September 24, 2020 –
The renaissance of silicon we have been witnessing for a couple of years now is here. NVIDIA and AMD are moving swiftly to consolidate their leadership positions with resulting upticks in their market valuations. With the end of Moore’s Law, Intel is being challenged for its leadership position by nimble start-ups who are leveraging AI, ML, data centricity, low power and compute intensity as drivers to build a new generation of processors. The hallmark of the start-ups who grow into iconic companies will be their stellar leadership teams with disruptive technology and deep knowledge of how to bring products to market.
NUVIA, a leading-edge silicon design pioneer, is well positioned to be one of the challengers who wins. As they share the news of their Series B funding today, I was reminded of our journey with them which began in early 2019, and our key learnings.
Great teams attract great people
NUVIA co-founders Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati and John Bruno comprise the dream team for a next generation silicon company. They collectively have driven silicon design and engineering on over 20 chips, including those that power the iPhone, with over 100 patents granted to date, and have held a diverse array of leadership engineering roles at Google, Apple, ARM, Broadcom, AMD and ATI Technologies. Since founding NUVIA, they have been able to attract a great team of leaders around them including heads of silicon engineering and marketing, as well as superstar technical talent to grow to over 200 employees today.
NUVIA’s mission is to create the world’s best server processor that leads the industry in every important metric: performance, energy efficiency, scalability, compute density and total cost of ownership. NUVIA is building a leading-edge SoC and CPU core, codenamed “Orion” and “Phoenix,” that are designed to deliver industry leading performance on real cloud workloads. More details on expected performance for the Phoenix CPU can be found at: https://nuviainc.com/blog/performancedeliveredanewway.
To get from concept to this milestone has required the work of world-class and experienced technologists. In addition, the team has built relationships with key suppliers and already engaged with key customers.
It helps to have a prepared mind
Over our 50 year history of people-first investing, we have partnered with some legendary semiconductor entrepreneurs including Wilf Corrigan/LSI Logic, TJ Rodgers/Cypress, John Hennessy/MIPS, Eli Harari & Sanjay Mehrotra/SanDisk, and Dado Banatao/S3. Starting a few years ago, it became clear that with the end of Moore’s Law, new semiconductors will be required for a mobile-first, cloud-native, data-dominated, AI-powered, low-power, IoT world. We believe that venture capitalists need to have a sense of *adventure*, taking risk by partnering at the idea stage with entrepreneurs who plan to disrupt massive industries. We began chatting with Juniper Networks founder Pradeep Sindhu as he was thinking about building a new company and led the Series A for Fungible, which is building a new class of processor for data-centric computing called the DPU. Similarly, we met with Manu six months before NUVIA was formed, and partnered with the founders starting at the seed stage, co-leading their Seed and Series A financings in 2019.
With the support of seasoned investors and the capital raised today, we believe that NUVIA is in a great position to deliver a family of processors based on silicon design that is re-imagined for a compute intensive and low-power world. We congratulate Gerard, Manu and John on their progress to date. We are looking forward to partnering with new investors including Mithril Capital, Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai (founders of Marvell Technology Group), funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company, Temasek, Redline Capital and Atlantic Bridge. It’s been a delight working with existing investors Capricorn Investment Group, Dell Technologies Capital, Nepenthe LLC, and WRVI Capital. Together, we are excited about putting silicon back into Silicon Valley.