Having over 2600 Process Design Kits (PDKs) for making chips in the nodes of 500 nm (0.5 micron) to its latest 3 nm and the other huge cache of IP portfolio it has, TSMC looks like sweetest honey for the startup fabless chipmakers. No other foundry can match the breadth and depth of expertise TSMC has in semiconductor chip manufacturing.
In a release today, TSMC has announced various benefits and strengths TSMC can offer for start-ups in bringing out their new chips. Here below are those listed in its release:
TSMC said since the day company started, it is continuously supporting start-ups helping them in their growth, giving examples of NVIDIA, Broadcom, Marvell, and MediaTek.
TSMC invested in design ecosystem development so that start-ups can leverage ecosystem for their growth.
TSMC helps start-ups to focus on design and not to invest any of its money in chip fabrication.
TSMC has a program called TSMC Open Innovation Summit (OIS) (formerly the TSMC Customer Collaboration Summit), which brings together various stakeholders to discuss latest technologies such as ADAS, high performance computing, Artificial Intelligence, 5G networks, virtual reality and augumented reality applications such as Metaverse, and health focused devices.
TSMC said it has dedicated team in North America supporting start-ups, where the team guides startups on how to plan their production schedule, technology roadmap, and business model aiming faster results and significant business successes. TSMC claims it has supported nearly thousand start-up customers and helping them achieve design and business goals. Two examples of such collaboration quoted was with fabless chip makers Ambiq and Credo Technology.
TSMC claims it has supported semiconductor-foundry-industry's earliest and most comprehensive design automation tool certification program and industry's largest Silicon proven IP (more than 40,000 IP titles and providing more than 30,000 technology files).
However start-ups have multiple options to go for other foundries which can offer lot more resources to its clients. Too many customers for one single foundry, can lead to longer leadtime before your chip comes out of the fab. If you're making chips requiring older nodes such as 28 nm, 14 nm, and even older 65nm, there are good number of other foundries for your product. Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator (FDSOI) is one such technology where TSMC has no expertise.
Though TSMC looks to be the best, but it may not fit for every start-up.