Chinese AI Chips Developer WITINMEN Closes $14M Series A Round


Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) chips and system solutions provider WITINMEN has closed nearly RMB100 million (US$14.22 million) in a series A round of financing led by integrated circuit-focused investment firm China Fortune-Tech Capital.

A group of investors including Chinese venture capital firm Puhua Capital, and China Merchants Venture, a wholly-owned affiliate of Chinese state-owned China Merchants Group, also poured money into the new round, said WITINMEN chief executive officer Wang Shaodi in an interview with Chinese online publication 36Kr.

WITINMEN did not immediately respond to China Money Network seeking comments.

WITINMEN, founded in 2017, specializes in the research and development of low-cost, low-power AI chips and system solutions for devices like bluetooth headsets, battery-powered monitors, smart homes, and cloud accelerators. The start-up focuses on developing processing-in-memory technology based on "NOR Flash," which is a preferred technology for flash devices used to store and run code, usually in small capacities.

The company’s products and solutions are mainly used in two areas, namely speech processing and imaging processing. Specific applications include AI-based processing devices, such as wearable devices, smart-home devices, and other devices that require long standby speech processing, like standby wake-up, voiceprint recognition, command recognition, and speech synthesis. The company also enable battery-powered devices, like monitors and autonomous drones.

The company is testing a chip product with a performance efficiency of 15 TOPS per watt and is expected to realize the mass production in the next six month.

"The AI development is having a significant impact on computer architecture, and it is pushing forward a new revolution. Domestic chip makers in China need to not only catch up with the existing chip competition worldwide, but also overtake foreign competitors amid the new technological trend," said Puhua Capital partner Jiang Chun.

Proceeds will be used to complete the mass production of the company’s new chip product.

 
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