Delivering Complex IC Designs since 2002

Sondrel is known for delivering quality highly complex IC designs to fabless and systems companies worldwide.  Our designs have appeared in hundreds of leading-edge products including those of the market leaders in mobile phones, cameras, security systems, AR/VR systems, network switches and routers, and many more.

Operating from our design centres in UK, France, Morocco, China and India, our clients engage with us from concept through to production silicon, or use individually tailored specialist services. Our success is based on delivering on our clients' requirements using our knowledge of how to get the most out of silicon and get it to market reliably, on time and at the right price.

Whether it’s a rework of an existing design, or a totally new product, our clients associate Sondrel with excellence, creativity, and flair.

Watch our video to find out more about us.

Explore the profiles of our Executive Team

Nigel Vaughan


Nigel has 30 years' experience at Board level in innovative businesses (UK plc, US multinational, investor backed enterprises & German Group). He has performed company turnarounds, acquisitions and change management to maximise shareholder value.

Nigel's hands-on approach and team-development skills ensure rapid contribution to new and complex situations. His extensive investor experience in both institutional (Venture Capital) and private investor (Business Angel) communities contribute to the wealth of experience he brings to Sondrel.

Nigel advises the boards of a number of other successful companies. He also assists high-growth-potential new ventures to optimise their strategy and secure investment.

Graham Curren


Graham founded Sondrel in 2002, after identifying a gap in the market for an international company specialising in complex digital IC design. He graduated in Electronic Engineering from Leeds University and spent the early part of his career working in ASIC design, and later for an ASIC manufacturer before joining the EDA company Avant!, where he rose to manage the technical and marketing teams across EMEA supporting products across the whole range of IC design.

In 2009 Sondrel won the Queen's Award for Enterprise, and in 2010 Graham accompanied the then prime minster, David Cameron, in his business delegation to China. In 2011 Graham became a non-executive director of the China-Britain Business Council, playing an active part in CBBC and UK government activities, supporting technology initiatives including speaking at events and hosting inward delegations from China.

Graham has extensive experience in the international high growth technology business arena and has been involved in the acquisition and integration of more than 15 technology companies.

Kevin Steptoe

Chief Technical Officer, Professor and C.Eng. MIET C

Over the last 40 years Kevin has been key to the start and success of some of the most prominent names in IC design and specifically Electronic Design Automation (EDA): Cadence Design Systems, Chronologic Simulation, Avant! and Magma Design Automation (now Synopsys). He has held a variety of general management and engineering executive roles in these organisations including product development, sales, marketing and application engineering management.

Kevin has considerable international experience in managing customer and large sales and engineering service support teams across geographies including Japan, Korea, China, India, and the USA. Kevin is the Chief Technical Officer at Sondrel and is a Royal Academy of Engineering visiting professor at the University of York and the Chairman of Board at ngenics Ltd.

John Tinson

VP Global Sales

John has operated for 20 years at director level in fast growing B2B technology companies, specialising in building sales and marketing teams to deliver rapid growth and to create a scalable structure.

John joined Sondrel from SPI Lasers, where his commercial team helped take the university spin-out from first prototypes to a £50M enterprise, with 40% of its sales in China, enabling a successful trade sale to the TRUMPF Group.

Previous careers in telecommunications and optical component technology were characterised by similar high growth and dynamic business environments. John has led both organic and acquisition focused growth, focusing always on building effective teams and applying the latest tools. Prior to reaching director level John worked in international sales at various times covering all the main regions of the world.

John entered industry with Thorn EMI following completion of a Physics Degree at Birmingham University. Whilst with Novar Plc he completed an IMD Business Leadership course at Cranfield University.

Lee Thomas


Lee comes to Sondrel with over 20 years' experience running finance and operations teams for multi-national businesses. Having spent many years working for a large US headquartered global business, Lee brings experience in focussing businesses to make operational improvements in order to drive both revenue and profit growth. He is also experienced in acquisitions and disposals, and entry into new geographic markets to increase shareholder value.

In his most recent role as Group Finance Director he managed a team of controllers covering EMEA, India, China and the US. Lee is a fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).


Sondrel was founded in 2002, and our first office was opened in the UK. Year on year we have grown, and now have an international network of design centres. 

Sondrel Theale, UK 
Sondrel Xi'an, China
A summary of our story so far

Engineer Scope

The Sondrel engineering team is made up of specialists that can manage client engagements from the concept stage through to silicon bring-up.

Phase 1


  • Market Requirements
  • & Specifications

Phase 2


  • Feasibility Studies
  • Project Management Plan
  • HW/SW Architecture Design
  • Engineering Specs.
  • Source IP
  • Foundry Choice

Phase 3


  • RTL Design
  • Verification
  • DfT
  • Physical Design
  • Design Environment
  • Packaging Design
  • Software Development
  • Tapeout to Fab.

Phase 4


  • HW/SW Bring-up
  • Design Validation
  • Performance Characterisation
  • Industrialisation (PE/TE)

Phase 5

Product & Delivery

Foundries: TSMC, GF, TowerJazz, UMC, SMIC, STMicro

  • Mass Production
  • Quality / Yield
  • Logistics
  • Customer Satisfaction


At the heart of Sondrel’s business model is the belief in building, maintaining and growing partnerships. We would like to thank our partners below for their on-going support.

Explore our partner page