Seven months ago, AI edge chip vendor, Blaize, launched a new no-code AI software application to make it easier for customers to build applications for its AI chip-equipped PCIe cards, modules and devices.
AI Edge Chip Vendor Blaize Gets $71M in Series D Funding to Expand Its Edge, Automotive Products
July 28, 2021 by Todd R. Weiss
Now, the company has announced the receipt of an additional $71 million in Series D funding from investors including Franklin Templeton, Temasek and DENSO to continue its product development, engineering and sales efforts.
The new funding brings the company’s total investment pot to $155 million, Dinakar Munagala, the CEO and co-founder of Blaize, told EnterpriseAI.
Dinakar Munagala, Blaize CEO
“The world of AI is moving from AI 1.0 to AI 2.0,” which will replace the retrofitting of AI to existing processes to instead offering new platforms and products to make the work easier and better, said Munagala.
“It is just like the whole leap from MS-DOS to Microsoft Windows – that kind of leap is what we are making happen here,” he said. “The money that we raised is actually funding this development and our roadmap of products. We do have products out in the market right now, as of Q4 2020, and this is to accelerate our growth.”
Presently, Blaize offers its initial AI embedded and accelerator products, including the Blaize Pathfinder and Xplorer hardware platforms and the no-code Blaize AI Software Suite, which debuted last December.
The Pathfinder and Xplorer devices are built on the Blaize Graph Streaming Processor (GSP) architecture, which includes 16 GSP cores and 16TOPS of AI inference performance. The devices use seven watts of power and deliver up to 60x better system-level efficiency compared to GPUs or CPUs for edge AI applications, according to Blaize. The Blaize GSP is 100 percent programmable and features advanced capabilities including multi-threading and streaming. The new funding will support these products and the development of future products for automotive, smart retail, smart city and industrial markets.
AI is still too hard to use for enterprises and their employees, said Munagala. “There are no easy to program tools – it’s really difficult,” he said. “You set up a Linux server farm … and then build an AI solution,” which takes huge skills from AI data scientists or machine learning engineers who can make sense of it all and create something of value, he added.
“What our company’s vision and mission is, where we are headed with this whole AI 2.0 approach, is that people really need efficient hardware, and very synergistic software and tools,” said Munagala. That’s where its Blaize AI Software Suite comes in, to allow non-technical workers within enterprises to build needed applications that work with Blaize’s hardware products. “He or she may not be a data scientist or a machine learning engineer, but as long as they know how to use a computer, they are able to build and deploy an AI solution,” he said.
Blaize’s Target Markets The company, which has about 320 employees, is headquartered in California and has its automotive AI team in the U.K. and its chip engineering and software teams in India.
The company, which was founded in 2010, has been working with automotive OEMs and tier one parts suppliers for several years to integrate its chips and cards for automotive uses, said Munagala. That includes automotive parts company, Denso, while others have not yet been publicly named, he said. Richard Terrill of Blaize
The News Highlights
- Blaize, a maker of AI edge chips, has raised $71 million in Series D funding to expand its edge and automotive product lines
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