AI Processor Company ThinCI Raises $65 Million

By Noah Long ● September 6, 2018

El Dorado Hills, California-based ThinCI, a company that develops AI processors for autonomous and connected vehicles, has raised $65 million in venture capital funding. ThinCI will be using the funding to create new users for its artificial intelligence chips. And ThinCI is also going to expand its engineering and customer operations in India.

This round of funding was led by Denso, a major Japanese automotive component company, along with its semiconductor component subsidiary NSITEXE. GGV Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and SG Innovate also participated in this round. Singapore’s government investment arm Temasek also joined this round with the Japan-based Mirai Creation Fund.

“We are thrilled and honored by the financial commitment from such major investment funds and automotive and industrial giants,” said ThinCI’s CEO Dinakar Munagala in a statement. “The quality of investors coming together to invest in ThinCI validates our vision of industries adopting AI by leveraging our hardware and accompanying software stack. The interest from our automotive investors demonstrate their confidence that we can build on our early access partnerships with select automotive players and that our silicon will deliver the performance required to meet all five levels of autonomous driving. The expansion of our investor set to include industrial firms outside the automotive sector validates our assertion that ThinCI’s technology can accelerate AI adoption across a wide range of non-automotive applications, such as smart cities, datacenters, and surveillance. We firmly believe that ThinCI technology and products will substantially complement their portfolio companies in these diverse areas.”

ThinCI is in the final phase of developing its deep learning and vision processing solutions — which includes hardware platforms, proprietary silicon, a comprehensive SDK, and application software. ThinCI’s hardware platform to be used for a number of high-tech projects. ThinCI’s AI chips are also being used for mobility projects, consumer electronics, IoT applications, smart cities, and smart home device automation.

“ThinCI has the capabilities to help us usher in the next era of transportation. The company’s technology provides the computing power to make autonomous driving and advanced electric vehicles the industry norm,” added DENSO’s director of corporate ventures Tony Cannestra. “The move to Level 4 and Level 5 autonomy in the automotive industry will require huge amounts of flexible computing power. It’s not feasible for car owners to have autonomous vehicles with server racks in their trunks, so there is a definite need to get that computing power out of the trunk and into a set of chips.” DENSO was also the lead investor in ThinCI’s last round of funding in 2016.