Korean AI Chip Startup Raises $80.5M, Increases Valuation Eightfold

DeepX earns the support of Samsung’s “Mr Semiconductor” ahead of mass production plans

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

May 14, 2024

2 Min Read
A digital drawing of an AI chip, illuminated blue and white, on a background of binary code
Getty Images

Korean chip startup DeepX has raised $80.5 million in a series C funding round to accelerate its plans to build AI edge chips.

Founded in 2018, DeepX, known locally as 딥엑스, is developing semiconductors for AI workloads. The startup is working with Hyundai Motor and Kia's robotics division to test its hardware.

SkyLake Equity Partners led the round, including AJU IB and BNW Investments joining existing investors TimeFolio Asset Management.

The startup plans to use the funds to accelerate the mass production of its first line of chips, the DX-GEN1. The NPUs are specifically optimized for running AI workloads, with the startup touting them for use in robots, smart factory applications and smart mobility.

DeepX will also use the new capital to build on-device large language models, enabling AI models to run on edge devices such as smartphones.

SkyLake Equity’s involvement in the funding round is significant as the venture capital was founded by DaeJe Chin, Korea’s former Minister of Information and Communication.

Known as "Mr. Semiconductor,” Chin previously ran Samsung’s memory chips division in the late 1990s, helping it become one of the top semiconductor businesses.

"Chin, who elevated the Korean semiconductor industry to global prominence, is the ideal person to validate DeepX’s achievements,” said Lokwon Kim, DeepX’s CEO. “His investment reaffirms our commitment to establishing DeepX as a leading AI semiconductor technology pioneer and Korea's first global AI fabless company.”

Related:South Korea Commits $6.8B to Boost AI Chip Development, Production

Ahead of its mass production plans, DeepX said it’s working with more than 100 global companies, integrating its hardware into smart cameras, medical devices and servers in the U.S., China and Taiwan.

The latest funding round increased the startup's valuation to $530 million, an eightfold increase from its previous round.

The Korean firm is the latest chip startup to have secured millions of dollars in funding. In just the past month, Israeli firm Hailo raised $120 million while Intel and Dell-backed Rivos brought in $250 million.

Investment in DeepX’s home of Korea is on the rise as the country is vying to become a top AI and chip nation. Last month, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol announced plans to invest $6.8 billion by 2027 in the AI semiconductor market.

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

Keep up with the ever-evolving AI landscape
Unlock exclusive AI content by subscribing to our newsletter!!

You May Also Like