putting your money where your mouth is

Growing up in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan in the 1950s and 60s, we had a lot of common games and phrases that have since disappeared from our modern lexicon. If you have never played “stoop ball” or “ring-o-levio”, or never owned a “spaldeen” or a “pea shooter”, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, so pay close attention… Back in the day, a common term used to respond to someone bragging about something was to say “Put your money where your mouth is”, meaning it is easy to “talk the talk” but much more impressive to put cash (finances) behind your statement.

For example, it was easy for a kid to say “I can climb over that fence in two minutes flat!”, but much more impressive to say “Bet you 5 bucks I can climb over that fence in 2 minutes.” If you said the former the group response would be “Put your money where your mouth is!” If you said the latter you put the pressure back on the group to accept your claim or take your bet.

Early last year we spent a lot of time recanting how the “neighborhood kids” were giggling behind Intel’s back at their stumbling at the 10nm node. In IFTLE 494 (“Intel Accelerated-Becoming a foundry and Onshoring”) we discussed how Intel was promising to make a comeback.

In IFTLE 496 we discussed Intel‘s announcement that they were going to build a US mega-FAB “somewhere in the US” in support of their activities to bring about “US reshoring”.

Well, by now we all know that Intel has just announced that they will invest more than $20B to build two new factories and establish a new “epicenter for advanced chipmaking” in that “bastion of microelectronics expertise” (yes that’s tongue in cheek) Columbus, OH.

Now that’s certainly, without a doubt, what my old neighborhood friends would call putting your money where your mouth is.

To support the development of the new site, Intel has pledged an additional $100 million toward partnerships with educational institutions to build a pipeline of talent and bolster research programs in the region.

Planning for the first two factories is starting immediately, with construction expected to begin late in 2022. Production is expected to come online in 2025.

In addition, the investment is expected to attract dozens of ecosystem partners. Air Products, Applied Materials, LAM and Ultra Clean Technology have indicated plans to establish a presence in the region to support the site, with more companies expected in the future.

In IFTLE 494 we also discussed Intel’s announced actions they were going to make including becoming a US-based foundry service for chips and advanced packaging. Anyone who understands our industry knows this would be hard for Intel to accomplish alone. Ecosystem partners would have to make similar moves and that meant that they (the ecosystem) would need to be sure Intel was not just “talking the talk”. Once again Intel has come through putting their money where their mouth is.”

Intel Launches $1 Billion Fund to Build a Foundry Innovation Ecosystem

Well, Intel just announced that Intel Capital / Intel Foundry Services (IFS) have set up a $1B fund to support early-stage startups and established companies building disruptive technologies for the foundry ecosystem.

The fund will reportedly “…prioritize investments in capabilities that accelerate foundry customers’ time to market – spanning intellectual property (IP), software tools, innovative chip architectures, and advanced packaging technologies”. It is hoped that this $1B fund will drive innovation in the foundry ecosystem.

Intel reportedly felt that a robust ecosystem is critical to helping foundry customers bring their designs to life using IFS technologies. The new innovation fund will function in multiple ways:

  • Equity investments in disruptive startups.
  • Strategic investments to accelerate partner scale-up.
  • Ecosystem investments to develop disruptive capabilities supporting IFS customers.

A key part of the IFS strategy is to offer a broad range of leadership IP optimized for Intel process technologies. IFS is the only foundry to offer IP optimized for all three of the industry’s leading Instruction set architectures: x86, Arm and RISC-V.

As readers of IFTLE know, with the advent of advanced 3D packaging technologies, chip architects are increasingly adopting a modular approach to design partitioning complex semiconductors into “chiplets.” Modular architectures require an open ecosystem since the approach brings together design IP and process technologies from multiple vendors. We also know that Intel has been committed to partnering to develop an open standard for a die-to-die interconnect that allows chiplets to communicate with each other at high speeds, that will enable interoperable chiplets from different foundries and process nodes to be packaged using a wide variety of technologies.

Intel to Acquire TowerJazz

Finally, on Feb 15th Intel announced that it’s acquiring Israeli company Tower Semiconductor for $5.4B. Tower, headquartered in Israel, specializes in making analog chips used in cars, mobile devices, and in industrial, medical, and military sectors. The companies said it could take a year for the deal to close

Again, they are certainly “putting their money where their mouth is.”…BRAVO Intel

For all the latest on advanced packaging stay linked to IFTLE……………..

Phil Garrou

Dr. Philip Garrou is a subject matter expert for DARPA and runs his consulting company…

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