Chipmaker Graphcore is now worth $1.7 billion after raising $200 million from Microsoft and BMW
- Britain has a new unicorn startup worth more than $1 billion.
- Graphcore makes computer chips for artificial intelligence applications, and has raised $200 million at a $1.7 billion valuation.
- Microsoft and BMW's venture arm have invested in Graphcore, joining a roster of top-tier backers.
- There's a war to dominate AI chips as data-hungry artificial intelligence requires more computing grunt.
British chipmaker Graphcore is valued at $1.7 billion after its latest round of funding, raising $200 million from Microsoft and BMW among others.The new round brings Graphcore's total funding to $300 million, and Microsoft joins existing blue-chip technology backers in the startup, including Dell, Robert Bosch, and Samsung.Advertisement
Graphcore is working on a computer chip specifically designed to power artificial intelligence and machine learning applications, as the technology becomes more prevalent and requires more computing grunt. The company said in a statement that it had started shipping its first chips to customers this year.
The Bristol-based firm was founded by two veterans of the silicon industry, CTO Simon Knowles and CEO Nigel Toon.
Toon said in a statement: "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."This latest round of funding was led by European venture capital firm Atomico and new backer Sfonia. A number of existing backers joined the round.Advertisement
Nigel Toon ranked number 14 in Business Insider's 2018 ranking of the coolest 100 people in UK tech.