Tencent-backed AI startup Enflame Bags US$100M Series B

Tencent-backed AI startup Enflame Bags US$100M Series B

Enflame now valued at approximately $734 million; aims to increase valuation to $990 million by next funding round

Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) startup Enflame (Suiyuan) Technology, which develops cloud-based deep learning chips for AI training platforms, raised almost US$100 million in its Series B funding round led by Summitview Capital, a Beijing-based VC fund that focuses on semiconductor investments in China, according to a company statement on Thursday.

Existing investors who participated in the round include Internet giant Tencent Holdings, SHIVC, a VC fund established by the Shanghai government, Redpoint Ventures China, Oceanpine Capital, Delta Capital, and Wanwu Capital.

“We are firmly optimistic about China’s hard technology development and industry upgrade direction. In the exploration of industrial Internet strategies and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, Tencent and Suiyuan also have a strong synergy effect,” said Tencent Investment Managing Director Yao Leiwen.

“During the landing process, Tencent’s technical team and Suiyuan launched a comprehensive cooperation to help the company greatly accelerate the research and development process. We believe that companies with good products and leading technologies can continue to drive long-term growth,” he added.

According to Crunchbase data, Enflame raised seed funding of close to $1.3 million (RMB 9.5 million) in 2018, closely followed by a pre-A series funding of approximately $48 million (RMB 40 million), led by Tencent in the same year. It raised another $42 million (RMB 300 million) in its Series A funding round in 2019.

With the latest investment, the startup’s total funding has reached almost $191.3 million at a valuation of $734 million (RMB 5.2 billion). The company said it aims to increase its valuation to approximately $990 million (RMB 7 billion) in its next round of fundraising.

According to the company statement, the latest investment will be utilized to scale Enflame’s business, mass produce its chips, expand its tech support team, and to fund research and development of second-generation cloud training and related products.

Founded in March 2018, Enflame develops programmable low-cost deep learning chips for cloud data centers, that are positioned on artificial intelligence training platforms.

The chips adopt an innovative architecture that is independently developed, features a high computing power and energy efficiency ratio, and provides support for mainstream machine learning frameworks, designed and optimized for cloud AI training.

Enflame launched its first cloud data center-oriented AI training chip, Suisi Deep Thinking Unit, in December last year.

“We are working hard to become the first reliable supplier of AI hardware for cloud computing and break the foreign monopoly in the field,” said Enflame Co-founder and CEO Zhao Lidong.

“At the same time, we are cooperating with multiple upstream and downstream partners to implement the national ‘new infrastructure’ strategy,” he added.

Co-founder of Summitview Capital Wu Ping said, “The three major elements of artificial intelligence are algorithms, computing power and data. As a big and powerful country in artificial intelligence, China has never fallen behind in terms of algorithms and data.”

“But in terms of computing power, the high-performance cloud training chip has not broken through for a long time. Enflame’s ability to break this situation is of far-reaching significance for the healthy development of the artificial intelligence industry,” he added.

Header Image courtesy of Enflame

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