Artificial intelligence Semiconductors and 5G Startups

5G Chip Startup EdgeQ Lands $75M Round

Santa Clara, California-based EdgeQ locked up a $75 million investment round — the largest raise this year by a U.S.-based semiconductor startup.

The funding consisted of both institutional and strategic investors — including Phaistos Investment Fund, Strategic Development Fund, EDBI, Iron Grey, ST Engineering, Yaletown, ClearSky and other existing investors.

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EdgeQ anticipates using the fresh capital to ramp up production of chips that can unify both 4G and 5G onto a single chip, and can scale in performance and features via software upgrades. The chip provides both connectivity and compute at the edge for public and private networks and can be used for things ranging from industrial automation projects to satellite communications.

“By removing the friction and price premium that traditionally accompanies cellular deployment, we have envisioned a new backbone that is simple, intuitive and open,” said co-founder and CEO Vinay Ravuri. “And this disruption is available now.”

Founded in 2018, the startup has raised $126 million, according to Crunchbase data.

Semi heat

Due to a variety of issues that run the gamut from inconsistent demand to production costs, semiconductor startups are often left behind in the race for VC dollars. Even the $52 billion Chips Act did not seem to spark the startup industry.

However, there could be an increased appetite as the AI explosion continues. New chips with better processing will be needed to train large language models for AI. Nvidia is leading the charge, although recent news suggests Microsoft is looking to build its own AI chip.

The race for better AI and the general growing interest in the domestic semiconductor industry could help startups raise cash in an unsteady economic environment.

Last year saw U.S.-based, VC-backed semi startups raise only $1.7 billion in 57 deals — down from $2.3 billion in 68 deals in 2021, according to Crunchbase data.

So far this year, less than $200 million has been raised by such startups — with EdgeQ leading the way.

Bigger numbers could be on the way.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman

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