DEEPX, an AI Semiconductor Firm, Funds a $80 Million Series C at a $529 Million Valuation

An on-device artificial intelligence (AI) chip firm based in South Korea called DEEPX develops hardware and software for a range of AI uses in electrical devices. This Monday, the company reported that it has raised $80 million (KRW 108.5 billion) at a valuation of $529 million (KRW 723 billion) in a Series C round. This represents a jump of more than eight times the company’s Series B fundraising of approximately $15 million in 2021.

With the Series C funding, the business has raised a total of about $95 million. This money will be used to mass produce its first four products, DX-V1, DX-V3, DX-M1, and DX-H1, for international distribution in late 2024. The fresh funding will also be utilized by the startup to accelerate the development and release of its next generation of on-device large language model (LLM) solutions.

CEO Lokwon Kim of DEEPX, a former employee of Broadcom, Apple, Cisco Systems, and the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, started the company in 2018.

A recent analysis projects that the worldwide edge AI industry, also known as on-device AI, would grow from $11.98 billion in 2021 to $107.47 billion by 2029. Kim said, “The on-device AI market, excluding edge servers, requires AI capabilities to be implemented, bypassing servers or the cloud,” “The [on-device AI market] is expanding due to computer vision capabilities like facial and voice recognition, smart mobility, robotics, the internet of things and physical security systems.”

According to Kim, prospective clients including end-product manufacturers will be able to market their goods using DEEPX’s AI chips in 2025 if mass manufacturing starts this year.

DEEPX is not the only firm that has created AI chip solutions; it employs about 65 people. The Korean company faces rivals such as, which closed on $70 million in April, Hailo, which closed on $120 million last month, and Axelera, an AI chip business based in Belgium that raised $27 million in 2022.

Kim stated that the All-in-4 AI Total Solution, a comprehensive solution for a range of AI applications, and cost and energy consumption efficiency are the company’s differentiators. Its All-in-4 AI solutions include DX-M1 and DX-H1, which are intended for AI computing boxes, AI servers, smart factories, and AI booster chips; and DX-V1 and DX-V3, which are intended for vision systems in home appliances, security camera systems, robot vision, and drones. According to Kim, DEEPX now has over 259 pending patents in the United States, China, and South Korea.

“Nvidia’s GPGPU-based solutions are the most cost-effective for large language model services like ChatGPT; the total power consumed by GPUs operating has reached levels exceed the electrical energy of an entire country,” stated Kim. “This collaborative operation technology between server-scale AI and on-device large AI models are expected to reduce energy consumption and costs a lot compared to relying solely on data centers.”

Although the startup is still in the early stages of development, it is working with over 100 potential customers and strategic partners, including Korean IT company POSCO DX and Hyundai Kia Motors Robotics Lab, to evaluate the capabilities of DEEPX’s AI chip.

Initiating the current investment was the South Korean technology-focused private equity firm SkyLake Equity Partners, with participation from BNW Investments, a private equity firm created by the former president of Samsung Electronics’ memory chip division and Samsung LED. Participating in this round were Timefolio Asset Management, a former supporter, and AJU IB.

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