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Netherland’s AI chip startup Axelera snaps $21M for its game-changing platform


Dutch AI startup Axelera AI has announced the closing of $27 million in a Series A investment round. Previously, the company secured $12 million in seed funding last September.

Who invested in Axelera AI?

This financing round was led by Innovation Industries and joined by imec.xpand (that backs SOLiTHOR and Pharrowtech) 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.

How will Axelera AI use funds?

The funding will support Axelera AI’s launch and mass production of its first-generation AI acceleration platform, powered by its disruptive in-memory computing and dataflow. The company will also expand its team of 70. Since its inception and initial funding last year, Axelera AI successfully taped-out its first testbench chip, developed entirely in-house, proving the performance and efficiency of in-memory compute for AI computations.

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

“Our extraordinary team merges complementary expertise in deep learning, in-memory computing, dataflow architecture and AI software with a proven track record of business success. We look forward to launching new AI solutions across the globe that will address the demanding requirements of AI applications at the edge,” said Evangelos Eleftheriou, CTO and co-founder of Axelera AI.

“The closing of this investment round comes just a 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.

“Axelera AI is a unique Dutch start-up on a journey to deliver a disruptive AI chip that will accelerate the application of AI at the ‘edge of IOT’,” according to Sander Verbrugge, Partner at Innovation Industries. “Affordable AI compute power operating at low power is essential to unlock the full potential of AI in our everyday lives. We are proud to be part of this journey and to support this world-class team to achieve its ambitions.”

“Axelera AI has brought together a stellar team and, as such unites several distinct in-memory compute efforts from across Europe under one roof. We very much look forward to continuing our support of the company and the team and helping them to achieve their ambitious goals by leveraging imec.xpand’s cross-border, value-add platform and network,” said Cyril Vančura, Partner at imec.xpand.

“SFPIM is delighted to take part in this closing. SFPIM is proud to have Axelera in its portfolio, a company with great ambitions which is fully aligned with the strategy of SFPM regarding innovation and technology. We are looking forward to following the company in its further developments,” said Koen Van Loo, CEO of SFPIM.

Appoints new board members

In addition to the investment round, Axelera AI has welcomed Jonathan Ballon, former Vice President and General Manager of Intel’s Edge AI and IoT business alongside Cyril Vančura, Partner at imec.xpand, Sander Verbrugge, partner at Innovation Industries, and Valery Vavilov, founder & CVO at Bitfury group to its to its non-executive board. Marc Ceurremans from the SFPIM will serve as board observer.

Jonathan Ballon will serve as Chairman of Axelera AI. “Every industry is on the precipice of creating unprecedented breakthroughs in customer value by harnessing the world’s exponentially growing data set. To do so will require technology that is purpose-built for the task. Axelera AI’s groundbreaking AI platforms promise to usher in this new era in computing, and I am privileged to work alongside the leadership team and fellow Board members to accelerate the company’s trajectory.” said Jonathan Ballon, Chairman of Axelera AI.

Game-changing platform for AI

Axelera AI was originally incubated by Bitfury Group in 2019 and was founded by Fabrizio Del Maffeo. Axelera AI is designing the world’s most efficient and advanced solutions for AI at the edge. Its game-changing hardware and software product will concentrate the AI computational power of an entire server into a single chip at a fraction of the power consumption and price of AI hardware today.

The company’s groundbreaking solution will empower thousands of applications of AI at the edge, making the use of AI more efficient and accessible than ever before. Axelera AI’s products will be fully integrated with the leading open-sourced AI frameworks when it launches to select customers and partners in early 2023.

Headquartered in the AI Innovation Center of the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven, Axelera AIhas R&D offices in Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy.

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