Cortus, a leader in electronic chips, opens a design center in Provence

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Cortus, a leader in electronic chips, opens a design center in Provence
Christophe Genevois, Director of Operations at Cortus
19 October 2021 / Grow your business, Internet of Things

A choice inspired by the local talent pool and R&D momentum in Provence

"Provence was the right choice". That succinct sentence describes the sentiments of Christophe Genevois, Director of Operations at Cortus, who moved into offices near Aix-en-Provence in the Meyreuil business area in January 2021. Cortus, a world leader in the fields of semiconductors, embedded systems and IoT solutions, received relocation assistance from the economic development agencies Provence Promotion and Pays d'Aix Développement. The location attests to the region's ongoing attractiveness for growing R&D companies. Plans to expand have already been mentioned!

Since its creation in 2005 by Duc Nguyen and Michael Chapman in Mauguio (L'Hérault), Cortus has become a major player in the international semiconductor industry.

The rapidly growing company built out its team by opening its fourth design center in Meyreuil near Aix-en-Provence. While Cortus currently employs 84 people in France, Italy and Greece, its expansion prospects should enable it to grow its team to 100 employees by the end of 2021.

The so-called "fabless" company specializes in chip design (ASIC/SoC) and processor development (Cortus ISA and RISC-V ISA) and is globally renowned for its know-how. More than nine billion chips around the world are designed by Cortus and embedded in consumer products (tablets, telephones, bank cards, etc.) and industrial equipment used in the aerospace and defense sectors, among others In this booming and fast-changing market, its goal is to remain at the forefront of innovation. By acquiring new skills, Cortus intends to stay ahead of the game.

"Our presence in Provence is tied to our innovation strategy. For our recruitment projects, we want to set up near Aix-en-Provence, the cradle of smart cards. It is a region that already has the talent and to which we will easily attract even more talent. The innovation ecosystem in Provence is also an ideal setting for our development. We collaborate with the SCS competitiveness cluster and the Saint-Étienne mining school - Campus Georges Charpak Provence on HR needs," explains Christophe Genevois, Director of Operations at Cortus.

Shortcuts in the search for offices and partners

"The support provided by Provence Promotion and Pays d'Aix Développement enabled us to quickly identify offices. Then, we received advice to help us settle into the area and network with potential partners," says Christophe Genevois, Director of Operations at Cortus.

Cortus moved to the Greater Aix area in January 2021 in an office building in Meyreuil at the Europarc Sainte -Victoire service sector hub, which is aptly named for its beautiful view of the famous mountain. But its 1506 sq f already feel a little cramped. There is a medium-term plan to move to a larger space nearby that would still be easy to access via the highway and close to the TGV station and the airport.

From the fabless model to national sovereignty

By positioning itself closer to a labor market that has been historically steeped in microelectronics activity, Cortus aims to create about 20 high value-added positions in Provence and to continue its shift towards new technologies such as AI, Big Data and cybersecurity.

The Cortus team of engineers, who have expertise in both technology and design, deliver a full range of products to large corporations like BlackBerry, e2v Schneider, IDEMIA, Synamedia, Atmel and Samsung.

Since March 2021, Cortus has been working with the Swiss company Wisekey, as part of a high-level partnership, to ensure the security of smart vehicles, a market of the future.

Energy efficiency is a central focus for Cortus in the design of all its chips, IOT, processor cores and artificial intelligence as it seeks to further reduce the power usage of its already low-consumption chips.

Thanks to its global expertise, Cortus is now entering the world of production, in a segment where its customers are not active: short, medium and long range chips. As part of France's stimulus plan, it received aid from the French government following on its submission to the call for projects to "support investment in strategic sectors for the resilience of our economy".

Although production will continue to be outsourced, all the company's other functions will be based in France to support the country's sovereignty in terms of next-generation IoT microchips.