Thought Leadership


By Colin Walls

I recall a few years ago, I was at the Embedded Systems Conference in San Jose, CA. We had a presentation theater on the booth and my job was to manage it. That meant that I got to do some of the presentations and persuaded colleagues to do others. One session, that was not mine, was particularly successful. I am not sure whether this was because of the unique style of the presenter or the words she used. One particular word in fact: “free”.

I am going to try it. Hey guys! How about some free software …

We have a challenge. We want to get as many developers as possible using our products: Sourcery Codebench development tools and Nucleus RTOS. Fortunately, many developers do see the value in the products and make a purchase. Others might like too, but have a barrier in the way: lack of cash.

Well, Mentor Graphics is not a charity, so giving software away for free to potential customers, who have no money, is not our normal policy. I am sure that the corporation’s shareholders will be pleased to learn this. However, there are times when we need to invest in order to make a return in the longer term.

One category of cash-strapped potential customers are start-ups. Such companies may be exactly the kind of customers that we would be proud to be serving in years to come. But, while they are in growth mode, they cannot afford our products. Their usual approach is to go looking for “free” alternatives. They are not so concerned about the extra time it will take them to get going with such products; they do not have cash, but they do have time. Later on, when they are successful and could afford commercial software products, they are too entrenched with the free offerings to make a change.

This is where the Nucleus Innovate Program comes in. The idea is simple. A start-up needs software to develop its products, but there is a risk that they will never succeed in making a profit. But there is a reasonable chance that they will. With this program Mentor Embedded shares the risk. A qualifying company can sign up for the program and obtain full, commercial quality software products, which will enable them to get to market more quickly, absolutely free. No catch. No debt to repay later.

The full terms are on the program web page, but broadly the idea is that a start-up is defined as a company with turn-over less than $1m and they qualify to get free software. Later, when they grow too large to qualify, they have to pay for software for new projects, but, by then, they will have cash in the bank.

The program will be rolled out in the months to come, targeting start-up “hot spots” around the world. If you have any questions or wish to participate, please contact me or my colleague, who is heading up the program, Jamie Little.

Go innovate!


0 thoughts about “Innovate!
  • This will be good if y’all can make it work. I would point out Jean L of uC/OS (micrium) does pricing on the honor system, and seems to be making it.

Leave a Reply

This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at