Computer chip firm Graphcore closes £24.6m Series A

Funding will enable Bristol-based company to bring its Intelligent Processing Unit (IPU) technology to market

Graphcore, a Bristol-based computer chip start-up, has raised £24.6m in Series A funding from Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, Samsung Catalyst Fund, Amadeus Capital, C4 Ventures, Draper Espirit, Foundation Capital and Pitango Capital.

Founded by Simon Knowles and Nigel Toon in 2016, Graphcore is a hardware systems company developing products that accelerate machine learning applications.

The company claims to have developed a “completely new” Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), that lowers the cost of accelerating Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications in the cloud and in enterprise data centres, and aims to increase the performance of both training and inference by between 10x and 100x compared to rival systems.

Graphcore’s technology can be used for machine intelligence applications such as natural language dialogue, autonomous vehicles, personalised medicines, collaborative robots and intelligent mobile devices.

This funding will enable the business to bring its IPU system to market this year and make its low power IPU technology available for embedded consumer applications.

Toon, CEO of Graphcore, said: “Next generation machine intelligence will allow us to translate foreign languages in real-time, help diagnose illnesses and develop personalised treatments, control robots that clean our houses and offices, drive cars autonomously and provide us with intelligent digital assistants that can help us organize our busy lives.

“The IPU is the first system specifically designed for machine intelligence.”

Dr Hongquan Jiang, partner at Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, added: “Graphcore has a unique technology that has massive potential in the fast emerging market for deep learning.

“A new processor technology is needed for intelligent systems and Graphcore has the first technology that we have seen which really delivers the performance and efficiency needed for this style of compute. We are excited to have led this very significant investment round.”

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