The Next Revolution is Coming
Updated: Aug 21, 2020
On Aug 3rd, Galaxy Semiconductor officially “closed the deal,” making us an independent entity once again: ready and eager to be back serving our customers and innovating new solutions to meet the needs of the ever-changing semiconductor industry.
While most know a truncated version of the story that brought us here, very few know the specifics. I (Cat McWhirter: Marketing Associate) sat down with CTO and CEO, Philippe Lejeune and Wesley Smith respectively, to see if they wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about the journey that brought us to this point, and where they see Galaxy going in the future:
“To our existing customers and others in the industry, both of your names will ring a bell, but what are your stories? Who were you to the “original” Galaxy, and who are you to ‘Galaxy 2.0?’”
Philippe Lejeune: CTO
I was the Galaxy CEO for almost two decades, and now as Chairman I bring my experience to the board. I am now also the CTO and, having developed software solutions for the Semiconductor Industry for over 30 years, I’m happy to be operating once again in my original playground.
Wes Smith: CEO
I was hired by Galaxy in early 2008 as employee number seven. My job description at that time was to serve as a liaison between sales, primarily in the US, and product development, which was in France. I had the opportunity to travel to France and meet Philippe and his brilliant team a few weeks later, which is when I realized that we had something unique and special. Over the next 8 years, it was a privilege to be part of the team that grew the business more than 5x, resulting eventually in the sale to Mentor Graphics in October of 2016. The business ran into some unexpected external challenges, and in the Spring of 2019, Siemens’ leadership made the decision to ramp down the Galaxy products. In the Fall of 2019, they made the decision to divest the business.
“Now, I imagine it’s been quite a journey getting to this point. What made you want to revive Galaxy? What is it about Galaxy that made it worth the fight and uphill climb?”
It was an obvious decision: when you see the Galaxy portfolio, you understand the value it brings to the market for improving yield and time-to-market. When you see so many users return to Galaxy year after year, seeking new solutions for new needs and challenges, you know you’re doing something right.
“Having been through the last year and finally making it to closing, is there anything you wish you could go back and say to yourself? A year ago? 6 months ago? One month ago?”
This process for me was much more difficult and time consuming than I would have expected. There was more than one occasion when it looked as if things might fall completely apart. However, there were some pleasant surprises along the way too. Lots of people kindly offered help and support. Once the press release was published, I received lots of congratulatory messages and phone calls from people in the industry: old friends, colleagues, customers and even a few competitors. To answer your specific question:
A year ago, I might have told myself “This will be harder than you think; do it anyway.”
Six months ago, I might have told myself “Hang in there, there will be people who will surprise you with their kindness and support.”
One month ago I would have suggested to myself to take at least a full day off after closing. In retrospect, my brain was too scrambled to be of much use.
“Why should people choose Galaxy? What do you provide that’s unlike any other company?”
Nothing replaces field expertise and Galaxy has it: if you’re serious about data analytics and your business depends on it, you need a partner that masters a lot of fields. Anyone can plot a chart or crunch statistics in Excel for free, but when your company needs…
1. Automation over data flows…
2. Reliability of data lakes…
3. Scalability of the big data solutions…
…you’ve entered into a totally different field. You need reliable software to manage it. Galaxy has been around for over 20 years—that’s not just luck.
Additionally, the Galaxy team spirit is similar to that of a startup, and we like it that way! We have a lot of fun creating solutions to meet Semiconductor yield and quality-improvement needs. Customer satisfaction has always been our first priority and will continue to be so in Galaxy 2.0!
“What are you most excited about moving in 2021 as an independent entity?”
There is a unique and wonderful business opportunity in front of Galaxy. The volume and complexity of semiconductor test data continues to grow exponentially. We have industry reports indicating that the volume of data in our business grows by an order of magnitude every 18-24 months. There is already far too much data to reliably push to the cloud, so some other means is going to be required to extract valuable information from this data deluge. We’ve assembled a top notch team of some of the most experienced and capable people in this niche of semiconductor test data to go after this opportunity.
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about General Electric, and their big and expensive dream of transforming a century-old industrial conglomerate into a Silicon Valley unicorn. They spent a lot of money and hired a lot of people. The problem that GE ran into is that innovation doesn’t happen just because senior management decrees it.
Going into 2021, I’m eager to revive our spirit of innovation and creativity to take advantage of the business opportunity that’s in front of us.
We’re going to be able to sell and support our entire portfolio, including some high-value products that we’ve not been able to sell the last couple of years. We will all know who is responsible for what, and we’ll have access to all of the information needed to make decisions about the business. Finally, I’m looking forward to developing and selling once again the features and capabilities our customers are looking for.
“Can you give us an idea of what we can expect from Galaxy next?”
First things first, we want to make sure all existing customers are happy and taken care of. We are currently developing new products to address today’s new challenges: Processing much bigger data volumes faster, and accepting additional data formats from new data sources (we already accept over 100 different data formats, but there are always new ones that key customers dearly need).
Our short term plan is to stabilize the business, and to take care of our existing customers. Many of them have a backlog of support requests that we’d like to work through. In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out incremental changes to our product portfolio in anticipation of a new analytics platform. We are going to build a next generation data management and analytics system that will make anything else in this space appear clunky and obsolete.
“Anything else you’d like to say? Things you want the public to know about?”
In business like in life, people make the difference. This is what has always set Galaxy apart from the other players.
At the heart of it all, we’re reliable, operate with exceptional ethics, solve customer problems, deliver… we love our jobs. That makes all the difference.
In many ways, closing was a finish line. But in many more, it’s just the start. Twenty years ago, Galaxy Semiconductor was formed with the customer-centric mission to solve yield, productivity, and cost problems. After navigating some interesting twists and turns, with hard work and just a dash of luck, we’re back. We’re so glad to be here and even more grateful to have you join us. Thank you!