A Lifetime of Innovation
Lucio Lanza is nothing short of a legend. He moved to Silicon Valley in the 1970s for Olivetti, then worked for the most prestigious industry players, including Intel, and is now driving his own technology venture fund. The list of his accomplishment is incredible and I believe he is one of the most respected and recognized investors in Silicon Valley.
Lucio Lanza has the best pure marketing and sales instincts and is the highest value-add investor that I’ve ever seen in action in the board room. He is much more hands-on than a typical investor, analytically thinking inside the box as well as creatively thinking outside the box, where he considers things that no other investor thinks about.
Most of us in the industry are aware of Lucio’s qualifications as a visionary, leader and technology investor.
… He has an uncanny ability to identify promising young technologists and to provide much needed mentoring as they develop their ideas and bring them to market.
… The service that he provides to the companies that he mentors is invaluable to the world’s semiconductor industry. Progress in our industry depends on vision and new ideas. Many of the most important semiconductor technologies developed over the last 20 years or more, can be directly traced to Lucio.
Denali was privately funded and we never accepted venture investment. In spite of that, Lucio was very generous with his time and advice during all my days running Denali. I like to think that he was one of my most influential mentors.
Lucio had a true gift for anticipating the products and technologies that would soon be needed by our customers. Sometimes his insights were controversial but his predictions were always right on. His skills allowed Cadence to establish more effective product roadmaps and to identify and execute strategic, high-value acquisitions. Thanks to his help, we were able to build and confidently grow our position as a technology and business leader.
… These days, when I talk to a young EDA or IP startup I hear about Lucio. He is still out there, and more active than ever, working with the industry’s most promising entrepreneurs, nurturing new ideas and teaching new founding teams. He is keeping our industry fed with a steady stream of innovation, new ideas and energy. So in a very practical sense, it is Lucio’s vision and drive that powers today’s EDA industry and plots its future. And for this, we are all very fortunate.
Among the most successful new companies, an affiliation with Lucio Lanza is a common theme. Every ‘Lanza’ company seems to be doing something that matters and that has the potential to create real value. Maybe these companies were destined for success, but I believe that they are benefitting directly from Lucio’s selection process, mentoring and overall industry vision. It is as though these companies are all part of a common theme for the future of the industry and are each providing a necessary piece of the design puzzle.
Lucio has directly contributed to PDF’s growth from a small start-up to a successful publicly traded company. He has foreseen necessary technical and business changes in our industry that result from its technical evolution. At PDF, Lucio was instrumental in PDF’s decision to focus on electrical characterization necessary to address the parametric and systematic defect challenges in deep sub-micron technology. This technology formed the foundation that has enabled PDF’s growth over the past 15 years.
… More than just his venture capital investment, Lucio’s personal long-term commitment to founders whom he believes can drive change required in our industry has had a lasting impact on both the EDA industry and semiconductor industry at large.
I first met Lucio Lanza when I was the founder and CEO of CadMOS Design Technology. We arranged to meet with him when we were looking for funding. We gave him an overview of our vision and the corporate presentation. Within three hours, Lucio had committed to an investment and became a valued partner and mentor.
I’ve known Lucio Lanza for nearly 35 years — when he was responsible for investor relations and marketing strategy at Daisy Systems and I was covering the EDA industry as a technical editor. I witnessed his remarkable transformation from engineer to strategist and futurist, making full use of that powerful engineering mind. From what I’ve seen, he’s still an astute observer of the technology market.
All you need to know, is that it is all Lucio’s fault. It’s his fault that the EDA industry has been stuck with me for over 30 years (and me with them). It’s also his fault that I fell in love with start-ups and small companies where you can make a difference every day. And while you are at it, you can blame him for putting ASIC design on a workstation, making IP and libraries a business, sticking with high level design until it stuck… It’s all his fault.
Lucio is the rarest of talents, a strategist who appreciates the competitive structure of a market, where value is and is heading, what the relative positions and advantages are of the players in the category, and importantly the pace and rhythm of change of all these things. I have found his insights illuminating, his questions challenging, and his manner gracious and generous. And perhaps most precious, his unfailing good humor.
I was CEO and Founder of SandCraft Inc. in the late 1990s. Lucio was our first investor while he was a partner at USVP and an active board member who fully understood what we were doing. In fact, we shared the same vision that IP was the way increase the level of abstraction. We agreed that to compete in the processor business, IP and not the chip was the way to make the use of microprocessor pervasive and get complex chips to market faster. Today, that’s the well-accepted and proven business model.
Lucio has a unique capability to develop a long-term vision and to implement the necessary steps to make it happen. He is for me a mentor with whom to share ideas, even the more futuristic and crazy ones, being sure that we will elaborate them on many dimensions to always make a step forward. I had the pleasure to see him interacting with young PhD students and candidates and to appreciate his ability to motivate them, encouraging their entrepreneurial spirit and motivating them to transform their ideas in real innovation. He will be a young student forever.
I’ve known Lucio forever, or at least since we both went to work at Daisy Systems. Later, with Lucio as chairman and me as CEO, we ran and grew Veridicom, the first fingerprint authentication IC company. In the process, I came to appreciate his insight — sometimes profound, even stunning — into market and man. He has the best marketing mind I know. It was good to be negotiating from the same side of the table with him.
…If we’re telling tales out of school, a friend — Phil Kaufman — told me with glee about racing through Milan in Lucio’s Alpha Romeo Spider, with Lucio ‘kissing the bumper’ of the car ahead if it was annoying. Lucio will not confirm or deny.