Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan: A Visionary Industry Leader Contributing Towards Shaping The Future Of Semiconductor Ecosystem In India | CEOInsights Vendor
Vishwanath  Ananthakrishnan: A Visionary Industry Leader Contributing Towards Shaping The Future Of Semiconductor Ecosystem In India

Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan: A Visionary Industry Leader Contributing Towards Shaping The Future Of Semiconductor Ecosystem In India

Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan,   Senior Vice President & General Manager

Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan

Senior Vice President & General Manager

Without them today’s world will come to a standstill: these tiny semiconductor chips, made up of millions of transistors are the building blocks of modern electronics from smartphones and laptops to automobiles and medical equipment. With their potential to process terabytes of data at lightning speed, they are advancing fields like artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and the Internet of Things. Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan is a prominent figure in the Indian chip industry ecosystem. He has played a vital role in building and leading world-class R&D teams that fuel the development of these next-gen chips.

Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Mirafra Technologies is a dynamic and accomplished leader. With nearly two decades of experience in the semiconductor industry, including his time at SGI, USA, Chelsio, and now at Mirafra, he has extensive experience in developing next-generation supercomputing and networking chips.In recent years, he has established, led, and grown cutting-edge technology verticals including profit and loss ownership. He has built a reputation for himself as a visionary leader who is not afraid to take on challenges and push boundaries. Below is an excerpt of Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan’s exclusive interaction with CEO Insights magazine.

As a new-age leader, what is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?
As part of the core team of an amazing company, we have been able to grow Mirafra nearly 20x in the time that I have been associated with it. It is now one of India's largest standalone semiconductor companies. That in itself is an experience like no other. And there’s much more to achieve too. The freedom that I have at Mirafra to chart my own path and take the initiatives needed to reach the next level of operations drives me forward in my pursuit of excellence. As leaders, we are constantly striving and strategizing to achieve our larger ambitions for the company, while the daily challenges and small victories keep us on our toes.

It is also a great thrill knowing that I have been able to,through my contributions over the years, have a significant influence on the trajectory of the company. This has been reflected in the range of technology verticals that we have diversified into and continue to build capacity and capability in, the wide variety of customers we engage with, the financial growth and stability of the business itself, and the trust, respect, and bonding that our employees have with the company and in our leadership. Thanks to a wonderful team led by our passionate and visionary Founders Alok Kuchlous and Shyam Padala, Mirafra is today recognized as one of the most reputed and awarded companies in the semiconductor world. This in turn is an incentive to keep raising the bar. I believe in growth mindset which in itself is a great motivator. Being able
to positively influence the careers of young engineers and leaders, and helping them fulfill their dreams is the icing on the cake!

How would you define Mirafra Technologies as an organization, its technology framework, and its current position in the market?
Mirafra is a product engineering services company headquartered in Bangalore, India, with a global presence spanning multiple cities in India, the US, and Europe. Mirafra started its journey in 2004, with a vision to be a leader in the product engineering space, a company that the customers can turn to get their most difficult problems solved.

Being a part of this industry & company is both motivating & fulfilling, & the possibilities for growth & impact are endless

Our customers include more than 30 Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies as well as Silicon Valley startups. Our ability to attract the best talent, the emphasis on quality, coupled with our strategy to adapt and diversify both the business portfolio and technology offerings have seen our company grow into a market leader in this niche area.

Mirafra possesses end-to-end capabilities right from specification to silicon for ultra complex SoCs for domains like AI, Mobile, Data Centre, Processor, Networking, Automotive, and more. Our teams can develop micro architecture, code RTL, perform verification from scratch, prototype and emulate the designs, do the physical implementation, and post silicon validation, either in-house or onsite for customers. The engineers are backed by best-in-class training programs for both technical and soft skills. We also possess strong expertise in software services.

Mirafra is committed to open source and contributing through giving back to the engineering community and academia. For this, we have implemented programs like mBits and Manipal Centre of Excellence, and more. This reflects our dedication to the growth and development of the industry.

Could you speak about the emerging trends in the semiconductor industry and what the future looks like?
Could you speak about the emerging trends in the semiconductor industry and what the future looks The global semiconductor industry is projected to become a trillion-dollar industry by 2030 amid megatrends that include remote working, AI, cloud computing, smartphones, edge computing, autonomous driving, and e-mobility. The demand for chips is increasing rapidly, with the automobile industry providing a perfect case study from being mechanical-centric they now have a semiconductor BOM of 20-30 percent depending on the type of car and the features it offers. According to a study by MCKINSEY on the automotive industry, thanks to the advances in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), the automotive software and electronics market is expected to reach $450 billion by 2030 growing at a rate of 5.5 percent CAGR, whereas the overall automotive market itself is projected to grow only at 1 percent CAGR.

AI is another sector that relies heavily on semiconductors, with deep learning becoming one of the most compute intensive workloads. The demand for AI computing in the form of GPUs and accelerators to train the largest deep learning
models is doubling every 3.5 months, spurring tremendous advancements in chip design technologies.

There are also advancements happening in the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry with the introduction of advanced AI-powered tools that could accelerate chip design and optimize performance. On the fabrication side, technology nodes continue to shrink in accordance with Moore’s Law, leading to the Angstrom era and higher transistor packing density. Open standards are gaining momentum, with RISC-V gaining popularity as an open source specification of an ISA. This could mean a significant acceleration of innovation in embedded processors.

In what could be a game changer for India, the government is investing in setting up semiconductor fabrication units as well as taking initiatives to spur chip design startups. Producing engineers at an unmatched scale is another unique advantage we possess. The move by some companies to shift design R&D and manufacturing out of neighboring geographies and into emerging markets like India is also in our favor.

As a recent MCKINSEY report says, despite short term volatility due to supply demand mismatches and a changing global economic and geopolitical outlook, the outlook for the semiconductor industry looks bright. There is projected to be a need for 50 percent more semiconductor professionals by the end of this decade as per research done by Deloitte, which could translate roughly into a million additional engineers globally. This decade could well be the Semiconductor Decade.

Tell us about your leadership approach. What are the guidelines or methodologies you follow to lead your team?
I firmly believe in taking people along on initiatives rather than pushing things through unilaterally. It is exciting to see a lot of these initiatives being adopted across groups. I lead by example, demonstrating a work ethic, commitment, professionalism, and a culture of excellence. I value open-mindedness and creative input, regardless of seniority.

I believe in empowering leaders to make decisions and take ownership of their roles while ensuring that they feel comfortable, secure and rewarded. Honesty and transparency are traits that I put a high price on for fostering an environment of trust.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?
I am at the intersection of technology and business. Along with the leadership team and our talented group of engineers, I am aiming to take Mirafra to global number one. Given the criticality of the industry to the country, I hope to make a strong contribution to this sector and its value addition to India. I am also committed to learning new skills and exploring my passions outside of work.

Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Mirafra Technologies
Vishwanath Ananthakrishnan is a highly accomplished senior executive with extensive experience in the semiconductor industry. He holds a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from SUNY, Buffalo, specializing in deep submicron VLSI designs, and a Bachelor's degree in Engineering from SRM Engineering College, University of Madras. With a passion for innovation and a track record of success in leading highperforming teams, Vishwanath has played a key role in the development and verification of next generation chips.

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