Founder Focus: Kurt Busch, CEO and Founder of Syntiant

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Syntiant Corp., based in Irvine, Calif., is the epitome of an innovative entrepreneurship success.

Launched in 2017, the next generation semi-conductor chip manufacturer has created a brand-new product — an AI-informed, learning low-power processor for always on and sensor applications. Add individually-created solutions for a wide range of voice-activated products, and Syntiant has become a rising star.

“We’ve raised $122 million, and we’ve shipped 20 million units,” founder and CEO Kurt Busch said. “Our edge is our silicon. We’re able to provide 100 times the efficiency. In other words, we can do 100 times more work with the same amount of power, or do the same work 100 times faster.”

Syntiant has been connected with Sunstone Management and founding partner John Shen since the beginning. Shen was one of the investors at the initial offering in November 2017, and the connection continues today.

Syntiant is making itself indispensible to a wide range of uses, Busch said. Where computer processing power has been based in the cloud, Syntiant has put Artificial Intelligence and deep learning in its place.

“We are working next generation, “ Busch said. “Ours is a natural interface, working with the fast-growing edge AI market, and there is no incumbent. It is a huge, attractive market.”

Syntiant offers turnkey solutions to processing issues. The AI component is particularly useful in situations where voice command is desired or required, from smartphones to cars.

“For example, with a video doorbell, it can tell you when a person is there,” Busch said. “Or with a security system, it can recognize broken glass. And it can tell the difference between a broken window and a dropped dish.”

Progress is a key component of deep learning, and of Syntiant. In 2019, the company won the AI Breakthrough Award for Best Deep Learning Company, and in 2020 it was named a CES® Best of Innovation Awards honoree.

Growth has accompanied progress. When Busch started Syntiant in January 2017, he did so with an idea and two partners. It took until November that year to prepare for the first investor request.

Today, Syntiant employs 100 people. The chief science officer is Prof. Jeremy Holleman, an expert on ultra-low power integrated circuits and director of the Integrated Silicon Systems Laboratory at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. The rest of the leadership team are leaders in their fields as well.

“We’re probably looking at going public at some point,” Busch said. “Our market is very large, the future looks good.”

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