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AI chip startup DEEPX secures $80M Series C at a $529M valuation  | TechCrunch

AI chip startup DEEPX secures $80M Series C at a $529M valuation  | TechCrunch

DEEPX is a South Korean on-device AI chip (NPU, or neural processing unit) startup that builds hardware and software for various AI applications in electronic devices. The company announced this week that it had raised $80 million (KRW 108.5 billion) in a Series C round valued at $529 million (KRW 723 billion), more than eight times its Series B funding. The increase has increased, to about $15 million, in 2021

The Series C funding, which brings its total raised to nearly $95 million, will be largely due to the startup's inaugural products — the DX-V1, DX-V3, DX-M1 and DX-H1 — in late 2024. Will go to production. The startup will also use the new capital to develop and launch its next-generation Large Language Model (LLM) on-device solutions.

DEPX It was founded in 2018 by CEO Lukun Kim, who previously worked at Apple, Cisco Systems, IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center and Broadcom.

Market Size of Global Edge AI, also known as On-Device AI It is expected to reach $107.47 billion by 2029.According to a recent report, it is over $11.98 billion in 2021. “The on-device AI market needs to implement AI capabilities, bypassing servers or the cloud, excluding edge servers,” Kim told TechCrunch. The (on-device AI market) is expanding due to computer vision capabilities such as face and voice recognition, smart mobility, robotics, the Internet of Things and physical security systems.

If mass production begins this year, potential customers such as end-product manufacturers will be able to commercialize their products with DEEPX's AI chips in 2025, Kim said.

DEEPX, which has about 65 employees, is not the only company that has developed AI chip solutions. The Korean organization is competing. Hellowhich landed a $120 million funding round last month; SiMa.aiwhich also closed at $70 million in April. And Axelraa Belgium-based AI chip startup that raised $27 million in 2022.

Kim said his company's differentiators include cost efficiency, energy consumption efficiency and the All-in-4 AI Total Solution, which is a comprehensive solution for various AI applications. Its all-in-4 AI solutions include: DX-V1 and DX-V3, designed for vision systems in home appliances, surveillance camera systems, robot vision and drones. Also DX-M1 and DX-H1, which are designed for AI computing boxes, AI servers, smart factories and AI booster chips. DEEPX now has more than 259 patents pending in the US, China and South Korea, Kim said.

“Nvidia's GPGPU-based solutions are the most cost-effective for large language model services like ChatGPT. The total power consumed by operating GPUs has reached levels greater than the electricity of an entire country,” said Kim. “This technology, driven by collaboration between server-scale AI and on-device large-scale AI models, is expected to reduce energy consumption and cost significantly more than relying on data centers.”

The startup does not yet have customers but is collaborating with more than 100 potential clients and strategic partners, such as Hyundai Kia Motors Robotics Lab and Korean IT company POSCO DX, to test the capabilities of DEEPX's AI chip.

Fresh from SkyLake Equity Partners, a South Korean technology-based private equity firm, with participation from BNW Investments, a Korean private equity firm founded by the former president of Samsung LED and Samsung Electronics' memory chip unit. Led the most investment. AJU IB and previous backer Timefolio Asset Management also participated in the round.

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