AI chip maker Graphcore reaches unicorn status after raising €175 million from BMW, Microsoft

Graphcore-founders

Graphcore, a creator of AI processors and software, has raised a €175 million funding in a Series D round, bringing the company’s valuation to €1.5 billion. The round was led by Atomico, BMW i Ventures, Merian Chrysalis Investment Company Limited, Microsoft, Sequoia, and Sofina.

Founded in 2016 in Bristol, Graphcore has so far raised over €260 million across several rounds from some of the world’s leading venture capital, financial and strategic investors that also include Robert Bosch, Dell Technologies, and Samsung Electronics.

Graphcore has built a new kind of processor for AI and machine intelligence, and is ramping up production to meet customer demand for its Intelligence Processor Unit (IPU) PCIe processor cards. Graphcore’s IPU is the first processor to be designed specifically for machine intelligence training and inference, delivering an increase in speed of 10x to 100x compared to other hardware.

The company is currently in a stage of rapid global growth, tripling the size of the team and opening new offices in London, Palo Alto and Beijing in 2018. This latest round of funding will allow Graphcore to execute on 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 the fast-growing machine intelligence market.

Nigel Toon, CEO and co-founder of 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 the opportunity for Graphcore to build a major global technology company that can help innovators in AI achieve important breakthroughs.”

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