Design007 Magazine

PCBD-Nov2015

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30 The PCB Design Magazine • November 2015 needed, whether it was CAD components, sche- matic symbols, PCB footprints, reference designs and simulation models, and provided transpar- ency into quality. However, I decided to wait un- til I had more skills and experience, so I shelved the idea. As I continued working full-time, the library creation and data management problem kept popping up in conversations with designers. I also saw first-hand how frustrating the design process could be without readily available librar- ies, while creating demo boards for trade shows. After a few years of working full-time, the need on all sides of the industry became clear so I decided to start the company. SnapEDA was launched in beta in October 2013, and raised some funding in May 2015, which is when I started working on the company full-time. Since then, our user base of thousands of registered engineers globally has grown over five-fold. See- ing the value that we're providing to designers, semiconductor companies, or EDA companies is extremely rewarding. Shaughnessy: What's your company's "sweet spot," so to speak? Baker: SnapEDA is focused exclusively on pro- viding electronics design data compatible with popular EDA tools, including Cadence's OrCAD and Allegro, Altium, Eagle, Mentor's PADS, KiCad, and Pulsonix. Engineers use our platform to find CAD components, schematic symbols, and PCB footprints, so this is currently our fo- cus, although we'd like to expand to simulation models and reference designs going forward. What differentiates us most is our growing focus on automation technology to create and vet CAD files. One example of this is our recent- ly introduced Verification Checker, which uses a series of algorithms to uncover common manu- facturing issues. For example, the Checker can tell whether the centroid of a PCB footprint is at 0,0, which is crucial for pick-and-place ma- chines, and flag when there is silkscreen over- lapping copper. From a business perspective, SnapEDA is building the most targeted user base of design engineers worldwide who are at the pivotal stage of selecting components for their designs. This is particularly interesting for semiconduc- tor companies looking to increase design wins as the electronics industry gets more diverse. Most of our users are at mid-sized estab- lished companies in a broad range of indus- tries, including industrial control, medical de- vices and consumer electronics. There is also a growing group of smaller organizations using SnapEDA to create connected devices. For ex- ample, SnapEDA has been used within Sam- sung's Think Tank (the group that produced the Galaxy Gear), as well as startups like TeaBOT, which produces a robotic tea machine. Shaughnessy: how did you develop such a large library of footprints and schematic symbols? Baker: Our data comes from a variety of sourc- es, including data we've created internally, manufacturer and partner-provided data, and user-generated content. Engineers have told us they want more manufacturer-supplied con- tent. So we've been partnering with companies like Texas Instruments, GaN Systems, and Ac- celerated Designs (a company that works with many semiconductor companies to create CAD libraries) to provide this. Shaughnessy: some engineers say that they spend a lot of wasted effort on footprints. do you find that to be the case? Baker: The Aberdeen Group has estimated that engineers spend nearly half of their days creat- SNAPEDA: THE FEMALE-OWNED STARTuP REvOLuTIONIzING CAD DATA Natasha Baker with software developer Garret Fick. feature interview

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