AI start-up Axelera AI closes $27m Series A funding round

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The European AI start-up Axelera AI has announced the close of its $27 million Series A investment round.

The funding will support the company’s launch and mass production of its first-generation AI acceleration platform, powered by its disruptive in-memory computing and dataflow. Axelera AI will also further expand its team.

Since it was established and following its initial funding last year, Axelera AI has successfully taped-out its first testbench chip, developed entirely in-house, proving the performance and efficiency of in-memory compute for AI computations.

Over the past 14 months the company has hired more than 80 team members, distributed between its headquarters at the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven (NL), its R&D offices in Leuven (BE) and Zurich (CH), its newest offices in Milan (IT) and Bristol (UK), and its Europe-wide remote locations.

Axelera AI is designing advanced solutions for AI at the edge and its hardware and software solutions look to concentrate the AI computational power of an entire server into a single chip at a fraction of the power consumption and price of current AI hardware. According to the company its solutions will empower thousands of applications of AI at the edge, making the use of AI more efficient and accessible.

The company said that its products will be fully integrated with the leading open-sourced AI frameworks when it launches to select customers and partners in early 2023.

Last December, it taped-out its first testbench chip – Thetis Core – delivering 39.3 tera operations per second (TOP/s) with an efficiency of 14.1 TOPs/W at an INT8 precision in less than 9 square millimetres. The company has made significant progress in its software stack as well, which will allow customers to run their neural networks on Axelera AI’s accelerator without any model retraining.

“The closing of this investment round comes just few months after our announcement of the Thetis Core, which proved to the AI community the advantages of our technology. The strong commitment of our investors only further confirms that there is space and need in the European AI landscape for a leader. We are excited to take on this responsibility and are determined to strengthen Europe’s presence in the global AI sector,” said Fabrizio del Maffeo, CEO and co-founder of Axelera AI.

The funding round was led by Innovation Industries and joined by imec.xpand and the Federal Holding and Investment Company of Belgium (SFPIM). In addition, the Netherland Enterprise Agency (RVO) awarded Axelera AI with $6.7 million of Innovation Credit (Innovatiekrediet), a special loan reserved for highly innovative and impactful projects, commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

Axelera AI will shortly announce its first product and begin raising for its Series B later this year.