Naveed Sherwani: A Veteran of the Semiconductor Industry, Empowering Innovation Based on Silicon

Naveed Sherwani

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The Formation of a Remarkable Personality

Tell us about your early career influences that shaped your personality today.

I think I am one of the most fortunate people in the world, having received exceptional guidance from my parents and teachers. The incredible support of my parents is the prime reason behind my success today. They were extremely dedicated towards education, and this helped me a lot in life. Likewise, one of my teachers— Dr. David Klarner, taught me to figure out what I want in life. He suggested I make a skill matrix comprising of skills and knowledge and the essential qualities that I possess and lack. That skill matrix further enabled me to identify the gaps in my knowledge and improve accordingly. Today, if anybody asks me about how they can achieve something in life, I encourage them to draw a skill matrix and ask them to self-evaluate that. I think Dr. David Klarner made it very simple to understand where I am right now and where I want to go and how can I use the skill matrix to go there. I would also like to convey my gratitude to Dr. Vishwani Agrawal and Dr. C. L. Liu, both of whom played a crucial role in guiding and pushing me to achieve more in life.

The Keen Logical Nature of People is Driving the Semiconductor Industry

How was your experience in the semiconductor industry?

When I joined the industry in the 1980’s, it was the sector made of people who were very mathematical, logical, and engineering-oriented. Even in today’s fast-paced business environment, the remarkable progress in the semiconductor industry is due to the nature of the people who are very keen on utilizing their logical or mathematical skills to develop something useful and innovative.

In my professional career, I have a long track record of founding numerous startups. Previously, I have worked at Intel and founded around nine companies including Open-Silicon in Bangalore and Silicon Valley. After I left Open-Silicon and joined as the CEO of SiFive, and we further acquired Open-Silicon.

One can Make a Difference with a Passion to do it!

What drives you to innovate and lead a company like SiFive?

Passion! In life, I follow a simple rule—I work only on those projects that I am passionate about. I follow this practice in my profession, personal life, and in charity work. Anybody who knows me well understands that when I am not interested in something then I am simply not interested. However, if I have a passion to do something, I put my heart and soul into it. Thus, if I am working on something that I am passionate about, I do it with full dedication and ensure that it will make a positive difference.

Mission to Democratize Silicon-based Innovation Worldwide

Enlighten us about the journey of SiFive.

SiFive was formed by the inventors of the RISC-V architecture and makes semiconductors based on RISC-V technology. The Custom SoC Division (Previously: Open-Silicon) of SiFive designs these semiconductors. We are dedicated to providing a cloud-based solution for cores, blocks and chips, which will be available anywhere in the world. We are currently operating in two businesses—the first one is selling the IPs and the second is to design and manufacture silicon chips.

We want to democratize innovation based on silicon, because today, silicon-based R&D is restricted to a few cities in the U.S., a couple of cities in India, and China. We see a world where the innovation based on silicon will take place in hundreds of cities. In order to enable such mass innovation, we have put it on the cloud and are actively educating people on how to contribute and participate in this noble cause. We believe that SiFive will change the world with its open-source offerings because it will allow the introduction of innovative products and new services in the market.

Further, to spread the awareness and foster education about SiFive’s technologies and advance deeper collaboration within the hardware community, we have organized a SiFive Tech Symposium tour in most of the APAC countries. Starting from Tokyo on June 11th, the tour will be held in the leading cities of APAC like Daejeon, Pangyo of South Korea (17th – 18th June), Hsinchu of Taiwan (18th June), Singapore (19th June), and Sydney, Australia on 21st June 2019.

My Net Earning is all the Top Teams that I have worked with

What are the proudest achievements of your life?

The RISC-V architecture is receiving significant attention from all over the world. For instance, the government of India recently realized the potential of RISC-V, and has become the world’s first country to declare it as its national ISA. The country has also launched the Shakti Processor Program at IIT Madras to develop applications using the RISC-V open-standard architecture that makes designing of processors cheaper and more secure. IIT Madras named it “Desi Chip” and is fundamentally based on the RISC-V architecture and was entirely invented by the founders of SiFive at the University of California, Berkley. The RISC-V architecture provides full control to the users due to its open-source capabilities. With SiFive’s support, one doesn’t need to depend on expensive repository architectures anymore.

This growth is fascinating! In a short span of 12 months, we have made huge progress in the valuation of SiFive. It has gone up by 11x and we have raised over $125 million and also added 400 new people to our workforce.

Another one of my proudest achievements is working with my fellow colleagues. When someone asks me what is the greatest thing that I’ve earned in life, I say, “My net earnings is all the top teams in the world that I had worked with, and currently working with, because I have achieved so much with them.”

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West has been driving the business world owing to its developed economies. The leading part of the world is straining to sustain its dominance. However, the other parts of the world, especially Asia Pacific region have been displaying escalating growth in terms of business and technological advancements.

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