Newsletter View

Newsletter December 2009


Brian R. Hamel, CEO, Nanochronous Logic

Brian R. Hamel is CEO of Nanochronous Logic, a highly specialised software company based in California with a research centre on the island of Crete. Mr. Hamel likens the potential of technology development in Greece to that of Israel, which has leveraged its small size, flexibility, and intellectual capital into a dynamic technological catalyst.

Nanochronous is a California based company but has roots in Greece. How is that?

The core research came out of Greece. Professor Christos Sotiriou has been working at FORTH-ICS on Crete for a number of years with a team of students to develop the technology. 
What is the technology that you develop and what markets do you serve?

Our technology is targeted to the Engineering Design Automation market. It’s basically software that allows you to architect and model silicon speed and functionality and prove that it will work as you expect before building the silicon itself.  A parallel would be that of building a house. There are a number of different things that need to be designed, such as the overall floorplan, plumbing, lighting, where the windows go, kitchen…  A chip is similar and our software focuses on one specific aspect of that. 
Our customers are any company that builds silicon – companies such as Intel, ST, Qualcomm, Nvidia, Samsung.
You also have a research centre in Crete. What are the advantages of this set up? Did you benefit from incentives or did you receive any assistance in this venture?

There are a few key benefits to being on Crete:
• It’s an economic development region in Greece that has government money available to technology companies that look to build teams there
• The labour rates are attractive
• Ties to University of Crete help us to cultivate additional talent

We were awarded a grant from the Corallia Program, which was a great incentive to stay in the region. Hopefully, Greece continues to provide such economic support to companies.
How does the research centre operate in relation to the company and are you happy with the value it provides the company?

The research centre in Crete is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nanochronous Logic USA.  This is a common structure that’s used with other collocated companies, such as ones that have research in Israel and Corporate Headquarters in the US.
Greece produces quite a large number of scientists and science graduates. Do you believe the level of research by the scientists is something that other companies could benefit from?

My impression is that there are some very talented researchers in Greece and some great work that has been done. Whether this research has any market value has to be further analysed. I think it’s critical that if any of these people want to turn their research into a company that develops products for a market and customer base, they need to make it a high priority to do a few things:
• Partner with an individual or group that has a strong business background and experience in building companies
• Make sure that your research is being driven by initial customers so that when the product is complete, someone is there to buy it
• Provide incentives to attract partners to your technology and the region – make it easy to engage and do business!

Brian R. Hamel
Brian R. Hamel has 20 years of experience in technology, both in HW & SW and has a Sales, Business Development and Venture Capital background. Mr. Hamel created and launched the Cadence Corporate Venture Capital practice and has analysed and advised well over 100 startups on business formation, raising institutional as well as corporate capital and taking products to market. He has built a  multinational investment portfolio of 20 semiconductor, system and software startups and held multiple board /board observer seats. Mr. Hamel is active with early stage startups in the social networking and Ecommerce space as well. He is a Mentor at Stanford University, Technology Venture Formation Program, Graduate School of Engineering and at Stanford University, Graduate School of Business – Venture Formation. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering, Worchester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, Massachusetts and MBA studies at University of San Francisco, specialising in International Business.