ACE Awards Lifetime Achievement: Kathryn Kranen

-April 24, 2013

They say that the EDA industry gets no respect, but UBM Tech has just changed that by awarding an EDA veteran with the 2013 ACE Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is meant to honor the people and companies behind the technologies and products that are changing the world of electronics. That is a common theme when you look at past recipients, which include Gordon Moore, Wilf Corrigan, and Morris Chang. Kathryn Kranen has changed the industry not just once, but twice over. She has led two start-ups to success, and in each case she has transformed an emerging technology into a mainstream one. She first succeeded in doing that with Verisity Design Inc, an early verification automation company, and quickly grew it from being an interesting idea to the primary verification strategy in use by top semiconductor companies. Kranen has done that again at Jasper Design Automation by turning formal verification from a technology that required a PhD to understand into something available to the masses.

Kathryn Kranen has changed the
EDA industry not once but twice.

There are many adjectives that come to mind when thinking about Kranen, but perhaps the ones that most people would think of are focused, determined, and energetic. She has never been scared to be a lone voice. While most people in the industry would advise entrepreneurs to stay lean and build technology rather than a channel, Kranen told me in a recent interview that “to tackle big problems, and get big revenue, you have to spend to succeed.” She conceded that if you aren’t going to win big, you had better not raise too much money, but for Kranen, “there are those of us that passionately want to conquer something harder.” She will use techniques scorned by others. She understands both technology and business issues, and she ensures that the company and customer are both successful when entering into an agreement. She does not see it as a sale, but as a partnership.

You would think that would keep her busy, but Kranen has almost limitless energy and drive. She has been very active in the advancement of women in the industry and was awarded the Marie R Pistilli Women in EDA Achievement Award in 2005. She is chairman of the board of directors of the EDA Consortium (EDAC), an EDA vendor trade group that promotes the health of the EDA industry.

While others in the industry like to complain about the state of the business, Kranen has always remained forthright in her belief that “every company needs to use its assets to compete the best it can. A company has to figure out how to differentiate and be relevant.” This is something that she has managed to do consistently. Kranen’s advice for entrepreneurs: “Start-ups must make sure that what they’re doing is relevant, differentiated, and that they have a credible plan for success.”

More ACE Awards winners:

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