Jim Keller’s Tenstorrent secures $200 million in new funding, looks to surpass Nvidia’s AI

Technology

Tenstorrent announced today that it has wrapped up a round of Series C funding, bringing in over $200 million that sees the company’s value estimated at $1 billion. The silicon design firm is looking to challenge Nvidia in the AI market, and the additional funds will presumably allow them to build a sustainable roadmap to do so.

Tenstorrent is currently working on the Grayskull AI processor, which has already been sampling with select early customers. The Grayskull architecture uses proprietary Tensix cores, with each core using a programmable single instruction multiple data (SIMD) processor, a high utilization packet processor, and five single-issue RISC cores. Grayskull is slated to hit the market in the back half of 2021.

“Our goal is to continue creating AI focused hardware for developers. Having a great investor like Fidelity is going to help us build a sustainable company for the long term,” said Ljubisa Bajic, Tenstorrent’s CEO, of the recent funding.

The funding round was led by Fidelity Management, and also included capital injections from Eclipse Ventures, Epic CG, and Moore Capital. Tenstorrent is currently backed by Eclipse Ventures and Real Ventures.

Tenstorrent is led by processor architects Ljubisa Bajic and Jim Keller, the latter of whom left Intel in 2020 after a short two-year stint. Keller’s decades of experience come from working at DEC, AMD, Tesla and Apple, where he worked among other things on the Athlon processors, Zen architecture, as well as iPhone’s A4 and A5 mobile chips.