Last week, news broke that Siemens is acquiring the Cambridge based company and Cognidox client, UltraSoC, in a reported ‘multi-million’ pound deal.The German conglomerate is planning to integrate the UltraSoC SoC (System-on-Chip) tech into the Xcelerator portfolio of Mentor’s Tessent software product suite.
The story appeared across technology news sites last week, with several outlets talking about the role CEO Rupert Baines has played in transforming the fortunes of the company since his appointment.
From ‘technology’ to ‘product’ company
Baines joined the firm in 2015 with a mission to shift the brand from being a ‘technology company to a product company’. At the heart of this shift was the development of the commercialised product offering that has driven their business success and eventual acquisition:
“UltraSoC provides monitoring hardware that gets embedded directly in SoC designs enabling “fab-to-field” analytics capabilities.” said Baines in his company blog announcing the sale, “That embedded IP (intellectual property) can be used to accelerate silicon bring-up, optimize product performance, and confirm that devices are operating as designed for functional safety and cybersecurity purposes.”
And its access to this ‘Design for Lifecycle Management’ that has sealed the deal with Siemens.
Made in Cambridge - UltraSoC and Cognidox
Cognidox is proud to number UltraSoc amongst our clients and to have played a supporting role in another ‘Made in Cambridge’ tech success story. We’ve interviewed Rupert in the past about the benefits Cognidox bought to the UltraSoC business as he first began to professionalise the organisation and its product offerings.
“I joined UltraSoC with a mission of taking of what was a technology company and moving it into a product company, supporting customers and driving revenue”, he told us in 2018. “So, one of the first things I needed to do was introduce systems and processes to support becoming a proper product company. And one of the first choices I made in that was introducing Cognidox.”
Watch Rupert Baines talk about UltraSoC and Document Management here:
UltraSoC used Cognidox first for NPD document control - capturing requirements, specifications and engineering documentation, as they developed their proposition following Baines appointment. The effect was transformative:
“I was very pleasantly surprised at how quickly the engineers adopted it, how committed they were and how willing to use it. The fear with a tool like that [an Electronic Document Management System] was that it could be seen as an over head - painful, a hassle, a chore - and it wasn’t. It was very intuitive, very easy to use, and the engineers very much appreciated how it made their lives better and their engineering of higher quality.”
And the team went on to use Cognidox in a whole raft of other ways:
“Having introduced it for technical purposes within the engineering organisation, it has since become a major part of our marketing organisation... pushing content out onto the website and providing customer support. So, whenever material is updated with help sheets, specifications… it’s automatically pushed to an extranet and a customer has easy access to our latest material.’
Inspiration from UltraSoC
Reading about UltraSoC’s success on their blog and in the press last week, has been an inspiration. And it’s been interesting to reflect how Cognidox helped the UltraSoC team to take some of their early steps in marshalling their process and documentation as part of their drive to grow.
We’ve seen many times how putting in place a robust framework for this kind of organisational control early on - can help provide a solid foundation for a successful exit later.
In fact, over the years Cognidox has been the common factor in the successful exits of (among others), CSR, Neul and Mindspeed, who ended up in the hands of tech giants Qualcomm and Samsung, Huawei and Intel respectively.
And, while no M&A is easy, it’s always been our intention that the structure and control that Cognidox brings should make those critical moments in a company’s evolution less complex, more efficient and painless.