Duolog’s silicon design product Weaver is launched in Japan

25th January 2009

In a busy week, Irish technology firm Duolog Technologies has previewed a new silicon design product and completed the acquisition, for an undisclosed cash and equity sum, of British-based competitor Beach Solutions.

Duolog’s new software tool had its first public demonstration at industry event EDS Fair 2009 in Japan last week.

‘‘Weaver was launched in Yokohama on Wednesday,” said Ray Bulger, chief executive of Duolog. ‘‘That is due for official release in April, and will fit into our Socrates platform, with the tools already there.”  Duolog develops electronic design automation (EDA) software tools that enable chip-design companies to better and more efficiently design their products. The new product manages the assembly of a complex silicon design system, and allows fast-track integration of IP blocks, Bulger said.

The Japanese launch complements Duolog’s focus on sales to markets in the Far East, which was also a driver behind the Beach Solutions move, Bulger said.

‘‘Instantly, we get Beach’s customer base, and it was doing about £1 million (€1.06 million) a year from customers including Samsung, Sony, NEC, Toshiba and Olympus.”

Bulger predicted that the new product launch and acquisition would help Duolog to grow its revenues to $15million (€15.9 million) this year, up from €5.5 million in 2008. ‘‘Beach’s £1 million (€1.06 million) was for just one product, and we have five products now,” he said. ‘‘In Japan we hope to add €1 million this year, and we reckon we will do about €1 million more in the US as well.”

The Beach deal, which took three months to negotiate, was not a straightforward acquisition, Bulger said.

‘‘We get its technology, its customer base, and some of its key employees. There were liabilities associated with the company which we did not want to take on,” he said. The company’s sales in Japan are supported from Ireland and the US, but Bulger said he was close to a deal with a local distributor.

‘‘We are in fairly advanced negotiations with a key distributor in that market and hope to appoint a distributor before the end of this month,” he said. ‘‘That will involve a dedicated person on the ground, plus a very large sales organisation targeting Japanese customers.”

Last February, Duolog opened a new office in Palo Alto, California, at a cost of €500,000. Bulger said the Far East held greater potential for growth. ‘‘We are happy enough that we are holding our ground in the US, given the present market. The US spend actually shrunk by around five per cent in 2008. In the Far East, and Japan in particular, it has increased by between four and six per cent,” he said.

The US investment was funded by money raised mainly from Duolog’s existing backers, including Enterprise Equity, entrepreneur Jim Mountjoy and private clients of Davy Stockbrokers.

Bulger said the cash for the Beach acquisition came from the company’s internal reserves. ‘‘We would like to get more funding for this year, but we are assuming that there is no money out there. This all has to be financed from our own cash reserves and revenue coming in,” he said.

Duolog has raised €4.5 million since it was set up by Bulger and non-executive director Mark O’Donovan in 1999. It employs 85 people, 12 in Dublin with the rest split evenly between its Galway plant and a Budapest operation opened in 2003.

‘‘All the R&D, development, support and deployment is done from Galway. We have value-added, supply-end services which are done from Budapest. This has helped to reduce our costs, as the costs in Ireland were too high,” Bulger said.

Bulger said Duolog initially provided 3G mobile services, before switching to wireless data technology after 2001, and then launching its current range of EDA tools last March. Such flexibility is critical for growth in the high-tech field, Bulger said, particularly given current difficulties.’ ‘Technology companies have to be flexible, as markets can change by the month,” he said.

‘‘It is tighter out there than it has ever been, but if you show people a way to save money, they will spend money. If you have the technology, the R&D, and you can develop a best-in class value proposition, the sales will come.”

The Sunday Business Post