Tech giant Siemens acquires Essex spin-out UltraSoC

  • Date

    Wed 24 Jun 20

Professor Klaus McDonald

A University of Essex spin-out company whose technology is helping to transform the development of next-generation electronic devices is being bought by tech giant Siemens.

UltraSoc was spun out from the University of Essex and the University of Kent in 2008 and over the past decade the UK-based business has become a leading company for developing system-on-chip (SoC) technology which is now vital for the development of most modern products from cars through to smartphones.

UltraSoC's products are widely used in the automotive, high-performance computing, storage and semiconductor industries. The company was recently selected as a participant in the DARPA AISS (Automatic Implementation of Secure Silicon) program; and is a member of the Secure-CAV consortium, an ambitious collaborative project that aims to improve the safety and security of tomorrow's connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs). Siemens' acquisition of UltraSoC is due to close in the fourth quarter of Siemens' fiscal year 2020. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

"This acquisition accelerates UltraSoC's vision at a much larger scale with the incredible team, assets, industry know-how and footprint of Siemens," said Rupert Baines, CEO, UltraSoC.

"Being part of one of the world's foremost technology companies will allow UltraSoC to better serve our customers by accelerating R&D, leveraging a much larger pool of go-to-market resources, and an enormous global infrastructure. It has been clear since our initial meeting that UltraSoC and Siemens share a vision on how technology businesses can transform their operations end-to-end, from design conception to field deployment and we are excited to join the community."

Professor Klaus McDonald-Maier, from the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering at Essex, said: “It is very pleasing to see that UltraSoC's extraordinary journey continues with this new chapter. This all started with fundamental Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC)-funded research in my laboratory and continued through the spin-out’s foundation and several Venture Capital investment rounds with Dr Karl Heeks, now a University of Essex Executive Fellow, and Dr Andrew Hopkins, a former Essex PhD student. Our journey began more than a decade ago in my university office and now UltraSoc has become the leading independent SoC debug and analytics provider. A part of Siemens it will continue to make better and safer electronic systems.”

Dr Rob Singh, Acting Director for Research and Enterprise at the University of Essex. said: “We’re very proud of UltraSoc’s success and the underpinning technology developed at the University of Essex. This is a great example of how research can have an impact on society and the wider economy.”

The acquisition of UltraSoC helps expand Siemens’ Xcelerator portfolio and will allow the creation of data-driven product lifecycle management SoC solutions. Siemens plans to integrate UltraSoC's technology into the Xcelerator portfolio as part of Mentor's Tessent™ software product suite. The addition of UltraSoC to Siemens enables a unified data-driven infrastructure that can enhance product quality, safety and cybersecurity, and the creation of a comprehensive solution to help semiconductor industry customers overcome key pain points including manufacturing defects, software and hardware bugs, device early-failure and wear-out, functional safety, and malicious attacks. The combination of Siemens and UltraSoC technology can benefit the entire semiconductor product lifecycle, including structural, electrical, and functional capabilities of SoCs.

Professor McDonald-Maier is a serial entrepreneur and has also established another cutting-edge spin-out company with research and development facilities at the University of Essex and the University of Kent. Metrarc has developed novel solutions for increasing security and encryption to support the growth of the e-commerce, m-commerce, online and banking sectors plus Internet of Things (IoT) applications.