developers to build a base station that can simultaneously support multiple different air interfaces (for example TDMA and GSM using the same hardware). Today, each standard requires separate hardware.
BK: What kind of customers are you targeting with this product?
TG: Our target customers are developers of cellular base station hardware.
BK: Who are your investors, and what was your latest round?
TG: We are funded by investments from ComVentures, Mission Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Raytheon and IBM.
BK: What's the story behind your spinoff from Raytheon?
TG: Raytheon felt that the technology owned by the core development group comprising TelASIC would be ideally suited for commercial base stations and other applications that need ultra high-performance data conversion, including test and measurement equipment, automated test equipment, oscilloscopes, and a variety of wireless and wired communications equipment.
BK: How did you get involved with Telasic, and why did you join the company?
TG: I was recruited from Atmel in Colorado Springs to head up this new company. At Atmel, I was general manager and VP of their RF Wireless and Secure Products Division. Once I learned about the capabilities of the TelASIC technology, I was convinced the company was a winner. It took this very compelling story for me to pick up and leave Colorado after more than 20 years.
BK: Who else is on your management team, and what do they bring to the company?
TG: TelASIC's management team combines deep experience in challenging technology with significant commercial experience in both the wireless and semiconductor spaces.
Don Devendorf, our Chief Technical Officer, has nearly 30 years of pioneering data converter technology, starting with Hughes Aircraft. He also built up and sold a successful race car/team development company to Nissan during his career at Hughes/Raytheon.
Wilhelm Heger is our director of strategic marketing, and has years of experience from Siemens in both Germany and the U.S. There, he held many product and executive management positions in their cellular base station division. He also headed up marketing for Opuswave Networks, a wireless startup in Colorado.
Bo Piekarski is vice president of business development. His role is to work with the wireless operators to generate market "pull" for the types of base stations enabled by our chipset. He came to TelASIC from Intel's wireless division (formerly Xircom). He was with Omnipoint Technologies (acquired by VoiceStream), and earlier spent twelve years with Ericsson in several executive positions with the North American GSM business unit.
Dave Zubas is our vice president of defense electronics. He is responsible for the ongoing defense contracts with Raytheon and the government. Dave has nearly 30 years of engineering and executive management experience spanning Raytheon, Hughes Electronics, Delco Electronics, and General Electric. At Raytheon, he led the TelASIC spin-out.
BK: What's your go to market plan for your product?
TG: We have made our initial entrance into the market by announcing our very high-performance data converters, which highlight the company's keen technical capabilities. With the announcement of the BaseFlex chipset, we can now demonstrate a complete wideband radio transceiver solution to base station developers. We have successfully demonstrated the chipset and will continue to do so to our target customers, in addition to demonstrations at trade shows such as next year's 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France.
BK: Finally, what's the next step for the company?
TG: Our next step is to begin shipping our data converters and chipsets to commercial customers, while we continue to support current and pursue new defense electronics business.