Israeli talent ‘very important’ for Cadence business, CEO says
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Israeli talent ‘very important’ for Cadence business, CEO says

Lip-Bu Tan, who heads developer of software for chipmakers, says staying humble and working as a team is key to success

Lip-Bu Tan, president and CEO of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in Tel Aviv, Nov. 6, 2017 (Shoshanna Solomon/TimesofIsrael)
Lip-Bu Tan, president and CEO of Cadence Design Systems, Inc. in Tel Aviv, Nov. 6, 2017 (Shoshanna Solomon/TimesofIsrael)

Lip-Bu Tan, president and CEO of Cadence Design Systems, Inc., a US public company that develops software tools that allow semiconductor companies to make their chips, said the company is always on the lookout for new acquisitions of Israeli technologies to integrate within its products.

“We are always looking,” said Tan in an interview with The Times of Israel on Monday in Tel Aviv, as the company held its annual conference, its 16th, in Israel.

The firm, which employs some 7,200 people globally and which has seen its shares surge some 76 percent in the past 12 months on the Nasdaq, has been operating in Israel for more than 20 years, through both its R&D center and the sale of its products to the local semiconductor industry and multinationals operating in Israel.

The 57-year old CEO believes that the company, which provides electronic design automation software to chipmakers globally, will see growth from a number of sectors going forward, including from the digitalization of the automotive industry, machine learning, artificial and virtual reality, big data and Industrial Internet of Things.

Cadence employs some 250 people in Israel, and customers include Mellanox Technologies Ltd., Mobileye and Annapurna Labs — the microelectronics firm acquired by Amazon in 2015.

Israel is “very important” for Cadence’s business globally, Tan said, because of the local talent that it can employ for its own R&D purposes but also because of the large number of semiconductor companies that operate in Israel, along with the many multinational companies who have teams here, such as Broadcom, Intel Corp. and Apple.

“There is a lot of talent in Israel; there are a lot of brilliant ideas that come from the intelligence units,” of the Israeli army, he said.

Buying startups

The firm has also acquired a number of Israeli-founded startups over the years, including Verisity Ltd., a developer of software verification tools, which it bought in 2005, TranSwitch Corp., an IP interface startup, and Jasper Design Automation, an analysis solutions provider based in Haifa which is today the core of its R&D activities in northern Israel. In 2015, Cadence set up a new center, located in Petah Tikva, to coordinate both sales and R&D activities locally.

Tan, who was born in Malaysia and took the reins of Cadence in 2009,
said that the US should continue to keep its doors open to immigrants and keep its global approach, in answer to a question of how the anti-immigration policies of President Donald Trump could affect businesses in the US.

“In the US, a lot of successful companies have been created by immigrants. That creates a lot of jobs so you don’t want to close a door,” he said. “It has not affected our business as much,” as the firm has offices and R&D centers around the world. “We are pretty global so we are not very US-centric,” he said.

Since Tan has been leading the firm, he has seen its share price surge from $2.42 to $43 dollars, he said with pride. The company’s market valuation is today around $12 billion. So what is his secret sauce? A company culture that is humble, focused on innovation and inclusiveness, he said.

“Humility is important, stay humble,” he said. Build trusted partnerships with customers, listen closely to what they have to say, and focus on innovation.

“I focus on one team. I used to play basketball and I always believed championships are won by teams and not by one or two individuals. And so, we have this culture of one team,” he said, making sure that everyone “passes the ball” and everyone is included in the various processes.

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