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Cynergy closure casts shadow on C design market

Posted: 11 Feb 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cynergy system design? c language? design tool? verilog? eda?

Cynergy System Design, a provider of C language design tools, has run out of cash and is closing its doors, according to a former executive. Cynergy's failure follows by three months the closure of C Level Design Inc., and casts further doubt on the health of the C language design market.

"We basically hit a cash flow crunch, and thought we'd do an orderly termination of business," said Steven Smith, Cynergy's former chief technology officer. "We just weren't getting the sales traction we needed."

Smith expressed confidence that someone will acquire Cynergy's technology, and said that Thomas Conn, Cynergy's chief executive officer, is engaged in discussions with possible buyers. Conn was not immediately available for comment.

At its peak last year, Cynergy employed 43 people in Austin, Texas and in India, Smith said. Customers included Toshiba, Motorola, Intel, Hughes Network Systems, and Matsushita. A round of venture funding pumped $4.5 million into the company in July 2000.

But in 2001 the company hit a "steady downward trend," Smith said, and went through two rounds of layoffs before the end of January 2002, when the staff was cut to two?Conn and an administrator.

Cynergy, formerly known as CAE Plus, developed a register transfer-level C design methodology called RTL-C. Its ArchGen product offered automatic synthesis of RTL-C, and its Afterburner product provided Verilog-to-RTL-C translation.

The demise of C Level Design, which had gained visibility as a provider of C language design tools, presaged the fall of Cynergy. In November 2001, C Level Design announced it would cease operations and sell its technology to Synopsys Inc. At the time, the company cited a venture capital squeeze, as opposed to malaise in the C language design market.

Little demand

But lack of demand for C language design tools was a problem for Cynergy, Smith said. "My sense is that system-level design is lagging EDA as a whole," he said. "What we're seeing is that there's no crisis that's forcing people to adopt these tools. We're seeing early adopters play with the tools, but beyond that, we were not having great luck."

Smith said he believes the C language design tool market will improve when there's a clear path to C language synthesis. He also suggested that EDA companies providing system-level design tools need to pay more attention to the embedded software development market.

Cynergy was founded by Prem Jain in 1988. The company changed its name from CAE Plus to Cynergy in September 2000, and announced a new business model aimed at embedded software developers. Cynergy's venture capital backers include Broadband Venture Partners, Motorola, and Toshiba.

? Richard Goering

EE Times

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