Home / News / Technology / AI Chip Startup Rivos Secures Over $250 Million After Apple Lawsuit Settlement
4 min read

AI Chip Startup Rivos Secures Over $250 Million After Apple Lawsuit Settlement

Last Updated April 16, 2024 3:30 PM
Giuseppe Ciccomascolo
Last Updated April 16, 2024 3:30 PM

Key Takeaways

  • Silicon Valley startup Rivos secured $250 million in funding to boost artificial intelligence (AI) chip production.
  • Rivos aims to start producing chips using TSMC’s 3NE process technology.
  • Apple filed a suit against Rivos last year but settled it in February.

Rivos, a Silicon Valley chip developer, secured  over $250 million in funding as it prepares to launch its inaugural product. This highlights the demand for innovative hardware catering to artificial intelligence (AI) requirements.

This funding achievement closely follows a recent settlement  between Rivos and Apple. The Cupertino-based tech giant had previously filed a lawsuit against Rivos, alleging the theft of trade secrets about computer chip technology.

Rivos Raises More Than $250 Million

On Tuesday, April 16, 2024, Rivos disclosed that it secured over $250 million in an oversubscribed, extended Series A funding round. Matrix Capital Management spearheaded the round, also featuring notable contributions from industry heavyweights such as Intel (through its corporate VC arm) and MediaTek. Additional support came from Cambium Capital, Hotung Venture Group, Walden Catalyst, Dell Technologies Capital, and Koch Disruptive Technologies.

Rivos is banking on the demand from AI users who don’t necessarily require the priciest and most potent chips offered by companies like Nvidia to operate their services. The company is targeting customers engaged in data analytics and generative AI. It aims to leverage AI’s growing popularity following the emergence of ChatGPT.

“We can cater to smaller-scale setups where Nvidia’s offerings might be perceived as excessive in terms of cost,” said  Puneet Kumar, Rivos’ co-founder and CEO. “We can introduce a solution that is sufficiently effective and can compete quite favorably.”

Lip-Bu Tan, Rivos’ founding chairman and an early supporter, highlighted the promising long-term prospects of the RISC-V chip, particularly in data analytics and generative AI applications. Tan, former chairman and CEO of chip design software company Cadence Design Systems, has a track record of investing in pivotal chip startups acquired by industry giants like Amazon.com, Qualcomm, and Intel. He currently serves on Intel’s board.

Funds Will Boost New Chip Production

The company intends to utilize the new capital to initiate chip production using Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.’s (TSMC) 3NE process technology , renowned as one of the most advanced in mass production. TSMC‘s strategic partner, VentureTech Alliance, is an existing investor in Rivos. It also participated in this latest funding round alongside other big tech names.

Rivos’s chip is built on the open-standard RISC-V architecture, posing competition to Arm Holdings. However, the company refrained from disclosing specifics regarding its chip structure, product release timeline, or the startup’s valuation.

Aside from chip development, Rivos is actively constructing self-contained data center hardware adhering to the Open Compute Project modular standard. This hardware will essentially function as plug-and-play chip housing. Additionally, the company is developing a software stack termed “firmware-to-app” for programming the chip, according  to Kumar.

While companies such as Qualcomm, MediaTek, Nvidia, and AMD are expected to adopt TSMC’s process for their upcoming chip families, Apple was the sole company to utilize it in 2024 for its M3 chipset series.

Apple Lawsuit Settled

Kumar, the CEO of Rivos, previously worked at P.A. Semi, a chip design firm acquired by Apple during the iPhone maker’s transition to in-house chip production. He founded Rivos in 2021. In 2022, Apple filed a lawsuit against Rivos, alleging trade secret theft. Rivos countersued, accusing Apple of enforcing restrictive agreements on employees, hindering the growth of emerging companies.

Apple has reached a potential settlement in its 2022 lawsuit against startup Rivos, which accused the latter of enticing engineers of misappropriating trade secrets. In a joint court filing , both parties informed the judge of their intention to finalize an agreement resolving their legal disputes.

“The agreement includes provisions for addressing the handling of Apple’s confidential information through forensic examination of Rivos systems and related activities,” as stated in the filing submitted to the federal court in San Jose, California.

Was this Article helpful? Yes No