The Engineering Newsletter

Entrepreneur Profile: Xerxes Wania

  Xerxes Wania

Xerxes Wania | MASc 9T0 | University of Toronto

President and CEO of Sidense Corp | Founder, Xentec Inc.

Xerxes Wania is the President and CEO of Sidense Corp., a company that provides non-volatile memory intellectual property targeted to Logic CMOS processes. Xerxes has over 15 years of experience in marketing, sales and engineering in the semiconductor intellectual property industry. Prior to Sidense, he was the Director of Mixed-Signal Marketing and business development activities for Synopsys' mixed-signal semiconductor IP products, and founded and ran Xentec Inc. in 1995 at the age of 31.

"After working for five years in the industry, I came to a conclusion that the only way to have flexibility and financial freedom at a young age (before 40 years old) would be to start a company. I decided that rather than trying to make it up the corporate ladder, it would be better to take the risk and build a company that would develop a product or offer a service. I was never worried about not making it, as I always thought that the worst thing that could happen would be for me to go back to working as a full-time employee at an Engineering firm," Xerxes said.

The most important professional accomplishment to date Xerxes cited was selling Xentec Inc. to U.S.-based inSilicon, which gave him the financial freedom he was looking for. In 2004, at the age of 40, Xerxes founded his second company, Sidense, in Ottawa. He said his strong desire for freedom, financially and otherwise, strongly influenced him to go into business for himself. Xerxes credits his wife's support of his new venture another primary reason.

"Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone, but on the flip side, I cannot see myself being anyone else," said Xerxes. "Do it while you can or you may regret it later on. Do it because you want to, not because you have to. Here is a quote (from Apple co-founder Steve jobs) that I really like and sums up my feeling on entrepreneurship:

'Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of other's opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.'"

Sidense Corp. develops Memory Semiconductor Intellectual Property (MSIP) for the non-volatile memory (NVM) market. MSIP are memory design blocks that are combined with other electronic circuits to develop complex system-on-a-chip (SoC) designs. Sidense’s MSIP technology allows customers to embed these memory blocks in low-cost, high-volume and security-sensitive applications.

Sidense’s solutions are hard macros targeted at applications that require one-time-programmable (OTP) and multi-time-programmable (MTP) memories. These solutions provide reliable, low-cost and scalable replacements for discrete flash, EEPROM, mask ROM and embedded flash components in various applications including mobile phones, set-top boxes, LCD displays, handheld devices, multi-function machines, radio-frequency identification (RFID), medical devices, automotive equipment and satellite radios. Sidense’s solutions are highly secure, enabling customers to replace external technology with SoC integration and eliminate the possibility of reverse-engineering by third-parties. Sidense’s first two products, SiPROM and SLP, are currently in production at several foundries including UMC, TSMC, Chartered, Tower, Fujitsu, IBM and SMIC in standard CMOS processes.

Tips for aspiring entrepreneurs
  • Be passionate about what you are doing.
  • Do it for other reasons than for money only.
  • Be careful not to get blindsided by falling in love with your idea or you may land on a slippery slope and never make any money. I see this as the #1 issue with Engineering entrepreneurs. They feel that they have the best product or technology in the market but they don’t really understand the market. If no one wants to pay you for the technology you have, it is worthless. Focus on solving a problem, don’t come up with a technology and then figure out what problem it could solve.
  • Get the best people for the job. Try to attract smarter people than yourself and get good advisors early in the venture. They are invaluable.
  • At the end of the day make sure you have your priorities. Most entrepreneurs forget why they are entrepreneurs to start with.

Go to Newsletter Home


Newsletter Archives


Did you miss out a past issue of the Engineering Newsletter? Revisit past articles and catch up on Faculty news on the Engineering homepage.

The Engineering Newsletter is a twice-monthly summary of key headlines, events and opportunities for faculty and staff in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering. If you have questions or comments, please contact us:

Follow us on Twitter:

  All contents copyright © Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, University of Toronto.