Enflame (燧原科技), one of China's artificial intelligence startups, completes its new round of financing with CNY 300 million (USD 43.39 million) on June 6. The funding is led Redpoint China Ventures and followed by Oceanpine Capital, Yunhe Capital, Tencent, Riverhead Capital and ChinaEquity Group. Enflame has closed three rounds of financing totally in more than CNY 600 million (USD 86.77 million).
According to Enflame, this funding will be used for mass production, business development and new AI products development, aiming to develop advanced AI chips with high performance and low cost, as well as customized AI chips solutions.
Yuan Wenda, the founding partner of Redpoint China Ventures said that,
It's expected that AI chips market is valued more than CNY 100 billion (USD 14.46 billion), which is the main contributor for commercialization of AI products at present and in the future.
Launched in 2018, Enflame focuses on designing new chips for deep learning algorithm training mainly used in cloud data center. The R&D team of Enflame consists of many scientists and experts who have 15-year successful experience on chip design and mass manufacture. Founder Zhao Lidong used to work in AMD, then he served RDA Microelectronics (Nasdaq: RDA) as president, which is a chip designer and manufacturor in China.
The competition of designing chips for cloud data center server has become intensive among chips manufacturors, such as Intel, Nvidia, AMD, Qualcomm, Cambricon and so on. Based on professional R&D team, Enflame has great opportunity in this cutting edge field.
In the past two years, numerous of money had flowed into AI chips industry. According to EO Intelligence, 17 AI chips startups raised CNY 14.19 billion (USD 2.05 billion) in 2018. In the first half of this year, nine AI chips startups had closed new rounds of funding with CNY 5.36 billion (USD 0.78 billion).
Among all the investors, Alibaba and Tencent are competing with each other by investment in the field of AI. Alibaba invested Cambricon, DeePhi Tech (required by Xilinx) and C-Sky Microsystems (中天微), which are focusing on AI algorithm training and autonomous driving. And Tencent invested Enflame and Batmine, which develop AI algorithm training and blockchain. Cambricon can be regarded as the direct peer of Enflame, since they develop quite similar products.