UPDATED. 2024-07-17 07:31 (수)
LG-backed AI NPU firm Aim Future to open Series B funding round
LG-backed AI NPU firm Aim Future to open Series B funding round
  • JY Han
  • 승인 2024.06.12 20:02
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Startup aims for up to 20 billion won in funding, CEO says
Aim Future CEO Changsoo Kim Image: TheElec
Aim Future CEO Changsoo Kim Image: TheElec

AI neural processing unit (NPU) firm Aim Future will open its Series B funding round in the second half of the year, Aim Future CEO Changsoo Kim told TheElec.

The startup will open the round sometime between October and November and aim to close sometime in the first half of 2025 with the aim to secure between 15 billion won to 20 billion won, Kim said.

The funds will be used to manufacture multi-chip wafers (MPW) for new trial products and overseas marketing, the CEO added.

Aim Future has various series of NPUs, from NMP300, 500, to 700, which are designed for applications in edge AI SoCs.

Its latest series is called GAIA which takes up a smaller surface space and upped expandable memory. 

The MPW service for the GAIA series will use TSMC’s processes. Aim Future has recently signed a deal for this with Asicland, a Korean design house partner of the Taiwanese chip giant.

Aim Future was founded in October 2020 by Kim, who previously designed chips at Samsung, Cadence, Synopsys, and Texas Instruments. Just before forming the startup, he worked at the American arm of LG Electronics’ SiC Center, the electronics maker’s chip research center. LG Electronics was one of the first strategic investors of Aim Future when it was founded.

Last year, the startup secured 5 billion won in its Series A funding round __ in total since its founding, it has secured 7.33 billion won in funding.

Kim claimed the company was valued at 40 billion won in its latest bridge funding round. The CEO is hoping Aim Future will be valued even higher in the Series B funding Round.

Last year, it posted 1.5 billion won in annual revenue and the goal is to double growth every year, he also said.

Aim Future is a chipless firm where it sells its AI NPU IPs to system semiconductor companies, such as fabless and design house companies. South Korea’s Openedges Technology and US firm Tenstorrent also have this business model. Aim Future’s NPU IPs are already in use in LG Electronics’ refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, and other home appliances.

Kim touted the company’s NPUs as having higher hardware performance and lower power consumption than its competitors. Aim Future also offers its own software development kit called NeuroMosAIc Studio, which supports AI frameworks such as TensorFlow, Caffe, Eras, PyTorch, and ONNX.

One reason why South Korean companies that excel in hardware aren’t making waves in AI is due to their lack of support in software, the CEO said. The majority of Aim Future’s staff of over 80% were software developers in contrast to this, he stressed.

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