AI chip maker Graphcore raises £162m

Posted on January 4, 2021 by Alistair Hardaker

(L-R) Graphcore founders Nigel Toon and Simon Knowles

(L-R) Graphcore founders Nigel Toon and Simon Knowles

Bristol-headquartered tech giant Graphcore has raised $222m (£162.4m) of investment to fuel further global expansion and development of its AI computer chips. 

Founded in 2012, the firm now has offices in London, Cambridge, Oslo, Palo Alto, Beijing and Taiwan. It creates ‘intelligent processor units’ or IPUs, which are specifically designed for AI compute.

Their IPU allows AI researchers entirely new types of work, not possible using current technologies, to drive the next advances in machine intelligence.

The idea was is born when founders Nigel Toon and Simon Knowles met at the to discuss their next venture, after selling their previous semiconductor company.

This Series E funding round is led by Ontario Teachers’ Pensions Plan Board and adds funds managed by Fidelity International and Schroders as new investors.

Also participating in this round are existing Graphcore investors, including Baillie Gifford and Draper Esprit.

This investment brings the total funds raised by Graphcore to more than £519.5m ($710m), with the company expecting to have over $440 million of cash on hand post-closing to support future growth.

Graphcore is now valued at $2.77bn (£1.9bn), post-money.

“Having the backing of such respected institutional investors says something very powerful about how the markets now view Graphcore,” wrote co-founder and CEO Nigel Toon in an announcement. 

“The confidence that they have in us comes from the competence we have demonstrated building our products and our business. We have created a technology that dramatically outperforms legacy processors such as GPUs, a powerful set of software tools that are tailored to the needs of AI developers, and a global sales operation that is bringing our products to market.”

“With advances in artificial intelligence moving apace, we look forward to more innovation, enabled and powered by Graphcore technology.”

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