Updated May 2017 – Original post from 2011 is edited with updated information in red. I find it interesting to see the original and track changes. It gives you a real sense of the motion in the industry.
This post will shine a spotlight on the semiconductor industry throughout SoCal. Other writers subdivide Southern California in various ways. Going from north to south, I divide the region into: 1) Santa Barbara 2) Thousand Oaks & San Fernando Valley 3) Glendale/Burbank 4) LA Westside 5) South Bay [that’s the Santa Monica Bay for all you NorCal snobs] 6) Orange County, and finally 7) San Diego. I’ve found this is the best way to look at the region for recruiting…nobody wants to brave more miles of freeway than absolutely necessary. Our local contributions to the worldwide semiconductor industry are primarily located in the Valley, South Bay, Orange County, and San Diego. This post is just a geo-focused listing as I attempt to just gather up the main players in one place. Not much interesting business detail here. There are plenty. Rest assured, more interesting detail will follow in months and years to come. As usual, my efforts are on non-aerospace technology businesses headquartered here in sunny SoCal. We could eventually find hundreds, if not thousands of SoCal-located satellite and sales offices for companies headquartered around the globe. A quick scan of the lists below demonstrates the first obvious point…locate in Thousand Oaks or Irvine if you want the most choice for jobs (or talent if you’re running the business) in semi.
Please help us out with info in the comments section if I’ve missed your company.
- SEMTECH (jobs, ticker): Big company. Analog & mixed-signal; power management a specialty.
- Vitesse Semiconductor (jobs, ticker): Big company. Networking silicon; physical layer a specialty. May 2017: Gobbled up by Microsemi in early 2015: https://investor.microsemi.com/2015-03-18-Microsemi-Corporation-to-Acquire-Vitesse-Semiconductor-Corporation
- Power-One (jobs, ticker): Big company. Reinventing themselves nicely as a “green power” company. May 2017: Now part of Swiss giant ABB: http://www.abb.com/cawp/seitp202/125c06c7e0aa3fafc1257b5500423135.aspx
- Inphi Corporation (jobs, ticker): Medium company. High speed analog devices. May 2017: Further refined as a mainly long haul, physical layer data specialist.
- Source Photonics (jobs, Twitter): Medium company. Component level optical.
- Diodes, Inc. (jobs, ticker): Big company. Basic building blocks…diodes, transistors. May 2017: Now touting their products from the OEM solutions side: USB, automotive, etc.
- Fulcrum Microsystems (jobs, blog): Small company…but just acquired by Intel, so no longer small! Ethernet switching. May2017: Odd—this website is now a sort of online magazine addressing consumer wifi issues. Fulcrum’s product must be fully integrated into Intel now.
- International Rectifier (jobs, ticker): Huge company. A huge array of application specific parts. Biggest specialty is power management. May 2017: A part of Infineon since January of 2015: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-08-20/infineon-said-to-hold-talks-on-2-billion-u-s-chipmaker-deal
- Broadcom (jobs, ticker): Big Daddy. All manner of communications technologies…bumping heads (patent disputes) with rival Qualcomm now and then. May2017: Huge merger with Avago in June 2015. At the time, “the biggest tech deal” ever: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-27/avago-said-near-deal-to-buy-wireless-chipmaker-broadcom
- Solarflare Communications (jobs, blog): Small company. Gigabit Ethernet with component and adaptor level products.
- Quartics (jobs): Small company. SoC (surprised it took this long to use that acronym) for video. Ramping up 2D to 3D capabilities with technology licensed from DDD. May 2017: Gone.
- ClariPHY Communications (jobs): Small company. SoC (again) for high speed networking. May 2017: Gobbled up by Inphi.
- Axiom Microdevices (jobs): Small company, now a part of Skyworks out of Massachusetts. This is how a non-SoCal company stays on my radar. Low level components.
- Marvell Semiconductor (jobs): May 2017: High-speed Ethernet solutions.
- Conexant Systems (jobs): Medium company shrinking from big. Audio and video processors. They were leaders when fax technology was fresh. Previously listed on NASDAQ. May 2017: Siri, Alexa, Cortana? Thanks for making Conexant very relevant again!
- Microsemi Corporation (jobs, ticker): Big company. Power, analog, and radio frequency (RF) stuff.
- Mindspeed Technologies (jobs, ticker, blog): Big-ish company—shrinking from big. Optical and media processors. May 2017: Acquired by Macom in late 2013: https://www.macom.com/about/news-and-events/press-release-archive/row-col1/news–event-archive/macom-announces-definitive-agree
- 4/25/12 addendum: Netlist, Inc. (jobs, ticker): Very high capacity, high performance dual in-line memory modules (DIMM)
- Qualcomm (jobs, ticker, blog): Gigantor. THE world leader in mobile communications chipsets. Along with Broadcom, the anchor tenant in SoCal.
- Entropic Communications (jobs, ticker): Large company(having grown rapidly from medium). Solutions for home entertainment applications. May 2017: Acquired by Maxlinear in early 2015: http://www.maxlinear.com/maxlinear-to-acquire-entropic-reaffirms-its-fourth-quarter-2014-guidance-and-provides-outlook-for-first-quarter-2015/
- Cymer Corporation (jobs): Let’s expand our definition of “SoCal semiconductor company” for 2017. Cymer develops and sells a variety of automated test equipment to other companies that build machines for the manufacture of semiconductor wafers.
- Peregrine Semiconductors (jobs): Good size firm that sells mainly chip-level products—especially RF switching solutions.
- Maxlinear (jobs, ticker): I’m a bit sheepish that I missed them in the original post. Chip-level products for all kinds of broadband and telecom solutions.
After running through all those, I see that almost all of them have fresh new websites in the past several months. There are some who until recently had ’96 vintage. Also, I clearly see that Orange County is easily the most entrepreneurial SoCal sub region for semi. All the companies in the other areas are decidedly old school. San Diego can make some claim to not being semiconductor dinosaurs.
When I originally posted this info years ago, I thought it was close to an exhaustive list. Now I know better. There are many smaller companies I’ve left off for now. With your help, we can fill them in…