CEVA Refresh its Business Model: Acquires Sensor Business of Hillcrest

The licensor of signal processing platforms and artificial intelligence processors, CEVA from Herzliya, Israel, expands its business model to software licensing with the the acquisition of the Hillcrest Laboratories business from InterDigital. The financial details of the transaction will be discussed during CEVA’s second quarter 2019 earnings conference call, scheduled for August 8. Following the agreement all 22 employees of Hillcrest  joined CEVA, while the ownership of its 235 patents remained in the hands of the US BASED InterDigital. 

Hillcrest Labs provides software and components for sensor processing in consumer and IoT devices, including MEMS-based inertial and environmental sensors that are used in smartphones, laptops, tablets, wireless earbuds, TV & remote controls, AR & VR headsets, drones and robots. Its solutions  and more.any other consumer and industrial devices. With more than than 100 million devices shipped incorporating their technology, Hillcrest Labs is regarded as an innovator in the fusion of data from multiple sensors to enable intelligent systems.

A New Growth Engine called MotionEngine

Its MotionEngine software supports a broad range of merchant sensor chips and is licensed to OEMs and semiconductor companies that can run the software on CEVA DSPs and a variety of RISC CPUs, including Arm Cortex-M and Cortex-A series and RISC-V based cores. The complements CEVA’s sensing technologies, which includes computer vision and AI processing for cameras and sound processing for microphones.

CEVA said that Hillcrest Labs software broadens its software licensing engagements directly with OEMs and ODMs to enable the addition of a plethora of IMU-based software applications to their merchant SoCs, which adopt a royalty payment scheme based on devices rather than chips. Gideon Wertheizer, CEO of CEVA, explained that the acquisition presents opportunities for multiple royalty growth vectors, including from OEMs. “Together with our portfolio of connectivity, sound, vision and AI technologies, Hillcrest labs will enable us to continue to redefine the limits of our technology solutions for the data-driven world.”

CEVA is licensing IP for signal processing, sensor fusion and artificial intelligence processors, DSP-based platforms for LTE/LTE-A/5G, AI processors, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 4/5/6. Its Total revenue for 2018 was $77.9 million, a decrease of 11%, when compared to $87.5 million reported for 2017. Licensing and related revenues for 2018 were $40.4 million and royalty revenue totaled $37.4 million in 2018.