By Jane Lanhee Lee
(Reuters) - Mythic, a startup making artificial intelligence chips for use in gadgets such as smart home devices or security cameras, on Tuesday said it raised $70 million in its latest round of funding.
The Redwood City, California-based chip maker started in 2012, uses analog technology for its chips rather than digital. Digital chips store and process data in 1s and 0s, while analog chips can process wave forms such as speech or video and are used to digitize speech and video into 1s and 0s.
"What it really does is allows us to get essentially GPU levels of performance — those big book sized cards burning one hundred watts and costing $4,000 dollars," said Mike Henry, co-founder and CEO of Mythic.
GPUs are digital graphic chips often used for video processing and Nvidia Corp. is the biggest player in the market.
"With analog compute, we could get that same compute power in a small, low power, low cost chip. Something that can go into really any device out there," Henry added.
An explosion of gadgets and sensors collecting data everywhere is creating a huge need for new computing power to make sense of the data using algorithms, and investors have been putting in big bets expecting one of the new AI chip startups to challenge the incumbent giants.
Mythic has so far raised a total of $165.2 million and the latest round of funding will help accelerate plans for mass production, develop its next generation processors and build up software that works with the chips. It's currently testing with potential customers.
The Mythic chip can process the data, such as video, locally and just send key information back to the data center for use if needed, said Henry.
Its latest funding round was led by private equity firm BlackRock and software company Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
(Reporting By Jane Lanhee Lee; Editing by Aurora Ellis)