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Class Notes May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2

Entrepreneur's Corner: Chips with Everything
Prof. Andrew Kahng and Puneet Gupta Ph.D., ’04


Blaze DFM, Inc. was launched in 2004 to address critical challenges in semiconductor design. The thrust was to improve the percentage of chips on a wafer and still meet product specifications. Started by UCSD Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Andrew Kahng with Puneet Gupta Ph.D., ’04, and industry veteran David Reed, the Sunnyvale-based company, now counts 20 employees. It obtained a $6 million initial round of venture-capital financing in late 2004 and started alpha testing of its first product, Blaze MO, in March 2005. The product was installed at a beta customer site last October. And in the spring, customers were able to buy the first products optimized with Blaze’s software tools.

“Blaze DFM has been a canonical example of what technology transfer at UCSD and TechTIPS is all about,” says Kahng. “UCSD and the Jacobs School enable faculty to take their innovations into the marketplace, and to return to the University with a clearer understanding of how to innovate with real-world impact.”

Blaze obtained an exclusive license to Kahng’s technology, and UC received equity in the company and royalty interest from future revenues. Adds Kahng: “If the company is a success, the University, my home departments of ECE and CSE, my lab—as well as I and other inventors of the IP—will benefit.”

His co-founder Puneet Gupta, says of his experience, “Working in Andrew’s lab kept me much closer to industrial requirements than most other academic research groups, so the transition to a pure industry setting was not as tough as anticipated.”

Later this year, Blaze DFM’s second product is slated to hit the market, but Kahng will be back at UCSD teaching.

Entrepreneurs Corner by Marnette Federis, ’06, Raymond Hardie and Doug Ramsey.

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