Alphawave IP plans London IPO, Cambridge design centre
The company is also creating an R&D center in Cambridge, England.
Alphawave IP Group plc, previously headquartered in Toronto, Canada, has been a successful developer of DSP-based serializer-deserializer IP cores that support a range of datacenter standards from 1Gbps to 112Gbps. Founded in 2017 by executives with previous experience at Snowbush and V Semiconductor, the company’s first licensable IP targeted a 7nm silicon manufacturing process. Since then the company moved IP to 6nm in 2019 and 5nm in 2020. The company is working on 224Gbps SerDes and with TSMC and Samsung at 4nm and 3nm nodes.
Alphawave IP was the fastest growing semiconductor IP licensing company ranked in the top ten in 2020 by Eric Esteve at IPnest (see ARM grows IP market share in boom year). The company tripled its revenue from about US$25 million in 2019 to US$75 million in 2020, according to Esteve.
As part of its Expected Intention to Float (EITF) document the company said it has been profitable since 2018 and that revenue in 1Q21 alone exceeded US$80 million. That puts Alphawave on a run rate to more than quadruple revenues in 2021.
The company has an 18 month to 24 month pipeline of orders with customers in cloud compute and data centre, data networking and optical, solid-state storage, 5G wireless and AI that it values at US$400 million.
The company states that it has assurances from funds and accounts managed by BlackRock and Janus Henderson to pay more than US$510 million for shares at a price that would value the company at US$4.5 billion.
Alphawave’s Executive Chairman is John Lofton Holt, who was the founder of FPGA company Achronix and formerly its CEO and chairman. By coincidence Achronix is also looking to go public (see FPGA firm Achronix to go public via SPAC).
“We are a global business and proud to be taking Alphawave IP public here in the United Kingdom where the silicon IP business model was invented by great British companies like ARM and Imagination and where there is a deeply experienced semiconductor community. There is a long track record in the UK of investors who understand the value of licencing semiconductor IP,” the EITF quoted Holt, as saying.
Tony Pialis, CEO of Alphawave IP, said: “We have chosen to come to the UK because of its incredible technology and semiconductor industry ecosystem. The strong research base in the UK – and our new R&D headquarters in Cambridge – offers an excellent foundation for the next stage of our global growth.”
Next: Chiplet revolution
In its EITF document the company said that as part of its technology strategy it expects to expand from licensing single IP blocks into providing connectivity solutions and chiplet products.
The company said that industry adoption of chiplet-style component packaging would give rise to rapidly expanding use of die-to-die interfaces. “This disaggregation of silicon presents an opportunity for the group to provide its wired connectivity IP in chiplet form, either through licensing as silicon IP or potentially delivering the full unpackaged chiplet to the customer,” the company observed.
In terms of business developments,the company highlighted three opportunities:
To address adjacent IP block markets through the build-out of its Cambridge design team.
To expand its reseller agreement with VeriSilicon Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd. to drive success in China.
To create a product partnership with Beijing-headquartered Wise Road Capital to invest in the development of semiconductor devices in the Asia-Pacific region.
Alphawave IP said that it plans a free float of at least 25 percent of the issued share capital with up to a further 15 percent made available as part of an over-allotment option.
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