EdgeCortix Inc., a Japan-based edge artificial intelligence (AI) fabless semiconductor development and design company, has announced the closing of a $20 million funding round.

EdgeCortix said in a statement on Wednesday that the funding was led by Japan’s venture capital (VC) firm SBI Investment Co. Ltd. and Global Hands-On VC (GHOVC), a Japan-United States collaboration-focused venture capital with a history of successful semiconductor investments.

EdgeCortix also received an investment from Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, to extend its strategic collaboration with EdgeCortix on AI/machine learning (ML) development.

Existing investors Cycle Group and Monozukuri Ventures also joined this round.

EdgeCortix said it will employ the new funds to bring to market the next generation of SAKURA hardware products, while expanding its business by growing its global sales and marketing capabilities.

The company also plans to bolster its engineering capacity in Japan and open a new development center in India.

EdgeCortix will also selectively hire elite talent in key technology roles with an eye to releasing new generations of its AI focused semiconductor products, spurring further innovations in energy efficiency, including delivering low-power multi-modal generative AI, automation AI and efficient language model capabilities to edge devices.

In conjunction with the close of this funding round, senior leaders from both Renesas and GHOVC will be joining the EdgeCortix Board of Directors.

“The ability to bring AI acceleration capabilities into existing, complex heterogeneous computing systems at low cost, with low latency and industry leading energy efficiency is our mission and the fundamental value proposition of EdgeCortix’s products and technology,” said EdgeCortix Founder and Chief Executive Officer Sakyasingha Dasgupta.

“This funding round along with the recognition from strategic investors is a testament to our incredibly talented team, globally recognized partners and customers,

“We are eager to continue to scale our business with a focus on enabling low-power AI across the edge ecosystem,” he added.

EdgeCortix was founded by company Dasgupta on the groundbreaking idea of creating a high-speed yet very low-power, flexible edge AI-focused processor with a radical software-first approach.

Today, the company’s suite of proprietary software and AI chip products accelerate AI inference tasks for computer vision, natural language processing and generative AI applications, at very low power and low latency, across the complex world of systems operating outside of typical data centers (colloquially called “the edge”).

EdgeCortix aims to democratize access to ML solutions by solving the fundamental problem of delivering near cloud-level AI performance at the edge while achieving over ten times better performance and energy efficiency versus conventional GPUs, CPUs and other commonly used processors.

The company has leveraged its patented AI hardware and software co-exploration process to design a novel AI-specific runtime reconfigurable processor from the ground up.

EdgeCortix’s key focus area, is growing rapidly across the globe.

To date, the company has brought three products to market including: MERA, its multiple hardware platform compatible compiler software framework; Dynamic Neural Accelerator (DNA), it’s scalable, run-time reconfigurable neural network processor intellectual property (IP) and the power-efficient TSMC 12nm technology-based SAKURA AI co-processor device.

Together, these three products form an integrated platform that is especially suited for real-time AI applications with streaming data, such as high-resolution cameras and sensors, autonomous and controlled robotics systems, signal processing, language models and multi-model generative AI-based systems.

“SBI Investment cultivates innovative companies under our management philosophy as a ‘New Industry Creator.’

“We aim to be a leading company in the creation and development of the core industries of the 21st century,” SBI Investment Department Management Team (Yusuke Matsumoto, Executive Officer, General Manager, Shohei Yamada, Deputy General Manager, Koshiro Ashizawa, Assistant Manager) said.

According to them, the semiconductor sector is clearly a core industry, which is so important that it has often been called ‘the rice of industry.’

“We have conducted extensive research focusing on the rapidly evolving and growing AI semiconductor market and we are convinced that EdgeCortix is a company that can provide truly innovative products and services and keenly differentiate itself from its competitors,

“At SBI, we are committed to supporting the EdgeCortix management team, as they possess the necessary skills, drive and business acumen to lead the industry. Together with EdgeCortix we will pioneer the future of Edge AI,” they added.

Meanwhile, Renesas Electronics Corporation Global Business Development and Ecosystem Vice President Mohammed Dogar said that the firm has been collaborating very successfully with the EdgeCortix development and management teams over the last two years by integrating their MERA compiler, software and toolset with its own proprietary AI/ML chipsets.

“EdgeCortix solutions are innovative and highly scalable. We look to continue to expand our business relationship across our collective edge AI-focused portfolio of products,” he said.

GHOVC Founder and Managing Partner Shri Dodani, on the other hand, said that over the last three years, the firm has provided both financial and consultative resources in support of the greater Japanese startup ecosystem.

“Our team is well positioned to support the EdgeCortix team in growing and delivering their industry leading solutions across the globe,” he said.

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