Kneron raises $49m in additional funding

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Kneron, the US-based AI company, has announced $49m in strategic funding from its investors bringing their total Series B financing to $97m.

The round was led by Horizons Ventures, with participation across several extensions from Liteon Technology, Adata, Palpilot, Foxconn and HH-CTBC Partnership (Foxconn Co-GP Fund).

Kneron said that it would use the additional funds to accelerate the deployment of advanced AI, focusing on nano GPT solutions for automotive in particular.

Kneron provides end-to-end integrated hardware and software solutions that enable on-device edge AI inferencing. It launched the first edge AI chip supporting transformer neural networks, which underpins all GPT models, in 2021.

“Powerful GPT models are mostly still running out of cloud data centres. This results in a slew of issues, including high latency, high data transfer costs, and inadequacies in user privacy and security protection.

“Kneron’s solutions resolve these industry bottlenecks by creating hyper-efficient AI chips. We’re thrilled to announce the completion of our Series B funding announcement to continue our work in making AI technology more secure, accessible, and energy-efficient,” says Albert Liu, Founder and CEO of Kneron.

The demand for AI computing is soaring and faces one major constraint: the availability of high-quality AI chips.

While GPU chips currently dominate the market, Kneron is pioneering NPU (neural processing unit) chips that are more uniquely suited to AI computing. Most recently, Kneron launched the KL730, an auto-grade NPU chip that supports the most advanced lightweight GPT LLMs, like nanoGPT, bringing further options to a high-demand market.

With this tranche in funding, Kneron is specifically focused on expanding its efforts in enabling AI to make autonomous driving a reality. Their latest ultra-lightweight AI chips apply transformers (commonly applied to language processing) to image-based applications, taking advantage of transformers’ capabilities to better process time-series and consider image data holistically.

By improving contextualisation and processing, Kneron said that it can increase the accuracy of image-based applications by at least 30% - a significant leap for autonomous driving.

Kneron is also expanding its partnership with Foxconn to accelerate the deployment of advanced AI, including nano GPT, for automotive, and other applications. In a key move to this initiative, Kneron is working with Foxconn to create an ultra-lightweight AI chip that operates GPT models off the cloud.

This round finalises Kneron’s Series B funding and brings total funding to date to $190m.