A startup allowing companies to design their own computer chips has raised £1.2 million in pre-seed funding.

ChipFlow, based in Cambridge, is building an open-source semiconductor chip design platform.

Founded in 2021 by a group of experienced open-source software and semiconductor executives including Rob Taylor (CEO), Tomi Rantakari (CCO), and Staf Verhaegen (CTO), ChipFlow has also collaborated closely with several leaders across the broader open-source software, hardware, and chip design industries, having received significant early contributions from Ian Page, Matt Venn, Michel Laudes, Catherine Zotova and Myrtle Shah.

To date, ChipFlow is building upon Amaranth, a novel, Python-based hardware description language that transforms productivity for designing digital ICs. The ChipFlow platform provides cloud-scalable debug, test, simulation, and formal verification frameworks out of the box, connecting this with both industry-standard semiconductor foundries and novel IC manufacturing processes, like plastic chips, GaN and SiGe.

For the first time, many of ChipFlow’s prospective customers are able to bring silicon design in-house, lowering costs, simplifying design complexities, and shortening feedback loops from design to verification.

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The round was led by Fontinalis Partners and included investments from Fuel Ventures, InMotion Ventures and APX.

“We believe that open-source silicon design represents a transformational shift that is occurring, and we founded ChipFlow to be at the forefront of that movement,” said Taylor.

“This round of capital, and importantly the investors behind it, serves both as early validation to the global scale of our vision and provides the firepower to execute upon our ambitions.”

Dan Ratliff, principal at Fontinalis Partners, added: “We admire the impressive work that Rob and his team have been able to achieve in building the foundation for ChipFlow on a bootstrapped budget.

“We’re still in the early innings for open-source silicon design, but we recognise several supportive tailwinds that align well with ChipFlow’s thoughtful approach to scaling its team and technology in close collaboration with industry players and this open-source movement.”

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