Enough to tape out the Orion chip
The future of NUVIA is now brighter as the company managed to secure $240M Series B Funding, money that will be enough tape out the Orion chip. In the light of Nvidia – ARM acquisition times for a custom server architecture could not be better, ensuring NUVIA’s great timing and future prove roadmap is the right way forward.
The funding round was led by Mithril Capital in partnership with Sehat Sutardja and Weili Dai(founders of Marvell Technology Group), funds and accounts managed by BlackRock, Fidelity Management & Research Company, LLC., and Temasek, with additional participation from Atlantic Bridge, Redline Capital, Capricorn Investment Group, Dell Technologies Capital, Mayfield, Nepenthe LLC, and WRVI Capital. NUVIA was founded in February 2019 by John Bruno, Manu Gulati, and Gerard Williams, with the vision to create the world’s leading server processor
The $240 million B funding series, on top of the $53 A series, could be the highest series B ever raised in recent memory. The money ensures silicone and hand and having a chip back from the foundry. Most of the money goes to the hiring stuff and tape our related tasks as NUVIA is on a fast track to expand headcount and finish a custom ARM-based server chip. NUVIA is building a leading-edge SoC and CPU core, codenamed “Orion” and “Phoenix”, designed to deliver industry-leading performance on real cloud workloads.
Potential customers or acquisition is likely to come from the market of hyperscalers. Amazon has been building AWS Graviton chip based on stock ARM architecture, and so did Ampere. Stock ARM Neoverse cores have proven to be insufficient to fight Intel’s X86 server dominance.
NUVIA also heavily benefits from Intel’s 7nm delays and the fact that hypersaclers have had their eyes on custom ARM-based design for a while. Still, before NUVIA, no one had the right mixture to be able to deliver the desired performance per watt.
AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm are potentially interested in acquiring what might become the leadership in ARM-based server / hyperscalers CPU. Everyone from this list above would heavily benefit from the acquisition.
Everyone needs a custom CPU
Qualcomm and Samsung are two most recent examples of companies that abandoned a custom development of an ARM-based mobile CPU core and went with stock ARM. Apple still uses its custom ARM core and is more and less safe from the future turbulence with Nvidia as a new proprietor.
With Nvidia taking ownership in ARM, if and when gets approved, Nvidia would have to ensure partners like Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek, and Huawei that it will continue to invest in mobile cores roadmap. The new market development and Nvidia’s ARM acquisition and the path forward is one significant uncertainty, and the technology market doesn’t do well with uncertainty. Custom cores such as NUVIA and Apple are largely unaffected by the new ARM ownership as they would just have to pay to ARM royalty and won’t rely on ARM-based cores and IP that might or may not be good in the future.
Based on the knowledge of the market, 240 million gets NUVIA a tape out next years, and a year after could be the silicon to customers. Once silicon comes out of the fab, and all goes well, NUVIA can decide to raise series C and build a company further and engage with customers, or they get acquired by one of the larger players. The potential list of exciting parties includes Amazon AWS, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Oracle, even Apple, or the usual chip suspects mentioned above.
Based on the early information shared with the press and Analysts, Nuvia ARM-based server solution is faster than all of its competition.
NUVIA has the ability to say we can go with different architecture if needed and swap ARM with an alternative down the road, something that is not possible for Graviton by AWS or Ampere.
The future is quite clear. It looks like all need high-performance custom CPU and that there will be more consolidation.
“The opportunity in front of NUVIA has never been brighter, with an industry that’s looking for a new way to get the performance needed to power the next generation of cloud and enterprise computing,” said Gerard Williams III, CEO, NUVIA. “We’re very fortunate to have an incredible group of investors behind us as we close Series B and take the next steps in our vision to redefine performance, energy efficiency, scalability, compute density and total cost of ownership within the data center.”