AI chip startup SiMa.ai raises $13 million in funding as AI boom picks up steam
The AI boom sparked by the sudden success of OpenAI ChatGPT shows no signs of fading. Since the launch of ChatGpt in November of last year, investors have billions of dollars into generative AI startups. The latest is SiMa.ai, a Silicon Valley-based AI chip startup that makes ‘purpose-built’ AI chips for edge computing.
Today, SiMa.ai announced it has raised an additional $13 million in funding from high-profile investors including a key fund in Taiwan called VentureTech Alliance, which has a strong strategic partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. To date, SiMa.ai has raised a total of $200 million in funding, Reuters reported.
This funding makes it at least the third investment in U.S. chip startups by VentureTech Alliance in the past month. In May, the venture firm invested when Ayar Labs raised another $25 million and Ethernovia raised another $64 million.
“The over-funding is in the training market and in the data center market,” said Navin Chaddha, who is the managing director of investment firm Mayfield and founder of several chip startups.
SiMa.ai software allows users to “run any computer vision application, any network, any model, any framework, any sensor, any resolution,” the company said.
Founded in 2018 by CEO and founder Krishna Rangasayee, SiMa.ai develops software and hardware solutions designed to enable the execution of AI algorithms on various devices such as industrial robots, drones, security cameras, and eventually self-driving cars. According to Chaddha, this particular field holds tremendous market potential, yet it is characterized by a scarcity of companies competing in this space.
This new class of AI chips that run on a few watts also puts SiMa.ai in the company of a host of AI startups, including Hailo Technologies, Mythic, AlphaICs, Recogni, EdgeCortix, Flex Logix, Roviero, BrainChip, Syntiant, Untether AI, Expedera, Deep AI, Andes, and Plumerai, to name a few.
“(SiMa.ai’s) valuations, even though they’re respectable, they’re not at the historic multi-billion dollar valuations that the data center players had at the time,” said Moshe Gavrielov, SiMa.ai’s board member who is also on the board of TSMC.
Although SiMa.ai did not disclose its current valuation, Rangasayee mentioned that the company is already generating revenue and has attracted more than 50 customers who are currently testing its chips.
Rangasayee specifically highlighted a recent benchmark testing result conducted by SiMa.ai that showcased the superior performance and power efficiency of their chips compared to those of Nvidia Corp, a prominent player in the AI chip market. The testing data was published by MLCommons, an engineering consortium responsible for maintaining widely used benchmarks in the AI chip industry.
According to Rangasayee, this achievement can be seen as a David versus Goliath scenario, where Nvidia serves as SiMa.ai’s primary competitor. Rangasayee confidently stated that SiMa.ai outperforms Nvidia in terms of both performance and power efficiency.