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26 May, 2017 - 14:09 By Tony Quested

UltraSoc to scale and recruit after raising $6.4m

UltraSoC Baines

Cambridge business UltraSoC has completed a £5 million ($6.4m) funding round to drive continued deployment of its technology and realise its vision of embedding intelligent analytics capabilities into every chip.

Atlante Tech leads a strong line up of new investors including Enso Ventures, Oxford Capital, and successful CEO and serial entrepreneur Guillaume d'Eyssautier, who join existing investors Octopus Ventures and South East Seed Fund (FSE Group).

UltraSoC CEO Rupert Baines told Business Weekly the St John’s Innovation Centre company would be growing and recruiting on the back of the raise.

He said: “Hard tech is back in favour with the UK and global investment community, with recent funding for Ultrahaptics, Graphcore and SiFive (a fellow RISC-V proponent), plus successful exits at Movidius and Mobileye. 

“Our investors are excited by the potential of UltraSoC’s technology and are committed to supporting our aim of putting intelligent analytics into every chip.”

As part of the funding, Miles Kirby of Oxford, Kirill Mudryy of Enso and Alvise Bonivento of Atlante will join the UltraSoC board, alongside existing investor representative Luke Hakes (Octopus), board chair Chris Gilbert and non-executive director Chris Wade.

UltraSoC’s semiconductor intellectual property (SIP) enables designers to easily and cost-effectively create complex SoCs (systems on chip) with built-in intelligence that continuously monitors and responds to real-world behaviour. This allows SoCs to optimise power consumption and performance and deal with security threats or safety breaches.

Successful development of the company’s debug tools and increased awareness of the technology’s potential benefits has meant a series of significant commercial engagements, with more in the pipeline.

Amongst others, HiSilicon (Huawei), Imagination Technologies, Movidius (now Intel), and Microsemi all use UltraSoC technology in their designs, delivering proven hardware-embedded benefits to their customers. To ensure these benefits are accessible to customers in all sectors across the globe, UltraSoC partners with leading names in the semiconductor industry including ARM, Baysand, Cadence/Tensilica, CEVA, Codasip, Lauterbach, MIPS and Teledyne LeCroy.

The significant line-up of new and existing investors in this funding round reflects the company’s growing commercial traction and technological progress. Likewise, the company’s potential is being realised as the need for safety, security and performance-tuning becomes critical.

Embedded analytics allows the chip to monitor and optimise its own behaviour at a hardware level and provides insights that enable engineers to make improvements and fix problems.

The same technology can detect evolving real-world threats and problems – for instance those caused by malicious attacks. These features benefit any electronic system but are particularly attractive in the automotive and high-performance computing (HPC) sectors.

The investment in UltraSoC also reflects changes taking place in market areas where embedded analytics offers chip makers and their customers a distinct competitive advantage. 

Dr Alvise Bonivento of lead investor Atlante Tech commented on this point: “UltraSoC has a great team, technology and substantial commercial traction. The time is right for UltraSoC’s embedded intelligence to make a significant difference to mass market and mission critical applications.”

UltraSoC’s flagship product line is a suite of semiconductor IP that allows chip designers to integrate an intelligent analytics infrastructure into the core hardware of their devices. 

By monitoring and analysing the real-world behaviour of entire systems via UltraSoC’s intelligent analytics embedded in the silicon, engineers can take action to reduce system power consumption, increase performance, protect against malicious intrusions, and ensure product safety.

These capabilities address applications in a broad range of market sectors, from automotive and IoT products, to at-scale computing and communications infrastructure.

Silverpeak, the technology investment bank, acted as exclusive financial adviser to UltraSoC in the transaction.

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Rupert Baines

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