Chipmaker Graphcore today said it was closing in on a $2bn (£1.5bn) valuation after securing $150m in a fresh funding round.
Graphcore, which specialises in processors for machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), secured the backing from new investors Baillie Gifford, Mayfair Equity Partners and M&G Investments.
The cash boost, which was an extension of a Series D round that closed in December 2018, takes the firm’s total investment to $450m. It is now valued at $1.95bn.
The Bristol-based startup is best known for its Intelligence Processor Unit, which is designed for use in AI software.
In November Graphcore signed a deal with Microsoft for the use of its chips in the tech giant’s cloud computing business. It has also secured a partnership with Dell.
Graphcore chief executive Nigel Toon said: “2019 was a transformative year for Graphcore as we moved from development to a full commercial business with volume production products shipping.”
The chipmaker said it was starting the financial year with more than $300m in cash reserves to fund its research and development and global expansion.
The firm’s headcount more than doubled last year as it expanded its engineering centres in Bristol, Norway and California. It also opened new bases in Cambridge, Beijing and Taiwan.
Exiting investors including Merian Chrysalis, Ahren Innovation Capital, Amadeus Capital Partners and Sofina also contributed to the investment round.
Graphcore first bagged unicorn status when it broke the $1bn valuation mark in its Series D round last December thanks to funding from BMW and Microsoft.
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