SiFive was founded in 2015 by some of the creators of the RISC-V processor architecture, which is a freely available and open-source specification. The RISC-V processor architecture developed out of University of California Berkeley as an open-source alternative to such architectures as ARM and MIPS. It is therefore available royalty free although the commercial use of particular instantiations and support can still be bound by a licensing contract.
Sherwani joins SiFive with more than 25 years of experience in the industry at companies including Intel, Brite Semiconductor and Open Silicon, where he was founder and CEO. Over the course of his career, Sherwani has been involved in the development of more than 300 chips.
Sherwani replaces Stefan Dyckerhoff, who has been CEO of SiFive since its inception. Dyckerhoff will remain a member of the SiFive board of directors.
Sherwani’s appointment is the latest in a series of additions to the SiFive team from established EDA and semiconductor companies including: Cadence Design Systems, Cisco, Intel, Juniper, Marvell, Nvidia, Qualcomm, Synopsys and Xilinx. To accommodate this growing team, SiFive has recently moved to a new San Mateo location. The company also recently raised $8.5 million in Series B funding, led by Spark Capital, with participation from Osage University Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.
"SiFive is leading a revolution in the semiconductor industry," Sherwani said, in a statement. "By democratizing the design process, the entire spectrum of innovation will shift from a handful of centralized design centers to every corner of the world. When this happens, our industry will see a renaissance of new ideas, brought to life by new talent attracted by the prospect of changing the status quo."
In a separate announcement SiFive said it would partner with Rambus to make cryptography technology available for SiFive's Freedom processor platform under a "design-share" licensing model, which offers IP at reduced cost.
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