FirstPass was incorporated in 1993 with the goal of providing ASIC design services to the Mil/Aero marketplace. Our expertise soon expanded into commercial space and commercial devices.

From 2000 to 2005, FirstPass was a captive design house for Vitesse Semiconductor Corp., focusing on development of complex ASICs for the telecom market including Intelligent Switch Fabrics, PCI and SATA type devices. We drove methodology improvements company-wide, especially in verification.

In 2005, FirstPass reincorporated as an independent design services company. We have enjoyed solid growth and re-established ourselves as an outstanding provider of ASIC and FPGA design services.

FirstPass has remained ahead of the technology curve, maintaining our high level of expertise through the technical changes and advances in pre-silicon verification, tools and methodologies.

Experience Summary

  • Over 200 ASIC and FPGA designs
  • VLSI digital ASICs (>100M logic gates)
  • FPGA/ASIC conversions and emulations
  • DSP functions
  • Processors and SOC’s
  • Cryptographic functions
  • Telco and Datacom
  • Library development
  • High-reliability designs

Areas of Expertise

  • Design definition/architecture
  • Digital, analog, and mixed signal solutions
  • Advanced functional verification
  • SystemVerilog (AVM/OVM/UVM), Specman, Vera
  • ‘QuickRamp’ SystemVerilog verification platform IP
  • Physical design flows for ASIC/FPGA
  • Design for test, assembly, and manufacturing
  • Software and firmware development
  • Hardware prototyping and debug
  • Training



Chris Donnelly

Chris has more than 30 years of experience at a variety of Fortune 500 and early-stage start-up companies. Most recently, Chris was the Director of IP Development at Intel, where he spent the last six years in a variety of engineering and product development roles. Prior to that, Chris held leadership, engineering, and business development roles in Cadence’s Design Services Business after beginning his career at Zycad Corp. Chris holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Widener University and a MS EE from Fairleigh Dickinson University.