Israeli startup NeuroBlade raises over $27M to develop a new type of AI chip

They has announced the completion of a $23 million Series A financing round, bringing to $27.5 million the total raised by the company. NeuroBlade is developing an artificial intelligence (AI) chip for the inference stage for both data centers and end-devices. The financing round was led by Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) cofounder Marius Nacht with the participation of Intel Capital and existing investors StageOne Ventures and Dov Moran’s Grove Ventures.

NeuroBlade was founded in 2017 by CEO Elad Sity and CTO and VP product strategy Eliad Hillel. Sity and Hillel are both graduates of the technological unit of Israel’s Intelligence Corps and formerly key employees of SolarEdge (Nasdaq:SEDG), which grew from a small startup to a successful public company. Both of them became immersed in high tech from a young age, long before their military service.

The AI processor market segment is currently led by Nvidia and Intel but is becoming more crowded as more startups develop processors for different market segments, as well as large corporations that are developing processors for their own needs. AI chips are used today in a wide range of applications, including image and speech recognition, video analysis, autonomous driving and many more.

The deployment and use of AI is still limited by factors such as size, price, throughput or performance of these chips. NeuroBlade aims to solve this with their chip which is designed with different technology and architecture that allows it to solve a fundamental issue of running AI applications. It maintains a strong performance level despite being smaller and less expensive to make.

According to NeuroBlade, the chip is meant to run several neural networks and multiple complex algorithms at the same time. Its main advantage, according to the company, is that it is able to also solve tomorrow’s problems, not just the relatively “simple” problems computers grapple with today.

Sity said, “We started out slightly over two years ago with an ambitious idea how to solve AI’s computational challenges. I would like to thank the investors and partners who share the excitement and faith in our product and the way to get there. This is also an opportunity to thank our employees for all their work and for walking the extra mile to make our vision materialize. Our core team has grown stronger over the past two years, creating a solid foundation for the upcoming growth.”

Grove Ventures managing partner Dov Moran said, “From the first moment it was clear this team has a very different, yet feasible concept for an AI chip. Walking this idea from square one has been a gratifying journey, from the setting up of a strong team around the entrepreneurs to this meaningful funding event that would allow the company to take a big leap forward.”

Hillel added, “Leaving SolarEdge, a company I’ve been part of for years, is no simple thing – leaving the position, the friends and the security of working for a big company. We decided to leave because we knew we were starting something new and different that could provide significant value to customers. Fortunately, the experience we accumulated in the past was very relevant in helping us face our new challenges – making something out of nothing, by taking different technologies, which are not necessarily related, adding our secret sauce and talent and integrating them into something bigger.”