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Intel Capital led a $150 million Series B funding round for SambaNova Systems, adding its name to the list of big-league backers of the startup building a systems platform for the next wave of computing led by artificial intelligence (AI).
Other backers in the funding round, announced on April 1, include GV (formerly known as Google Ventures) Walden International, Atlantic Bridge Ventures, and Redline Capital. Those funders also contributed to SambaNova in March 2018 during a $56 million Series A round.
As one of the fastest-growing technologies in recent years, AI has drawn heavy investment interest, and SambaNova has an advantage in being led by veterans of the tech industry.
In a statement, Rodrigo Liang, co-founder and CEO of SambaNova Systems, said: “To be able to partner with industry powerhouses in semiconductors and AI software to help revolutionize the AI market… [means that] SambaNova is poised to accelerate the next generation of AI applications with a radically new systems architecture to empower forward-moving organizations to strategically deploy AI at scale.”
SambaNova was founded in Palo Alto in 2017 by Stanford Professors Kunle Olukotun (who is known as the “father of the multi-core processor”) and Chris Ré. The company was most recently valued at $211.6 million.
Intel’s interest in SambaNova was part of a $117 million investment it made across 14 technology startups announced that day. The companies chosen by the investment arm of the Phoenix, Arizona-based chipmaker span the fields of AI, communications, manufacturing, and health care. Intel Capital typically invests $300 million to $500 million annually in emerging technology, the firm said in the statement.
Wendell Brooks, senior vice president of Intel Corp. and president of Intel Capital, said the SambaNova team “has the enterprise expertise and proven ability to bring systems to market.”
He added: “Artificial intelligence technology is rapidly developing, and Intel sees the potential to address many of the world’s biggest challenges as AI matures. Our continued investments in AI leaders reflect our confidence in the technology’s ability to usher in a new era of computing.”
Ambreen Ali is a freelance writer and editor based in the New York City area who specializes in business and technology. She has 15 years of reporting experience, including covering Capitol Hill and reporting from South Asia.