UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering University of California San Diego
Pulse Subscribe | Archive | Survey

Alumnus Entrepreneur Makes Student and Faculty Connections

"I think it's healthy for any company doing research and development to maintain a good relationship with the university and its professors and students. CAP does an excellent job at facilitating that process." - Anton Monk, Entropic Communications

Jacobs School alumnus Anton Monk ('94) credits the theoretical rigor of his education at UCSD as a major influence for his company Entropic Communications. The San Diego start-up has created a chipset that supports home networking of digital entertainment over existing coaxial cable at speeds as high as 270 Mbps.

"I learned communications systems from some of the best teachers around, and much of that was applied to the work that went into the novel physical layer development in our product," says Monk, who recently joined the Jacobs School Corporate Affiliates Program (CAP). Monk co-founded Entropic along with Itzhak Gurantz, Jacobs School alumnus Ladd Wardani, and Brett Bernath in 2001. All were colleagues at Conexant Systems and ComStream Corporation.

"We would like to develop a close relationship with the Jacobs School as our company grows, and be involved not only with CAP, but also with the School's major research centers like the Center for Wireless Communications," says Monk.

Entropic has received more than $50 million from investors such as Comcast,Time Warner, Cox, Motorola, Intel, and Cisco, as well as local venture capital firm Mission Ventures.This coming January, Ethernet-to-coax bridges based on Entropic's technology will be available. Entropic expects to ramp up by mid-2005 as major manufacturers such as Motorola and Panasonic begin to incorporate Entropic's chipset into their consumer entertainment electronics.

As Entropic moves into volume production, the company will start to recruit more entry-level engineers. Already, eight Jacobs School students have been hired as interns, and Monk says the students have become key contributors in both the lab and system engineering, providing critical support for the company's small team of 30 engineers.

"The students bring that excitement of not having any boundaries and not knowing whether there are boundaries," says Monk, who added that the interns are taking on critical responsibilities ranging from software development to analysis of field trial results, VLSI validation, and communication system engineering.

Monk believes Entropic has already realized tremendous value from the CAP relationship. The company has used the student resume database to aid in selecting interns and has relied on backgrounders about the faculty to locate professors with relevant research interests. Communications experts such as Larry Larson, Paul Siegel, and Bang Sup Song have all provided valuable technical advice to Entropic.