When asked how the Covid-19 pandemic would affect the semiconductor industry and startups, Ramsdale answered that Agile Analog is fortunate to be at a stage in its development where it still has venture capital runway. This means that the company is not yet compelled to turn a profit – although it already has an income stream. It also means that development activity can continue and allows Agile Analog to prepare itself to rise with the tide when business activity picks up.
Ramsdale added: "While Covid-19 is a personal tragedy for the millions who have contracted it and those that have died from it, we have to look for the good that can come out of it."
He continued: "Our industry is used to boom and bust and a lot of chip companies can plan their way through recessions like this. The companies that will be most affected will be those with a lot of human activity in the supply chains."
In terms of market changes Ramsdale expects a new emphasis on industrial and health applications. "I think there will be a large increase in industrial automation and industrial IoT, which will be fantastic for robotics and chip companies. Also healthcare; I expect every wrist watch and smartphone company is wishing they could do SpO2 (saturated peripheral capillary oxygen) measurements – an estimate of the amount of oxygen in the blood."
Ramsdale acknowledged that a major global event such as the Covid-19 pandemic will change the world's business landscape radically. Some companies that were previously technology and market leaders will not adapt well, while others will – and some companies will spring up to exploit the changed environment.
"You have to look for the opportunity. You have to look outward and make some prediction about what the world will look like in 12 or 24 months' time and then make sure you are serving the market."
It is what a famous ice hockey player once described as "skating to where the puck is going be."
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