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Dec 18, 2018

Graphcore adds $200m from BMW, Microsoft and leading investors, to drive growth

Written By:

Nigel Toon

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The next phase in our company growth story begins today. In the last few months we started to generate revenue from our IPU-Processor products and at the same time have been receiving very strong interest from large investment funds asking to provide growth capital for the company. I am pleased to announce that today we have closed a new $200 million funding round which values the company at $1.7 billion and brings the total capital raised by us to over $300 million. 

For this funding round we had to deal with an interesting dilemma. We have been receiving very strong interest from lots of large potential new investors, but our existing investors can see the strong growth path we are on, also wanted to invest much more and didn’t want to be diluted. To deal with this situation we were lucky to have Goldman Sachs, one of the world’s leading investment banks, offer to help on this private round.

Over the last month or so, I have been on the road constantly, meeting new and existing investors face to face to discuss the various options. We worked through the different offers and were able to reach a great outcome with new investors taking half the round and our existing investors matching this investment amount.

The round was jointly led by Atomico, Europe’s leading venture capital firm and an existing Graphcore investor, and Sofina, a very large investment holding company known for providing patient capital to private European companies. Merian Global Investors, a major investment fund based in London, through their new Merian Chrysalis Fund and other funds that they manage, also joined the round, matched by our existing investors that include: Amadeus Capital Partners, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, C4 Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Draper Esprit, Foundation Capital, Pitango, Samsung and Sequoia Capital. We had to tell lots of potential investors that we didn’t have room for them.

We are also thrilled to add two new strategic investors with BMW and Microsoft joining this round. Microsoft have strong interest in our technology and Tobias Jahn, Principal at BMW i Ventures said when talking about this investment: “The versatility of Graphcore’s IPU – which supports multiple machine learning techniques with high efficiency is well-suited for a wide variety of applications from intelligent voice assistants to self-driving vehicles. With the flexibility to use the same processor in both a data centre and a vehicle, Graphcore’s IPU also presents the possibility of reduction in development times and complexity.”

With this new capital we will be working hard to rapidly scale up the company. We will be hiring lots of new engineers to our headquarters in Bristol, UK and to our offices in London, to Oslo in Norway, Palo Alto in Silicon Valley and to new offices that we are opening in Beijing, China and in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

We will be ramping up our production and will be adding to our sales, marketing, finance, legal and people teams. Our goal is to build the global market leader in machine intelligence hardware and we are looking forward to an exciting new period of massive growth.

Our mission at Graphcore is to help innovators create new breakthroughs in machine intelligence. We have been able to attract leading innovators as friends and investors including: Demis Hassabis, co-founder of DeepMind, Zoubin Ghahramani of Cambridge University and Chief Scientist at Uber, Pieter Abbeel from UC Berkeley, and Greg Brockman, Scott Gray and Ilya Sutskever, from OpenAI.

In a recent interview with Geoff Hinton, who is often referred to as the "Godfather of Deep Learning", published last week in Wired Magazine, when asked how we need to build new systems for machine learning, Geoff said: “I think we need to move toward a different kind of computer. Fortunately, I have one here,” and pulled out a Graphcore IPU-Processor chip from his wallet.

Please get in touch with careers@graphcore.ai if you would like to join our team.

You can read the press release here.