AI chip developer Tenstorrent secured $100 million in a financing round led by Samsung’s investment arm and Hyundai Motor Group, as it looks to raise competition with the segment’s market leader Nvidia.
Tenstorrent, which sells AI processors and licenses for custom-made chips, stated it will use the funding to accelerate the company’s product development, including the design and development of chipsets and its machine learning software roadmap.
Maverick Capital, Fidelity Ventures and Eclipse Ventures also contributed to the funding, while Hyundai was the biggest backer with a $50 million investment along with subsidiary Kia Corporation. Tenstorrent also secured a partnership with electronics giant LG in May.
Reuters reported Tenstorrent is one of several start-ups looking to challenge Nvidia, which has established an early lead in generative AI chip development and is a supplier for OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Nvidia is also facing competition from more established players, such as AMD.
Heung-soo Kim, EVP and head of the global strategy office at Hyundai (pictured, right), said Tenstorrent’s “high growth potential and high-performance AI semiconductor will help the group secure competitive technologies for future mobilities”.
Meanwhile, Samsung touted the start-up’s aggressive AI roadmap and leadership as attractive investment values.
Tenstorrent promotes itself as different from rival AI hardware start-ups, claiming to be the only company with specialised computer systems designed to accelerate AI and a roadmap focusing on open-source innovations.
The investment followed a leadership shake-up earlier this year, with the company now headed by Jim Keller (pictured, left), an engineer and hardware designer who worked for Apple, AMD and Intel.