Prophesee, a startup behind advanced neuromorphic vision systems, has just closed €50 million and with it becomes Europe’s most well-funded fabless semiconductor startup. The Paris-based team is using this tech to vastly transform computer vision and is gaining significant market traction.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, and tech becomes increasingly autonomous and powerful, vision systems are requiring increasingly intelligent tech solutions. Not only do these solutions have to keep up with advanced tech, but they also need to be more power efficient and compatible across applications.
Paris-based Prophesee, founded in 2014, is one of the leading names in the space. The startup has just closed its Series C to accelerate the development and commercialization of its AI-enabled neuromorphic vision solutions.
The €50 million Series C round saw the addition of new investment from Prosperity Ventures. They joined initial investors Sinovation Ventures and Xiaomi. Existing backers include investors from North America, Europe and Japan – such as Intel Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, 360 Capital, iBionext, and the European Investment Bank.
With this round, the Parisian startup becomes Europe’s best-funded fabless semiconductor startup and has now raised a total of about €126 million. It secured €25 million back in 2019.
Luca Verre, co-founder and CEO of Prophesee: “Gaining the support of such a substantial investor as Prosperity7 adds another globally-focused backer that has a long-term vision and understanding of the requirements to achieve success with a deep tech semiconductor investment. Their support is a testament to the progress achieved and the potential that lies ahead for Prophesee. We appreciate the rigor which they, and all our investors, have used in evaluating our technology and business model and are confident their commitment to a long-term relationship will be mutually beneficial.”
Innovative application of computer vision
Prophesee is taking a unique approach to enabling machines to see – moving away from traditional camera methods. In doing so, the company aligns directly with the increasing need for more efficient ways to capture and process the dramatic increase in the volume of video input.
The firm is utilizing neuromorphic techniques – essentially mimicking the way the human brain and eye work. In this way, Prophesee’s event-based Metavision technology significantly reduces the amount of data needed to capture information.
Aysar Tayeb, the Executive Managing Director at Prosperity7: “Prophesee is leading the development of a very unique solution that has the potential to revolutionize and transform the way motion is captured and processed.”
Among the benefits of the sensor and AI technology are ultra-low latency, robustness to challenging lighting conditions, energy efficiency, and low data rate. This makes it well-suited for a broad range of applications in industrial automation, IoT, and consumer electronics that require real-time video data analysis while operating under demanding power consumption, size and lighting requirements.
Prophesee has gained market traction with key partners around the world who are incorporating its technology into sophisticated vision systems for use cases in smartphones, AR/VR headsets, factory automation and maintenance, and science and health research.
For example, in partnership with Sony, the startup has developed a next-generation HD vision sensor that combines Sony’s CMOS image sensor technology with Prophesee’s unique event-based Metavision® sensing technology.
Prophesee has also developed commercial partnerships with leading machine vision suppliers such as Lucid, Framos, Imago and Century Arks, and its open-source model for accessing its software and development tools has enabled a fast-growing community of 5,000+ developers to use the technology in new and innovative ways.
This new round builds further momentum for Prophesee in accelerating the development and commercialization of its next-generation hardware and software products, as well as positioning it to address new and emerging market opportunities and further scale the company. The support from its investors strengthens its ability to develop business opportunities across key ecosystems in semiconductors, industrial, robotics, IoT and mobile devices.
Aysar Tayeb: “The company has established itself as a clear leader in applying neuromorphic methods to computer vision with its revolutionary event-based Metavision® sensing and processing approach. With its fundamentally differentiated AI-driven sensor solution, its demonstrated track record with global leaders such as Sony, and its fast-growing ecosystem of more than 5,000 developers using its technology, we believe Prophesee is well-positioned to enable paradigm-shift innovation that brings new levels of safety, efficiency and sustainability to various market segments, including smartphones, automotive, AR/VR and industrial automation.”