AI startup SambaNova raises $676 million, valued at over $5 billion

SambaNova Systems, a Silicon Valley startup that makes semiconductors for artificial intelligence related computation work, revealed today it raised $676 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund 2.

The latest injection took SambaNova’s total funding to more than $1 billion, valuing the company at more than $5 billion, it said.

The funding round is the third biggest venture capital deal in chips the last two decades, according to data firm PitchBook.

While Silicon Valley has focused its fire power on software, social media, and internet investments over the past decade, there has been a shift in recent years to back more challenging technology, including semiconductors.

PitchBook’s data shows global venture capitalists invested $7.4 billion in 2020, a 20-year record.

SambaNova does not sell its chips, manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TMSC), instead using them to build servers and AI software it then leases to companies for a subscription fee.

The company avoided the impacts of a global chip production shortfall by investing to secure production capacity with TMSC when it heard “rumblings of a shortage” early last year.

The latest funding round included new investors Temasek and Government of Singapore Investment Corp., along with existing investors including BlackRock, Intel Capital, GV, formerly known as Google Ventures, and Walden International.

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