Data Science Investment Counter —Funding raised by UK data science companies in 2018.
£ 5.640 Million

Atomico Leads £23M Series B in Graphcore (and Demis Hassabis Chips in, too)

Graphcore, a Bristol-based company manufacturing a new kind of processors that could dramatically speed up machine learning, has raised £23 million ($30 million) in a Series B funding round led by international VC firm Atomico.

Previous investors Amadeus Capital, Robert Bosch Venture Capital, C4 Ventures, Dell Technologies Capital, Draper Esprit, Foundation Capital, Pitango, and Samsung Catalyst Fund also stuck around for this round.

The most noticeable new entries, though, were artificial intelligence big shots such as DeepMind’s  Demis Hassabis , OpenAI’s Greg Brockman and Uber’s chief scientist Zoubin Ghahramani—who took part in the investment tranche as angel investors.

This gives Graphcore enviable access to companies at the cutting edge of AI and machine learning R&D.

The funding comes hot on the heels of another £23 million round, raised in November 2016. Graphcore has explained that the fresh cash will be used to further develop its product and build a community of developers and partners using its technology.

Graphcore’s new Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), together with its Poplar software framework, would allegedly be five to ten times faster than state-of-the-art processors at deep learning training — and even 50 times faster than current processors when it comes to more complex machine learning processes like recurrent neural networks.

IPU’s first shipping is slated to hit the market in late 2017.


Graphcore CEO Nigel Toon commented the round in a statement:“Atomico has a genuinely deep understanding of the machine intelligence market and how it will evolve over the coming years. They also share our vision for building a major new company that can stand at the forefront of what we call ‘Compute 2.0’ – this new age of machine intelligence computing,” he said.

“Many of the leading innovators that we have been working with over the last three years will be early access customers and we will have an exciting time over the next few months.”

Atomico Partner Siraj Khaliq, who is going to join Graphcore’s board, also released a statement: “It’s clear that machine intelligence will sit at the heart of the technological leaps we’ll see in this coming chapter of human history – a process already well underway.” he said.  “Graphcore’s first IPU delivers one to two orders of magnitude more performance over the latest industry offerings, making it possible to develop new models with far less time waiting around for algorithms to finish running.”

Image via Graphcore




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