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Chip startup SiMa raises $70mn to accelerate AI on cars and robots 

SiMa.ai, a Silicon Valley chip startup, secured $70 million in funding led by Maverick Capital. The aim is to develop chips that accelerate AI applications in everyday consumer devices, ranging from cameras to cars.

Point72 and Jericho participated in the financing alongside existing backers Amplify Partners, Dell Technologies Capital, and Fidelity Management. With a total of $270 million raised so far, the San Jose firm designs processors to assist devices in understanding and processing data from the world, converting it into text, speech, or video content.

SiMa.ai is among the increasing number of startups striving to enhance hardware for an AI-centric future. Established in 2018, its board members include Moshe Gavrielov, director of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., and Lip‑Bu Tan, a board member of Intel Corp.

SiMa.ai’s chips are not aimed at AI training, which involves high-end processors like Nvidia Corp.’s chips teaching AI models tasks such as recognizing dogs or cats or developing services like ChatGPT. Instead, the startup concentrates on inference, where AI models on devices detect objects.

Krishna Rangasayee, founder and CEO of SiMa.ai, revealed that the startup has secured over 50 customers for its initial chip, primarily focused on computer vision. They are developing a second-generation chip slated for release in the first quarter of next year.

“We are now combining all this modality so that you could look at all of it. You could speak, you could touch, you could feel. And we’re kind of mimicking human capability,” he said about the startup’s new chip. 

Although Nvidia’s software has become the norm for AI development worldwide, Rangasayee mentioned that the tools on devices were open-source and utilized by over 10,000 different business customers globally. SiMa.ai’s products are compatible with various open standards, including Linux and OpenCL.

Presently, the company depends on TSMC to manufacture its chips. VentureTech Alliance, an investor in SiMa.ai, has a strategic partnership with the Taiwanese chipmaker.

“We really call ourselves a software company that builds their own silicon,” said Rangasayee.

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BRL Editorhttps://businessreviewlive.com
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