Chip design startup SiFive lays off 20% of staff

By Max A. Cherney

(Reuters) -Chip design startup SiFive has laid off around 20% of its staff, or about 130 people, the company said on Tuesday.

SiFive, based in Santa Clara, California, builds chip designs based on an open chip architecture known as RISC-V, and competes against the recently public Arm Holdings. Like Arm, SiFive builds the underlying designs chips are based on, but not the chips themselves.

"As we identify and focus on our greatest opportunities, SiFive is shifting to best meet our customers’ fast-changing requirements by undergoing a strategic refocusing of all our global teams," the company said in a statement.

SiFive has not changed its long-term plans and continues to produce chips that are used in artificial intelligence, automotive, consumer gadgets and low-power devices, SiFive spokesperson David Miller said.

The layoffs were across all of the company's groups, including executives, Miller said. The company's product lines continue to be in place.

The company is scaling back its effort to offer customized designs for customers, beyond the standard blueprints that are available.

It received a valuation of roughly $2.5 billion in 2022, and Miller said it was "well funded for years in the future."

Technology giants such as Qualcomm and Alphabet's Google have embraced the underlying RISC-V technology.

RISC-V has emerged as a battleground in the U.S.-China tech war.

(Reporting by Max A. Cherney in San Francisco; Editing by Stephen Coates and Chris Reese)