Rick Merritt, EETimes
5/15/2014 12:40 PM EDT
SAN JOSE, Calif. — Sundari Mitra wants to change the way SoCs are designed with her new interconnect startup, NetSpeed Systems. Unlike her company, which is just emerging from stealth mode, in some ways female executives in the semiconductor industry are always under a spotlight.
"In the initial part of my career, it took double the work to prove I could compete with the men who dominate this industry. Once you demonstrate that, people don't forget you," said Mitra, a 25-plus-year veteran of the semiconductor industry. "There are so few of us in this industry -- I am an Indian woman executive -- that I don't have to do much for people not to forget me."
It's a double-edged sword. "Being a [chief] sales person for my company, it's a great advantage. They don't forget anything I do." However, "I always have to deliver and be correct."
Mitra started her career in the 1980s as an analog and mixed-signal chip designer on the Intel 286. Later she spent 12 years at Sun Microsystems, where she moved into management. When the company fell on hard times, she took an exit package and considered her next move.
"I was sitting in Silicon Valley and had never done a startup," she said. "It was like living on the beach and not going in the water."
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