Three former executives in charge of iPhone chips at Apple have raised US$240 million to fund Nuvia, a startup designing data center chips.
The successful funding round was led by Mithril Capital, a venture capital firm co-founded by early Facebook investor Peter Thiel.
Nuvia will target undisclosed customers running massive data centers primarily using chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.
The prospective customers were not disclosed, but Reuters did note that Facebook is one of the world’s biggest buyers of data center chips.
The funding is expected to help Nuvia finish development of its data center chips, which should reach customers by 2022. The startup worked with Dell Technologies, whose venture capital unit invested in the California-based firm.
Nuvia is one of several firms developing server chips with technology powered by SoftBank’s Arm, which NVIDIA agreed to buy for US$40 billion in September 2020.
Nuvia Chief Executive, Gerard Williams III, said Nuvia’s products will continue to use Arm technology, but the firm is evaluating options such as RISC-V, an open source rival to Arm.
“Like any prudent company out there, we’re always exploring other architectures,” said Mr. Williams in an interview.
“What I would call some growing up to do yet, but it’s something to definitely pay attention to,” he added.
The funding round brought the capital raised to US$293 million. Neither Nuvia nor Mithril revealed whether Mr. Thiel or anyone else from Mithril Capital would join its board as a result of the funding round.
Nuvia was established last year to design a data center processor chip that is faster and more power-efficient than current offerings, tapping the team’s experience building powerful chips for battery-powered devices like the iPhone.
Last year, Apple filed a breach-of-contract claim that Mr. Williams was forbidden in an intellectual property agreement from planning or engaging in business activities that are ‘competitive with or directly related to Apple’s business or products’.
This year, Mr. Williams filed a counterclaim against Apple that accuse the tech giant of doing the same thing, adding that his former employer had been trying to recruit staff from Nuvia.
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