Korean AI Chip Startup Raises $80.5 Million and Eightfolds Its Valuation

Korean AI Chip Startup Raises $80.5 Million and Eightfolds Its Valuation

In a series C fundraising round, Korean chip firm DeepX raised $80.5 million to advance its plans to produce AI edge processors.

Originally from Korea, DeepX (씥엑스) was founded in 2018 with the goal of creating semiconductors for AI workloads. To test its hardware, the business is collaborating with the robotics departments of Hyundai Motor and Kia.

In addition to TimeFolio Asset Management, new investors AJU IB and BNW Investments led the round lead by SkyLake Equity Partners.

The startup intends to utilize the money to quicken the DX-GEN1 chip line’s mass production. The startup highlights the NPUs’ ability to execute AI workloads and their potential applications in robots, smart factory applications, and smart mobility.

With the additional funding, DeepX plans to develop massive language models that operate on-device, allowing AI models to be used on edge devices like smartphones.

Given that DaeJe Chin, the former minister of information and communication for Korea, created SkyLake Equity, the venture capital firm’s participation in the investment round is noteworthy.

Known as “Mr. Semiconductor,” Chin oversaw Samsung’s memory chips group in the late 1990s and contributed to the company’s rise to prominence in the semiconductor industry.

“Chin, who elevated the Korean semiconductor industry to global prominence, is the ideal person to validate DeepX’s achievements,” said Lokwon Kim, DeepX’s CEO. “His investment reaffirms our commitment to establishing DeepX as a leading AI semiconductor technology pioneer and Korea’s first global AI fabless company.”

Prior to going into mass production, DeepX stated that it is collaborating with over 100 international businesses to integrate its hardware into servers, smart cameras, and medical equipment in the US, China, and Taiwan.

The startup’s valuation soared to $530 million in the most recent investment round, eight times more than in the prior round.

The Korean company is the most recent silicon startup to raise millions of dollars. Israeli startup Hailo has raised $120 million in the last month, while Rivos, backed by Intel and Dell, has raised $250 million.

Korea, the birthplace of DeepX, is seeing an increase in investment as it competes to become a leading AI and semiconductor nation. Yoon Suk Yeol, the president of South Korea, declared last month that the country would invest $6.8 billion on AI semiconductors by 2027.