Solido CEO Amit Gupta foresees growth under Siemens ownership (photo by the Saskatoon StarPhoenix).

U of S alumni success in electronic chip design attracts global giant

Solido Design Automation, a world-leading Saskatoon software development company established by University of Saskatchewan graduates, is expanding its reach and scope under new ownership.

The acquisition of Solido by German technology giant Siemens AG is great news for the firm he co-founded, and great news for the city and the university, said Solido CEO Amit Gupta.

“Siemens officials referred to the U of S as a key reason for the acquisition, because of its ability to produce highly skilled and innovative graduates in computer science, engineering and mathematics,” said Gupta.

Solido develops software used in the creation of semiconductor chips for almost all modern electronic devices. The software is created using proprietary machine learning technology, which involves the software itself learning from data, predicting results based on the information, figuring out relevant parameters, mining data for trends, and identifying design problems.

 “Siemens wants to keep Solido’s current research and development and custom applications, and grow them further to make Saskatoon a key R and D centre for their digital factory division,” Gupta said.

“Saskatoon is a great place to grow a company.”

He noted that 53 of Solido’s 63 employees at Innovation Place are U of S graduates. Expansion over the next five years anticipated by Siemens to meet its increased needs in the machine learning area mean more jobs and career opportunities for graduates, he said.

“We love hiring locally. We get lots of applications because our employees and applicants have the opportunity to learn from working with some of the world’s biggest companies. We hire internationally, too, and as a result we have some really great talent,” Gupta said.

“We would encourage the U of S to find every opportunity to expand its excellent computer science and engineering programs to meet the growing needs of the technology industry in Saskatchewan.”

Gupta and fellow U of S grad Trent McConaghy formed Solido in 2005, nearly a year after their first company, Analog Design Automation Inc., was bought out by electronic design automation giant Synopsys of California. The venture capital for Solido came from Saskatchewan-based Golden Opportunities Fund and the Business Development Bank of Canada.

Solido quickly became the world leader in helping some major manufacturers design faster, smaller, high performance semiconductor chips with less spoilage during manufacturing. It all adds up to better consumer electronics such as smartphones, tablets, personal computers, credit cards, sensors, and automobiles.

It has customers everywhere from Silicon Valley to Europe, Japan, Taiwan, China, India and South Korea. Among about 40 major companies and two worldwide that rely on Solido’s software are industry giants such as Qualcomm, Nvidia, and IBM.

Gupta says revenues have grown about 50 per cent a year for the past six years. Deloitte Canada placed Solido on its 2016 Technology Fast 50 list that recognizes innovation, leadership and revenue growth. Solido also ranked 425 in Deloitte’s 2017 Technology Fast 500 for North America.

Now, Solido software is being used to make every modern chip for every modern device,” Gupta said. “We’re proud to be doing that from a company based in Saskatoon and we want to share that story.”

Sarath Peiris is the assistant director, Research Profile and Impact.

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