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Samsung-backed Graphcore rakes in $30Mn in series A

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Bristol-based computer chip startup Graphcore has raked in $30m in a Series A funding round. Investors in the round included Bosch, Samsung, Amadeus Capital, C4 Ventures, Draper Espirit, Foundation Capital and Pitango Capital.

The company has spent the last two years building an experienced hardware and software team to develop a system designed from the ground up. Basically, it has created a software and hardware system based on its Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU), and this is what it claims will make it easier and faster to produce applications, devices and machines that are far more intelligent than pre-existing ones.

This includes accelerating the full range of training, inference, and prediction approaches of both current and next generation embedded autonomous cars, collaborative robots and intelligent mobile devices. Speaking about the funding, Nigel Toon, the CEO, said that startup’s goal is to make machine learning faster, easier and more intelligent.

Nigel went on to say that their technology will reduce the cost of accelerating AI applications in the cloud; the same technology will bring AI to low power consumer devices. It will enable recent deep learning applications to evolve more rapidly towards useful, general artificial intelligence.

Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, also had something to add,

I have worked with Nigel and Simon before in their previous companies where they achieved over $1bn in successful exits for their investors. The team they have assembled is second to none. Machine learning is becoming a major market and Graphcore has the technology to lead this next wave of computing.

Likewise, Simon Cook, CEO Draper Esprit Plc, said Graphcore was one of the first investments made by the firm since it had gone public in London and Dublin. He continued,

This is a sector we know well and a founding team that we have successfully backed before. Nigel and Simon have created an exciting company developing next generation processor technology and we are pleased to be investing at this key stage in its development.

The company intends to use the funds to continue to develop its solutions to bring its IPU (Intelligent Processing Unit) system to market in 2017. Graphcore CTO and co-founder, Simon Knowles, explains,

We are at the dawn of this second age of computing, in which machines are given the capacity for intelligence. The value to society of intelligent computing will be far greater than that of all computing so far. Silicon is still our best technology for building such machines, but the design details will be quite different from today’s microprocessors. Graphcore is at the vanguard of this revolution in computer design and has assembled a peerless engineering team to deliver the first processors designed from scratch for general intelligence.


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