Hyundai, Samsung invest $100m in AI Chip Startup Tenstorrent

The goal is to manufacture advanced AI processors and software solutions
A representational picture of Tenstorrent. — Tenstorrent/File
A representational picture of Tenstorrent. — Tenstorrent/File

Tenstorrent, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chip startup led by distinguished engineer Jim Keller, raised a $100 million investment in a debt funding round with a conversions option, jointly led by Hyundai Motor Group and Samsung Catalyst Fund.

The company's goal is to manufacture advanced AI processors and software applications. The AI chip market is quickly growing, projected to represent up to 20% of the overall chip market by 2025.

Tenstorrent, founded in 2016, initially focused on developing internal infrastructure and introduced Grayskull, an all-in-one system to accelerate machine learning model training. 

However, it later altered its course of action to licensing and services, introducing DevCloud, a cloud-based platform to run Artificial Intelligence (AI) models without purchasing hardware.

Hyundai's car-making units, Hyundai Motor and Kia, have invested $50 million each, planning to work together with Tenstorrent to develop central processing units (CPUs) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) co-processors for next-gen transportation vehicles and robots.

Other venture capital (VC) funds, including Eclipse Ventures, Fidelity Ventures, Epiq Capital, and Maverick Capital, also contributed to the investment. The funding will bolster Tenstorrent's efforts in developing products, focusing on AI microchips and machine learning software.

The company sells AI chips and licensed AI software solutions, leveraging the freely available open-processor architecture, RISC-V, for customised processors.