How much money does it take to compete in the market for chips that can efficiently handle artificial intelligence tasks?
Wave Computing, which is trying to muscle into a semiconductor segment dominated by Intel and Nvidia, is figuring that out. The Silicon Valley company had raised nearly $120 million in venture capital by the end of last year. And even though its hardware has been released only to early access customers, the company said on Thursday that it had raised another $86 million from investors.
The latest funding brings its total amount raised to $205 million since it was founded in 2009. Wave Computing, which has over 200 employees, is targeting the small but increasingly crowded machine learning chip market. The competition includes Nvidia, which has jumped ahead in the market for chips capable of training machine learning software. Intel has taken the lead supplying chips for inferencing.
Other major players include cloud computing firms like Google and Amazon, which have started—or are planning to start—renting out custom accelerators over the cloud. Billions of dollars are flooding into the semiconductor industry as the amount of compute required for training and inferencing explodes. Esperanto Technologies and Mythic have announced some of the largest funding rounds over the last year.
Wave Computing also owns MIPS Technologies, which is targeting on-device machine learning. The latest funding round, which was led by Oakmont Corporation, gives Wave Computing “an even stronger position to lead the company through its next phase of growth and evolution,” chief executive officer Derek Meyer said. The company was founded by Dado Banatao, managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital.