Back in mid December 2022, TSS was interviewed by the City of Markham. Below is the featured article published recently.
The Six Semiconductor - A Technology Company on a Mission to Make Advances in Semiconductor IP Design
Business Profile Apr 12, 2023
The Six Semiconductor Inc. (TSS) is a Markham-based technology company specializing in developing advanced Double Data Rate Physical Layer (DDR PHY) technology. DDR PHY is a crucial component in memory subsystems that enables high-speed data transfer between the memory controller and the Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM). DRAM is a specific type of RAM (random access memory). TSS's DDR PHY technology is designed to be highly flexible and both power and area-efficient, making it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications such as mobile devices, embedded systems, and automotive applications.
Its innovative approach to memory subsystem architecture has made them a standout in the industry, leading to a strategic partnership with South Korea-based Openedges Technologies in 2019. Today, TSS operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Openedges in Markham as it continues to make advances in semiconductor IP design.
Founded in 2018, TSS is a relatively newer player in the industry — but its founding team has been working together for almost two decades. TSS's five founders first met while working at ATI Technologies in Markham. Richard Fung, co-founder and CEO of TSS, said the spark to create their own venture was the introduction of a new memory standard.
"We saw a window of opportunity and decided to seize it. We had reached a point in our lives where we wanted to create something unique—a company that provides technology to address computational challenges in the world," said Fung.
TSS designs advanced high-speed physical layer technology for connecting DRAM memory to computer processors and licenses the technology to System-on-a-Chip (SoC) customers. It's a highly specialized IP, and Fung said that, including TSS, only a handful of companies worldwide license advanced DDR PHY IPs. It was TSS's expertise that drew the attention of Openedges.
"Our companies have a synergistic relationship. TSS specializes in developing the DDR physical layer while Openedges specializes in creating the memory controller, network-on-chip (NoC) IP, and neural processing unit (NPU) IP. Together, we offer a complete memory subsystem and a set of AI platform IPs to our customers, which they can use to create advanced SoC," Fung stated.
Having five founders might seem like a challenging organizational structure, but Fung said their individual expertise and experience complement each other. "We have collaborated effectively over the years. Our focus is on finding solutions and building a strong organization, rather than competing for power. Each of us brings a unique set of skills and expertise to the table," Fung stated.
TSS is currently staffed by 36 dedicated professionals and interns from renowned universities. According to Fung, “our location in Markham, near some of Canada's premier higher education institutions, allows us to attract and retain a steady stream of highly-skilled engineering students for internships.”
"We are starting to bring in more and more each year. We've had students from the University of Toronto, Queen's University, McMaster, and Toronto Metropolitan University. For 2023, we've hired 16 already," Fung said.
In addition to our internship program, TSS is committed to hiring recent graduates for full-time positions. According to Fung, there is a significant imbalance in the industry, with fewer students choosing hardware careers than software careers. TSS is working to address this by offering career opportunities for new graduates in the hardware engineering field.
"We're trying to change that. We're trying to bring in younger students or graduates to start doing hardware development right out of school," Fung said.
Markham is an ideal location for a semiconductor startup due to its proximity to top-ranked universities, a robust semiconductor ecosystem, government support, proximity to Toronto and well-developed infrastructure. It offers access to a steady stream of talented engineers, networking and partnership opportunities, funding and support, and all the necessary resources to run a technology-based business.
"I like being in Markham," Fung said. "It's a tech hub with many things around us — restaurants, entertainment, and great people."
To learn more about The Six Semiconductor, visit thesixsemi.com.