In total, the UK company has raised more than $300 million in fresh capital in the current Series D financing round, of which $200 million are from BMW and Bosch. This brings the estimated equity value of Graphcore's business to $1.7 billion, the company said. In addition to these two companies from the automotive value chain, Microsoft is said to have participated in the start-up company.
Graphcore, a fabless chip company founded in 2016, has developed an innovative processor, the Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU), with corresponding software for AI and machine intelligence. The processor is to be specially designed for machine intelligence training and inference. According to the company, it achieves processing speeds that are ten to one hundred times faster than conventional hardware. Volume production for the chip is currently underway,
"Graphcore's technology heralds a paradigm shift at AI for cloud and edge computing. The highly efficient IPU technology can significantly improve AI-based products such as autonomous vehicles or security systems," explains Hongquan Jiang, investment partner at Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH (RBVC) and member of the Graphcore board of directors.
Bosch already invested in Graphcore in the Series A financing round in 2016. BMW, along with Microsoft, is among the strategic investors for the first time. Also Dell and Samsung Electronics are among the strategic investors.
With the fresh capital Graphcore now plans to boost production, hire new employees and open new locations in China and Taiwan.