Temasek’s Pavilion Capital backs South Korean chipmaker AI Rebellions with $50M investment – ​​TechCrunch

Global venture capitalists are pumping money into semiconductor startups developing the next generation of chips. Semiconductors, which have become a valuable asset, are used in virtually almost every industry, including 5G networking, automation, Internet of Things, finance, smart homes, smart cities, reality virtual reality (VR), augmented reality and self-driving cars. .

Sun Hyun Parka former quant developer at Morgan Stanley in New York, launched artificial intelligence semiconductor startups Rebellions with four co-founders to enter this hot industry in 2020. Todaythe South Korea-based company that builds chips designed for artificial intelligence applications, announced that it had raised a Series A round of $50 million (KRW 62 billion) from investors including Temasek’s Pavilion Capital , Korea Development Bank, SV Investment, Mirae Asset Capital, Mirae Asset Ventures, IMM Investment, KB Investment and KT Investment.

Its existing backers Kakao Ventures, GU Equity Partners and Seoul Techno Holdings also participated in the round, Park told TechCrunch.

The Series A, which was oversubscribed – the company initially targeted around $40m – and closed in less than three months, brings Rebellions’ total funding to around $80m (KRW 100bn) at an estimated valuation at $283 million (KRW 325 billion). KRW), the CEO of Rebellions Park said in an interview with TechCrunch.

The startup will use the capital to mass-produce its second prototype AI chip, called ATOM, which will be used in enterprise servers, Park said. Additionally, the funding will be used to double its headcount to 100 employees and open a US office by the end of this year, Park continued.

Rebellions is in talks with potential customers to bring its first AI chip, called ION, to market. The company’s ION customers could include global investment banks, and its second ATOM chip targets large enterprises in the cloud and data center industry, Park added. It has lined up Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to start manufacturing the ION chips as early as next year.

The company says its first ION chip, released in November 2021, improves trading speeds and lowers latencies and is twice as fast as Intel Habana Labs’ AI Goya chip in execution. This means Rebellions’ ION allows for faster data execution, so major orders can be processed faster and more profitably than traders with slower execution speeds. High-frequency trading (HFT), or systematic trading, is an automated trading platform used by large investment banks, hedge funds, and institutional investors to process large numbers of orders.

The Rebellions ION AI Chip

Picture credits: The Rebellions ION AI Chip

Park previously helped design a Starlink ASIC chip at Space X and worked as an engineer at Intel Labs and Samsung Electronics.

According to Gartner analyst Alan Priestley, there are more than 50 AI chipmakers globally, including Samba Nova, Graphcore, Groq and Cerebras, looking to challenge AI processors from Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm. Intel acquired Israeli AI chipmaker Habana Labs for around $2 billion in 2019 while Qualcomm snapped up Nuvia for around $1.4 billion in early 2021. The AI ​​chip market is expected to be worth over $83.2 billion by 2027, up from $56 billion in 2018, by a 2019 report by Insight Partners.

Venture capital funding for global chip startups more than tripled year-over-year in 2021, with $9.9 billion invested in 170 deals, per PitchBook.

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