AI chip startup Cerebras Systems raises $250 million in funding
(Reuters) – Cerebras Systems, a Silicon Valley-based startup developing a massive computing chip for artificial intelligence, said Wednesday it has raised an additional $250 million to fund projects, bringing its total so far to $720 million.
About the size of a dinner plate, Cerebras chip is much larger than the chips it competes with from established companies like Nvidia Corp or Intel Corp. To solve the technical challenges of such an approach.
Andrew Feldman, CEO and co-founder of Cerebras Systems, said much of the new funding will go toward hiring. Feldman said the company has expanded with offices in Canada and Japan and has about 400 employees, but aims to have 600 by the end of next year.
Although Cerebras relies on a third-party manufacturer to manufacture its wafers, it still incurs significant capital costs for so-called lithography masks, a key component necessary for large-scale wafer manufacturing. Cerebras is making the transition from TSMC’s 7-nanometer manufacturing process to a 5-nanometer process, where each mask can cost millions of dollars.
“This funding is dry energy to keep doing brave engineering to make bold engineering choices and to keep trying to do things that are not incrementally better but much better than the competition,” Feldman told Reuters in an interview.
Cerebras said the new funding round estimates it at $4 billion. The tour was led by Alpha Wave Ventures in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Growth Fund. The company’s current investors include Altimeter Capital, Benchmark Capital, Coatue Management, Eclipse Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures and VY Capital.
Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Nick McPhee