Microsoft joins $110m fundraise of AI chip start-up d-Matrix

6 Sep 2023

Image: © Panuwat/

The US start-up claims its chips are optimised to support generative AI systems, as the company pushes into a sector largely dominated by Nvidia.

Microsoft is continuing its focus on AI, with a new investment into AI chip start-up d-Matrix.

The US-based company has closed a $110m Series B round, which was led by global investment firm Temasek and included support from Microsoft’s venture fund M12, which was also part of a $44m fundraise d-Matrix closed last year.

Other investors in the oversubscribed round include Industry Ventures, Ericsson Ventures, Marlan Holdings, Mirae Asset, Cortes Capital, Archerman Capital, TGC Square, Lam Capital and Samsung Ventures.

d-Matrix claims its chips are optimised to support generative AI systems, such as the highly popular ChatGPT which was also heavily backed by Microsoft. The start-up claims its chips use “Digital In-Memory Compute” technology that boosts the efficiency of AI systems.

The company also claims its products can scale with the size of AI models, providing options for businesses “of all sizes and budgets”. Sid Sheth, d-Matrix co-founder and CEO, said the current trajectory of AI is unsustainable as the total cost of ownership (TCO) to run AI “is escalating rapidly”.

“The team at d-Matrix is changing the cost economics of deploying AI inference with a compute solution purpose-built for LLMs [large language models], and this round of funding validates our position in the industry,” Sheth said.

The start-up said the new funding will go towards Corsair, its latest chiplet-based inference compute platform. The company plans to launch this product in 2024 and claims it will position d-Matrix as the frontrunner in efficient AI inference.

“d-Matrix has been following a plan that will enable industry-leading TCO for a variety of potential model service scenarios using a flexible, resilient chiplet architecture based on a memory-centric approach,” said M12 partner Michael Stewart.

The US start-up is focused on a sector largely dominated by Nvidia, which has been benefiting from a global surge in demand for its specialised chips. The focus on AI chips helped Nvidia become the first chipmaker to be valued at $1trn in May.

Last month, Nvidia reported record sales of $13.51bn in its second fiscal quarter, a whopping 101pc higher than the same period last year. CEO Jensen Huang said the company expects to rake in $16bn in the current quarter as “the race is on to adopt generative AI”.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic