The Past

I’ve started as design engineer in a multinational corporation and ended as CEO of my own startup with 25 employees.

I developed my own computer platform that runs Linux. This included a new 32-bit processor architecture and a C compiler. First incarnation was called OpenRISC, and eventually I founded my own startup Beyond Semiconductor that brought this processor family to the market as commercial product. The highlight was when Sony Ericsson used my processor in their K550i mobile phones.

I started Digital/SOC semiconductor industry in Slovenia.

I created the largest world wide open source community for development and distribution of semiconductor IP cores. Its called OpenCores.Org.

» Business and Organizational Skills

  • Middle management in large corporate environments
  • CEO level in start-ups
  • Building and running teams
  • Partners and Tier-1 customers relationship management
  • Business development, marketing, sales and Tier-1 contract negotiations
  • Working across and managing multi-site engineering teams

» Engineering Skills

full list

  • Systems and Protocols
  • SW Development
  • HW Development
  • Semiconductors

OpenCores, 1999 - 2007

I’ve founded OpenCores in October 1999, as an open source community for development and distribution of VHDL/Verilog IP cores – building blocks of semiconductor chips.

It soon became world wide known by ASIC and FPGA engineers. Within the 2006 alone, more than 5000 different companies have downloaded IP from OpenCores. On an average month, 80,000 engineers and others visited OpenCores web site and generated 7.5 million web hits and 2.8 million page views. More than a million engineers from more than 10,000 organizations world wide have downloaded IP from OpenCores in the first 8 years of its existence. OpenCores users include:

  • ASIC companies that need IP for their SOC/ASIC projects
  • OEM systems engineers using IP for FPGA based systems designs
  • EDA companies looking for variety of IP for testing their design flows
  • Semiconductor foundries looking for IP for testing their manufacturing processes
  • Universities using IP in their electrical engineering and computer science classes
As part of OpenCores, I have also developed a 32-bit embedded RISC/DSP processor platform. This platform is known as the OpenRISC, and it can run either Linux or RedHat’s eCos RTOS. I’ve developed the first port of GNU toolchain (C compiler, Linker, Assembler) and architectural simulator or1ksim.

Since its conception in 1999, the OpenRISC processor has been used in many products by different companies. It has been implemented in SOC/ASICs from 0.18um to 90nm and on FPGAs. It has been even considered as Xilinx’s embedded processor until Xilinx decided to develop their own Microblaze processor.

» Articles published about OpenCores

published in EE Times

published in Elektronik Tidningen

» More frequent organizations downloading from OpenCores include:

  • Actel Corp
  • Agere Systems Ltd
  • Altera Corp
  • more

Beyond Semiconductor, 2005 - 2007

I’ve co-founded Beyond Semiconductor to commercialize the OpenRISC platform. We rebranded the OpenRISC as the BA1 architecture and BA12 processor. We created a portfolio of peripheral cores and a set of SOC reference designs. The next step was development of the BA2 family, a successor to the BA1/OpenRISC family.

Some of the customers of Beyond Semiconductor include: ChipX, Ericsson, e3C, Jennic, Klavis Technologies.

Flextronics Slovenia & Flextronics Semiconductor, 2001 - 2005

There were several challenges working for Flextronics, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers.

First, I got an opportunity to convince Flextronics to open a semiconductor design center in Slovenia. This was much harder than it sounds – because Slovenia had virtually no semiconductor industry. I convienced Flextronics to invest $2 million USD, and I've raised a $1 million USD from the Slovenian government. This is how we started and got state of the art semiconductor tools, usually exclusively found in large semiconductor companies. In the following years I have raised another $3 million USD in investments.

Second, I had to juggle between different roles. I was managing director of the Flextronics Slovenia design center and at the same time I was also responsible for Flextronics’ European SOC semiconductor engineering activities, and had 20 on staff. On one side I was involved in all business activities of European and Slovenian activities, such as pre-sales and sales activities, reporting to the parent company, administrative and human resources activities. On the other side I was also involved in all major technical discussion in our SOC/ASIC/FPGA/System projects. During my years at Flextronics, I have done a lot of traveling around Europe, to the US and Israel.

We had very diverse projects, from FPGA based system projects for Siemens, to pure SOC projects using at the time leading edge 180nm standard cell based CMOS technology. Very often the project did not only involve a SOC/ASIC, but also an FPGA prototype, system board design and software+operating system development.

My last project was an imagining chip – used in the camera of this Sony Ericsson mobile phone. The imaging expertise developed during this project formed the foundation for the imaging group of Insilica Inc.

In 2004, Flextronics International decided to sell its Flextronics Semiconductor division. My design center was sold to Insilica Inc – I stayed during the transition period and then decided it is time to start something of my own. The next step was Beyond Semiconductor, with intention to see how the OpenRISC can be commercialized.

» Articles about Flextronics Slovenia (in Slovenian language)

published in Delo
publ. in Dnevnik

publ. in Finance
publ. in Večer

published in Playboy

Zilog, 2000

An excellent opportunity for me to work in Silicon Valley for a world wide known company. I worked in the microcontroller design, and the plan was to get my 32-bit OpenRISC platform (see OpenCores) to a stage where Zilog could migrate from their 8/16-bit processors to my 32-bit OpenRISC platform.

However Zilog’s peak was in the eighties and the company was becoming a dinosaur in the 32-bit era of MIPS and ARM. Company was operating in a survival mode and my project was not getting the kind of attention it should, plus I had an open invitation from Flextronics.

Digital Development, 1998

Company focus was development of telecommunication systems. I’ve headed the system software department. The majority of software development was on low level such as device drivers and porting board support packages, getting different telecommunication protocols to work together etc. The underlaying hardware systems were based on Motorola (now Freescale) PowerQUICC families and Texas Instruments DSPs.

After about a year, I outgrew the challenges at Digital and I knew it was time to move on and try something on my own. A few months later I started OpenCores.

Early years, 1997 and before

I worked part time for various companies during my student years, learning SW programming and HW development skills and getting ready for the big game. I had a wonderful experience at ARNES - Academic and research network of Slovenia.