Graphcore: $222 Million In Series E Funding And $2.77 Billion Valuation

By Dan Anderson ● January 4, 2021
  • Graphcore – a maker of an Intelligence Processing Unit (a new type of microprocessor specifically designed to support artificial intelligence workloads) – announced that it has raised $222 million in a Series E funding

Graphcore – a maker of an Intelligence Processing Unit (a new type of microprocessor specifically designed to support artificial intelligence workloads) – announced that it has raised $222 million in a Series E funding round that values the company at a $2.77 billion post-money valuation. The new investment will be used for supporting the company’s continued global expansion and to further accelerate future IPU silicon, systems, and software development.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (Ontario Teachers’) led the funding round with participation from funds managed by Fidelity International and Schroders along with existing Graphcore investors including Baillie Gifford and Draper Esprit. And this investment brings the total funds raised by Graphcore to over $710 million with the company expecting to have over $440 million of cash on hand post-closing to support future growth.

The new investors are bringing to the table deep experience in disruptive technology and support for scale-up businesses and it underscores the size of the market opportunity that Graphcore is addressing in datacenter AI compute, as well as the maturity of the company’s product offerings. Graphcore’s Mk2 IPU products were unveiled in 2020 and are now shipping in production volume to customers.

The IPU-M2000 is a 1U datacenter blade, built around 4 Graphcore Colossus GC200 IPU processors, capable of 1 PetaFlop of AI compute. And for many AI training and inference tasks, IPU systems significantly outperforms the latest GPU-based systems.

Graphcore’s IPU-POD64 for large scale deployments offers the ability to run large models across up to 64 IPU processors in parallel or to share the compute resource across multiple users and tasks. And for Exascale compute, up to 64,000 IPUs can be connected in IPU-POD configurations.

Since Graphcore was founded in 2016, the company raised over $710 million in funding. And the company’s investors include Ahren Innovation Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners, Atomico, Baillie Gifford, BMW iVentures, C4 Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Draper Esprit, Fidelity International, Foundation Capital, Chrysalis Investments (formerly Merian Chrysalis), Mayfair Equity Partners, M&G Investments, Microsoft, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Pitango, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, Samsung Catalyst Fund, Schroders / Schroder Adveq, Sequoia Capital, and Sofina.

KEY QUOTES:

“Having the backing of such respected institutional investors says something very powerful about how the markets now view Graphcore. The confidence that they have in us comes from the competence we have demonstrated building our products and our business. We have created a technology that dramatically outperforms legacy processors such as GPUs, a powerful set of software tools that are tailored to the needs of AI developers, and a global sales operation that is bringing our products to market.”

– Graphcore CEO and co-founder Nigel Toon

“The market for purpose-built AI processors is expected to be significant in the coming years because of computing megatrends like cloud technology and 5G and increased AI adoption, and we believe Graphcore is poised to be a leader in this space. TIP focuses on investing in tech-enabled businesses like Graphcore that are at the forefront of innovation in their sector. We are excited to partner with Nigel and the strong management team to support the company’s continued growth and product development.”

– Olivia Steedman, Senior Managing Director, Teachers’ Innovation Platform (TIP) at Ontario Teachers’