SiFive, the first fabless provider of customized, open-source-enabled semiconductors, today announced it has raised $8.5 million in a Series B round led by Spark Capital with participation from Osage University Partners and existing investor Sutter Hill Ventures. This Series B round brings the total investment in SiFive to $13.5 million. The funding comes as SiFive experiences a growing demand for RISC-V IP and increased interest in custom silicon.
SiFive was founded by the inventors of RISC-V – Krste Asanovic, Yunsup Lee and Andrew Waterman – with a mission to democratize access to custom silicon. In its first six months of availability, more than 1,000 HiFive1 software development boards have been purchased and delivered to developers in over 40 countries. Additionally, the company has engaged with multiple customers across its IP and SoC products, started shipping the industry’s first RISC-V SoC in November 2016 and announced the availability of its Coreplex RISC-V based IP earlier this month.
“At Spark Capital, we believe technology is the great equalizer. SiFive’s singular goal of putting custom chips into the hands of everyone from startups to exploratory design teams to inventors with a healthy crowdfunding campaign resonates with our core values,” said Todd Dagres, general partner at Spark Capital, who will join the SiFive board of directors. “We are excited at the potential for SiFive to enable new and emerging sectors to bring innovative solutions to market that might otherwise never see the light of day.”
RISC-V has developed a strong ecosystem of more than 60 companies including Google, HPE, Microsoft, IBM, Qualcomm, NVIDIA, Samsung, Microsemi and others. Member companies, as well as third-party open-source contributors, are actively contributing to a maturing stable of software and toolchains, including GCC and binutils, both of which have been upstreamed. SiFive maintains an easy to install toolchain, SDK and BSPs with binaries of the latest open source tools, including OpenOCD, GNU Debugger, Arduino IDE and the Eclipse integrated development environment. More updates are expected at the 6th RISC-V Workshop this week in Shanghai.
This Series B financing comes amid a string of significant milestones for SiFive in the past year:
- Product Innovation: SiFive launched its Freedom Everywhere platform – designed for microcontroller, embedded, IoT and wearable applications – and its Freedom Unleashed platform – for machine learning, storage and networking applications – in July 2016. At the 5th RISC-V Workshop in November, SiFive announced general availability of the Freedom Everywhere 310 (FE310) SoC and the HiFive1 software development board.
- Industry Recognition: SiFive was recognized as the Startup of the Year by the 2016 ACE Awards. Its contributions to the open source community were noted by the Linley Group’s Analyst Choice Awards, which named RISC-V its Technology of the Year for 2016. Additionally, the seminar computer architecture textbook, “Computer Organization and Design,” has been updated to include RISC-V in the latest edition, which was released in April.
- Customer Adoption: Earlier this month, SiFive launched its Coreplex IP and announced a growing ecosystem of partners, including Faraday, Microsemi and United Design Systems, making SiFive Coreplex IP available to their downstream customers.
- Company Growth: SiFive’s employee base has grown more than 280 percent to support the development of its Freedom Everywhere and Freedom Unleashed SoCs, as well as the launch of its E31 and E51 Coreplex IPs. SiFive’s leadership team continues to grow with key engineers from Altera, ARM, Atmel, Cadence Design Systems, Cisco, Intel, Juniper, Marvell, Nvidia Qualcomm, Synopsys and Xilinx.
“We are energized by the partnerships we have forged with our investors and their strong belief in SiFive’s mission,” said Jack Kang, vice president of product and business development at SiFive. “This investment will enable our continued growth for years to come, and will allow SiFive to further establish that alternatives really matter in an era where traditional silicon vendors no longer are the most innovative in the industry.”