Careers at Aquantia
Aquantia’s mission is to be the premier supplier of high-speed connectivity silicon addressing the vast Ethernet port market opportunity.
Ramin Farjad-Rad was a graduate student at Stanford University. During a summer internship he worked at Soundlabs, trying to build a 1 GB transceiver in CMOS technology. He ended up building a 10 GB transceiver, a major accomplishment. In 1999, he joined with some colleagues in an effort to turn his work into a commercial solution. They founded a firm to market it, Veleo Communication.
Veleo’s main goal was to create multi-gigabit and terabit switches for the optical market, which valued high-speed networking switches. Unfortunately it did not last long as the optical market crashed, leading most customers to drop their purchase orders. Undeterred, Ramin sold the company and teamed with two partners to found a company that would power data centers.
That company was Aquantia, a provider of high-speed connectivity solutions for data centers, enterprise, and WLAN applications. Ramin felt that existing offerings in the industry were not sufficient to handle the rapidly growing volume of data. He approached some investors and received funding to build a prototype, with a promise of more money if it had profit potential.
Ramin and his team spent 80 hours per week working on the device. After it was done, the investor group had its technical team conduct due diligence. Satisfied by the offering, it made a larger investment. Following this, Ramin set about creating a solution that was scalable and also affordable for most companies. Aquantia is now one of the leaders in the transceiver market for 10 GB Ethernet.
Business model of Aquantia
Aquantia has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at a handful of top players within various industries that have data centers.
Aquantia offers four primary value propositions: innovation, performance, cost reduction, and brand/status.
The company places a strong emphasis on innovation. Its solution solves the problems of high-speed signaling over copper interconnect by combining two architectures: Mixed Mode Signal Processing (MMSP), which offers a differetn partitioning of signal processing between digital and analog domains, resulting in optimized power; and Multi-Core Signal Processors (MCSPs), highly-efficient multi-core processing engines. Furthermore, in 2015 its AQrate transceiver became the basis for the IEEE 802.3bz standard, the first time a firm has created a standard from its own technology.
The company has demonstrated strong performance. Its Aqrate PHY transceiver provides throughpouts that are five times faster than had been available previously through existing GB Ethernet (GbE) solutions. It enables customers to adopt wireless technology without replacing copper cabling, which led to shipments of one million ports in one year, much faster than normal.
The company reduces costs. Its solution lowers customers‘ installation expenses (the price paid to install each port) and also improves connectivity within data centers, resulting in lower energy costs and thus overall operational and maintenance costs. It considers itself a “low-power leader.“
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. In 2014 it had a 70% share of the transceiver market for 10 GB Ethernet over copper wire. Also, it has won many honors. These include the New Emerging Technology Supplier Award from Cisco (2013), recognition as “Company of the Year“ at the Annual Creativity in Electronics (ACE) Awards (2014), and recognition as the “Fastest Growing Company in Silicon Valley” by Deloitte Technology (2015) for the 2011 – 2014 period.
Aquantia’s main channel is its business development team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, and participation in conferences.
Aquantia’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees.
That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Aquantia’s business model entails designing, designing, and manufacturing semiconductors (with a strong focus on transceivers) for its customers.
Aquantia is part of the NBASE-T Alliance, a non-profit organization it formed with Cisco, Freescale, and Xilinx. The group is committed to the development and promotion of the 5G/2.5G technology. Over 45 companies have joined the alliance, and they fall into the following categories:
- Promoters – Partners include Cisco, Intel, Marvell, NXP, and Xilinx
- Contributors – Partners include Broadcom, Cadence, Commscope, Fluke Networks, Ideal Networks, Kinnex A, Molex, Panduit, Qualcomm, and UDE
- Adopters – Partners include Amphenol, Aruba, Cavium, Centec, Comira Solutions, DNI, FIT, GLGNET, Keysight Technologies, Mentech, Netgear, Pulse Electronics, Realtek, Synopsys, and Xena Networks
Aquantia’s main resources are its human resources. They include its engineering employees that design, develop, and manufacture its products, and its business development and customer service staff.
The firm also places a high priority on its intellectual property. Lastly, as a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $190.6 million from 13 investors as of April 2015.
Aquantia has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through frequent product enhancements. Its biggest cost driver is likely cost of goods, a variable expense.
Other major drivers are in the areas of research/development and product development, both fixed costs.
Aquantia has one revenue stream: the revenues it generates from sales of its semiconductors to customers.
info: Faraj earned a BSEET at Wentworth Institute of Technology, an MSEE at University of Massachusetts, and an MBA at University of New Hampshire. He previously served as the Co-Founder and CEO of Centillium and held management roles at various tech firms.
info: Phil earned a Ph.D. in Semiconductor Physics at Orsay University and an MSEE at Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité, France. He previously served as President and CEO of Aquantia and has held management roles at Lightera and Alcatel.
info: Ramin earned an MSEE in Electrical Engineering at the University of California, San Diego. He previously served as a General Manager at Lucent Technologies and as a Co-Founder and VP of Engineering at Enable Semiconductor.
info: Mark earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business at Providence College. He previously served as CFO of Montage Technology Group, InvenSense, Techwell, and MoSys. He has over 25 years of experience serving as a CFO for high-tech firms.
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