BMW, Bosch, Microsoft among others to invest in AI-chip maker Graphcore

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 18 Dec 2018

UK-headquartered, Graphcore, a leading AI (Artificial Intelligence) chipmaker, today announced a new $200 million (Rs 1,424 crore) funding round which values the company at $1.7 billion (Rs 12,104 crore).

BMW-i Ventures and Microsoft have joined the round alongside new and existing investors, bringing the total capital raised by Graphcore to date to over $300 million (Rs 2,136 crore) from the leading venture capital, financial and strategic investors that also include Robert Bosch, Dell Technologies and Samsung Electronics.

Graphcore says it has built a completely new kind of processor and software for AI and machine intelligence. The company has been shipping first products to early access customers and generated first revenues this year, just two years after the company was founded. With high volume production now being ramped up to meet customer demand for its Intelligence Processor Unit (IPU) PCIe processor cards. Graphcore’s IPU is claimed to be the first processor to be designed specifically for machine intelligence training and inference and delivers an increase in speed of 10x to 100x compared to hardware at present.

The company is rapidly achieving global growth, tripling the size of its team and has opened new offices in London, Palo Alto and Beijing in 2018. The latest round of funding will be used by Graphcore to execute its product roadmap, accelerate scaling and expand the company’s global footprint. It is a further step towards fulfilling the company’s ambition to build a global technology company, focused on this new and fast-growing machine intelligence market.

Nigel Toon, CEO and co-founder, Graphcore, said: “Machine intelligence marks the start of a new age of computing which needs a radically different type of processor and software tools. This new, fast-growing market creates an opportunity for Graphcore to build a major global technology company that can help innovators in AI achieve important breakthroughs.”

The Series D round was led by existing investor Atomico, one of Europe’s leading venture capital firms and by new investor, Sofina, a large European investment firm. Merian Global Investors has also joined the round as a major new investor across a number of its managed funds, including Merian Chrysalis Investment Company, in addition to BMW i Ventures and Microsoft.

The funding was also fully supported with follow-on investments from existing investors including Amadeus Capital Partners, Atomico, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, C4 Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Draper Esprit, Foundation Capital, Pitango and Sequoia Capital.

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