SemiFive is pursuing Series A investment after securing a KRW 9.1 billion seed-level investment in 2019, according to industry sources on Feb. 17.
With aim to close the round by early May at the latest, the firm is approaching key institutional investors based on a valuation at around KRW 100 billion.
The producer of RISC-V Core IP and custom SoC chips has been avidly recruiting more talent. They include former Samsung Electronics System LSI division’s head of SoC development who has joined as vice president. The firm also made a few corporate acquisitions, including Samsung’s foundry design solution partner Sesol Semiconductor and a small logic design company called Dashim.
“Given the talent vacuum in the industry, it’s amazing that the company managed to gather together this many people and undergo such M&As,” said one industry watcher.
SemiFive is an affiliate of US-based semiconductor startup SiFive. The founder of SiFive invested in SemiFive, which established the Korean corporation in the first half of this year. Samsung Electronics is one of SemiFive's close partners.
SiFive was founded in 2015 by UC Berkley Professor Krste Asanović and two other experts including Dr. Lee Yoon-sup. They developed RISC-V, an open-source hardware instruction set architecture based on established reduced instruction set computer principles. Industry watchers say that the RISC-V core is smaller and uses less energy compared to the ARM core.
Samsung Electronics’ foundry division is working with SemiFive to produce RISC-V-based core chips. In October last year, SemiFive head Cho Myung-hyun said that the firm is developing chip designing solution based on Samsung’s 14nm LPP technology-based design solutions.
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