Nowhere is the concentration of innovation greater than in start-up stage companies. Arm’s entire ethos is entwined with the value of creating diverse ecosystems that encourage the rapid adoption of technologies to unlock new possibilities – exactly the environment where startups thrive.
It is for this reason that Arm, with its unique partner ecosystem, delivered Arm Startup Day – a new event providing young companies with insights, resources and confidence to take advantage of the technological shifts unleashed by artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of things (IoT), 5G and how they can accelerate their growth by collaborating with the Arm ecosystem.
Missed the event? You can now watch the day on demand – see the link at the bottom of this blog. Short on time? Here are the top five insights the Arm Blueprint team gleaned from our experts…
1. Find something that really, really annoys people
“You want to start a company because you are passionate about a problem you want to solve and not just start a company,” said Jeff Ma, author, serial entrepreneur and Vice President of Startups at Microsoft. “It can’t be the seventh problem customers have on their mind. It has to be one of the top three problems.”
And don’t worry about your star power pitch as much as the feedback you get from would-be buyers.
“Talk to people. Try to validate the idea. You can’t underestimate it (the customer discovery process),” he added. “Entrepreneurs will always be good at selling their ideas. Sometimes, I tell them, ‘You are going to have to dial back the charm.’”
2. It’s never been a better time to get into semiconductors
The last few years have marked a growing interest among VCs for semiconductor companies. The slowing of Moore’s Law and rising demand for AI and IoT has fueled demand for specialized processors. Gartner now counts over 50 firms building chips dedicated to AI, a market the firm says could grow from $20 billion to over $70 billion by 2025. In April, four semiconductor companies alone raised $1.2 billion.
Jeff Wittich is Chief Product Officer at Ampere Computing, which in a four year span has gone from being a concept to a leading provider of cloud processors to Oracle, ByteDance, and others. “A couple of years ago, mainstream media didn’t want to write about semiconductors,” he said at Arm Startup Day 2021. “It just wasn’t a hot area. But that has completely changed. The world now sees how critically important semiconductors are, as we’ve become more dependent on them in the last year.”
Jeff continued to explain that there’s never been a better time for semiconductor startups from an ecosystem perspective. “There are opportunities for new startups to develop new products for new use cases and markets that didn’t exist before. And the tools are all there to help startups develop products that were never possible 10 years ago.”
3. Software and hardware startups need to innovate together
“By bringing together the hardware and software development environments, we can accelerate IoT deployments and innovation,” said Mohamed Awad, VP of IoT and Embedded Business at Arm at the very beginning of a panel session focused on the opportunities at the intersection of hardware and software.
Marco Ciaffi, Co-founder and VP Engineering at Dover Microsystems supported Mohamed’s comments explaining that Dover lives at the intersection of hardware and software. “On day one, when we’re shipping our hardware, we want the entire software stack to be available for developers.” Said Ciaffi. “The integration and greater cohesive between the software team and the development of hardware is more important now than ever.” He continued to explain that we as an industry need to find more ways to improve the opportunities for hardware and software developers to work together, especially for startups that are extremely resource-constrained.
4. Pitching to a VC? Here’s what you need to know
Team, technology and a long-term plan are three of the key things Miles Kirby, international venture capitalist and CEO of Deeptech Labs, explained are some of the key components of a great VC pitch. “To me, you’ve got to have a great team that works really well together. It’s not just the CEO that comes in to talk. I want to see the whole team. The size of the team doesn’t matter, I want to see the right skills set across the team with complementary skills.”
And you don’t have to have a big market share for your product. “I want to see great technology that’s differentiated with a sustainable competitive advantage,” said Kirby. “And there’s a big market for it. A small market share is sufficient to generate a really interesting business.”
Finally, Miles wants to see a long-term plan in order to plan capital, “I want to understand that there’s some way to exit this. What does this startup look like long term, will it be an IPO will it get acquired?”
5. There’s more help than you might expect
Whether you’re building the next breakthrough processor to accelerate AI at the edge, or your startup is developing a software-defined platform to address the demands of autonomous vehicles, there’s more support for your startup than ever before.
Arm Startup Day is evidence of this. From the Microsoft for Startups program supporting young companies all the way from prototype to production, Deeptech Labs helping startups move between Seed and Series A funding, as well as Arm Flexible Access for startups, providing no-cost access to Arm IP, tools, training and support from Arm and our ecosystem.