Startups that produce chips for deep learning, natural language processing, machine learning and other artificial intelligence applications are securing funding from investors as they navigate supply chain challenges, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
According to PitchBook Data, such early-stage companies attracted approximately $9.9 billion in venture capital funding across 170 deals in 2021, tripling the total funding secured by startups the previous year.
One of the AI chip startups is Palo Alto, California-based SambaNova Systems, which has investors that include SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Alphabet’s venture capital arm GV. SambaNova developed a supercomputer system for Budapest, Hungary-based OTP Bank.
AI chip makers face a more predictable demand for their products and a smaller client base, enabling them to secure supply of substrates and other raw materials in advance.
“Substrates have been a problem very recently, but we secured supply very early and have stock in house,” said Rodrigo Liang, co-founder and CEO of SambaNova.
Adrian Mendes, chief operating officer at Groq, said the Mountain View, California-based AI chip startup has placed orders for semiconductors for delivery in 2023 to deal with increased lead times at fabrication plants.
Gartner said over 50 companies are producing chips for AI applications and it expects AI chip sales to hit $44.3 billion in 2022 and $76.8 billion by 2025.