Careers at Cavium Networks
Cavium Networks’ mission is to be the leading supplier of innovative and comprehensive processing solutions for intelligent next-generation networks.
Syed Ali had held leadership roles at a wide variety of technology companies, and was a member of the founding management team of Malleable Technologies. In 2000 that firm was acquired by PMC Sierra. Ali left and started Cavium Networks, a provider of integrated semiconductor products. The company got off to an auspicious start, raising $8 million in a Series A round of funding in 2001.
The next decade saw a series of successful investments. Cavium raised $15.5 million in 2002, $18 million in 2003, $20 million in 2004, $6.3 million in 2007, $33.7 million in 2009, and $35 million in 2011. These infusions of capital were accompanied by many product introductions. They included the NITROX Soho in 2004, OCTEON multi-core processors in 2006, NEURON search processors in 2011, the LiquidIO family of server adapters in 2013, and the ThunderX family of processors in 2014.
Cavium generated significant revenues from these launches, and it used its profits to purchase several companies over a few years. It acquired MontaVista Software in 2009, which complemented its multi-core processor portfolio. It acquired Wavesat in 2011, adding multicore wireless digital system processing to its embedded processor product line. The same year it purchased Celestial Semiconductor. In 2015 it acquired Xpliant, obtaining high quality switch silicon in the process.
Cavium went public in 2007, and is now estimated to have a market capitalization of $2.9 billion.
Business model of Cavium Networks
Cavium has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company specializes in providing MIPS-based and ARM-based video, network, and security processors. It primarily sells its offerings to providers of wireless, storage, networking, and consumer electronic equipment. In 2015, five of its customers accounted for more than half of its revenues (55.3%).
Cavium offers three primary value propositions: accessibility, customization, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a wide variety of semiconductors. Its offerings enable storage, communications, intelligent networking, security, and video applications. The processors can provide functionality in broadband/consumer, enterprise, service provider, and data center equipment. They range in speed from 1Gbps to 100Gbps.
The company offers customization by providing products that are “systems on a chip”, or SoCs. They include a thoroughly integrated architecture, multiple or single processor cores, and customizable software based on a wide range of standard operating systems.
The company has established a strong brand because of its success. Its customers include many prominent firms, including Cisco, IBM, Motorola ECC, Juniper, Nokia, Radisys, Qualcomm, Alcatel-Lucent, and Citrix. It has won many prestigious honors, including the HPC Wire Editor’s Choice Award (2015), the Golden Bridge Award (2013), placement on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (2014), and recognition as the “Most Respected Public Semiconductor Company” by GSA (2012).
Cavium’s main channels are its direct sales and applications support team and distributors who respond to third-party orders for its products (Future Electronics and Phoenix Electronics). The company promotes its offerings through its website and attendance of conferences and summits.
Cavium’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service nature. Customers utilize its products while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website offers some self-help resources, including data sheets, product documentation, and reference software. That said, there is a community element in the form of a section for discussion groups and a personal assistance component in the form of e-mail support.
Cavium’s business model entails designing and developing semiconductors and software for its customers. The company outsources the manufacturing, assembling, and testing of its products to third-party foundries and contractors. They are responsible for the retrieval of raw materials.
Cavium maintains the Partnership to Accelerate Customer End-solutions (PACE) program. It is a network of 70+ partners that the company works with to reduce development costs and time-to-market for its customers. They fall into the following categories:
- AMC/ATCA/PCIe Cards
- Complementary Silicon
- Hardware Debuggers/Analyzers
- Operating System/Development Tools
- Software Stacks and Applications
- CPE Gateways/Home Appliances
- Hardware Consulting
- Software Consulting
- SMB WLAN
Specific partners include Cortina Systems, Lanner Electronics, Mocana Corporation, Lenovo, Hyve Solutions, Oracle, Advanced Thermal Solutions, Benison Technologies, and InForce Computing.
Cavium’s main resource is its team of embedded software and semiconductor engineers, which has significant expertise in networking, security, and high-performance multi-core microprocessor design. The employees operate out of San Jose, CA; Marlborough, MA; Beijing, China; and Bangalore and Hyderabad in India. The company places a high priority on its intellectual property, with 120 issued and 311 pending patents in the U.S., and 47 issued and 219 pending patents in foreign countries. Lastly, as a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $144.49 million from eight investors as of March 2011.
Cavium has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through low-price value propositions. Its biggest cost driver is research and development expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and administration, both fixed costs, and cost of revenue, a variable expense that includes the cost of buying wafers and assembly/test services.
Cavium has three revenue streams:
Product Revenues – Revenues from the sale of semiconductor products
Licensing Revenues – Revenue from the licensing of software and related support and maintenance
Service Revenues – Revenue from the sale of professional services
info: Syed earned a BSEE from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India and an M.S.E. from the University of Michigan. He previously served as VP of Marketing and Sales at Malleable Technologies and as an Executive Director at Samsung Electronics.
info: Arthur earned a B.S. in Mathematics and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan. He previously served as the CFO of Pinnacle Systems and held leadership roles at various semiconductor firms.
info: Raghib earned a B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from NED University and an M.S. in Computer Engineering from San Jose State University. He previously held engineering roles at Cisco and Cadence Design Systems.
info: Vincent earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Loyola Marymount University and a J.D. from Loyola Law School. He previously served as a partner at the Cooley LLP law firm and as VP and General Counsel for Women.com Networks.
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