Gani has over 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry. He is also chairman of Cirel Systems, provider of analog and mixed signal ICs and serves on the board of Ideaforge and Tonbo Imaging. Gani co-founded Cosmic Circuits in 2005 and was CEO until its exit. Cosmic Circuits established itself as a leading player in Analog and Mixed Signal IP. It won the TSMC IP partner award twice. More than 100 Million ICs were shipped annually using Cosmic Circuits IP. Prior to Cosmic Circuits, Gani held senior management roles at Texas Instruments.
I feel extremely fortunate to partner with young founders who have bold, audacious dreams to build great companies within India – and to also be able to support them to make it happen.
Please share a bit about your training and professional background.
I grew up in Bangalore in Southern India and received my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the National Institute of Technology, Trichy. At the time of graduating, many multinational corporations were just starting to set up branches in India, including Texas Instruments (TI), where I had the opportunity to join their new design center in Bangalore. I worked at TI for 15+ years, working in analog and mixed signal design, before relocating to Dallas, Texas to lead their global WLAN engineering team.
Following that, along with four colleagues from TI, I founded Cosmic Circuits, where we developed, licensed and marketed differentiated analog and mixed signal semiconductor IP cores for use on systems-on-chips. Cosmic Circuits was a leader in analog IP, with hundreds of millions of integrated circuits using our IP before we were acquired by Cadence.
I was very intrigued about moving into the venture funding space after my experiences in corporate and startup. Celesta was an intriguing option to me since the Founding Managing Partners were all very accomplished in the deep tech space, having built and scaled large, important companies. I joined Celesta as a Partner in 2015 with a special focus on looking at deep technology companies within India.
Is there a professional achievement you’re most proud of to date?
I am very proud of the work our team did at Cosmic Circuits, building one of the first successful Indian semiconductor IP companies within a challenging environment. India was known primarily for software services in the early 2000s. There were not many IP- or product-focused companies, and there was very little venture capital available for product companies in India at the time. In seven years’ time, Cosmic Circuits grew into a global leader in semiconductor IP, with 500+ intellectual property cores and earning AMS IP Partner award twice by TSMC.
Many of the lessons learned during that experience help me to effectively advise the founders and startups I work with today at Celesta.
How is Celesta’s investment approach unique compared to other leading India funds?
Our investment partner team at Celesta brings a wealth of experience to our partnership with founders and early-stage companies, having served both as entrepreneurs and having run large organizations. This is a unique approach with Celesta: we work closely with startup founders as an extension of the founding team. When this happens effectively, the synergies unlocked can be exceptional. Most deep tech startups in India are run by young professionals and recent graduates and seasoned VC investors can add a great deal of value by sharing their experience to help guide the company’s journey.
Secondly, our Indian portfolio companies get access to world-class advisory and resources through our global network of partners. As an example, my partners in the U.S. serve alongside me as Board Directors of India-based companies, which helps us in maintaining a global perspective. Almost all deep tech companies aspire for global market reach, so it is important to have a global view and Celesta is strong in this arena.
Lastly, I would say what sets Celesta apart is that when we make investments, we do so for the long run. This commitment to long-term shared success allows us to stick with and support a company even when it goes through a period of challenges. Rather than cutting ties with a struggling portfolio company, this is often when we dig in even further and help to co-create strategies to turn things around.