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UK startup Graphcore hits US$1.95b valuation
GRAPHCORE Ltd, the British semiconductor firm whose chips are used to run artificial intelligence programs, has raised US$150 million, bringing its valuation to US$1.95 billion.
The company now has US$300 million in cash, which it will use to invest in research and development and global expansion, Bristol, England-based Graphcore said in a statement on Tuesday.
After it raised US$200 million in 2018, Graphcore was approached by additional investors who wanted to put money into the company, chief executive officer Nigel Toon said.
While the company has no immediate plans for an initial public offering, several of its investors, such as Baillie Gifford, have experience investing in publicly traded technology companies and are the types of shareholders the company would try to target if it were to go public at some point in the future, Mr Toon said.
"Having this additional capital on hand allows us to accelerate our investment and be in a position to support the really large customers who we're building business with," he said.
Graphcore has been adding engineers, expanding its operations in Asia and the US, and ramping up its customer service force and software development arm. The firm is also building out a team in Oslo that's creating large-scale systems connecting thousands of its processors that can take on increasingly complex problems, like those raised by natural-language processing, which is important for the digital assistants proliferating on home speakers and smartphones, and self-driving cars.
The current round includes Baillie Gifford, Mayfair Equity Partners, and M&G Investments. The firm, founded in 2016, has also previously gotten investment from Microsoft, BMW and Samsung Electronics Co. BLOOMBERG