Intel launches $1bn fund for disruptors in the foundry space

9 Feb 2022

Image: © michelmond/Stock.adobe.com

Amid a global chip shortage, Intel is backing start-ups and companies developing tech that could accelerate foundry customers’ time to market.

Intel has launched a $1bn fund aimed at early-stage start-ups and established businesses developing tech for the foundry space.

The fund is part of the chip giant’s bid to drive disruptive technologies to help meet the growing global demand for semiconductors.

Future Human

It will prioritise investments that could accelerate foundry customers’ time to market, covering intellectual property, software tools, innovative chip architectures and advanced packaging tech.

‘Intel is an innovation powerhouse, but we know that not all good ideas originate from within our four walls’
– RANDHIR THAKUR

The fund will take a three-pronged approach to strengthening the foundry industry, starting with equity investments in disruptive start-ups. It will also make strategic investments to accelerate partner scale-ups, as well as investments in the development of disruptive tools to support Intel Foundry Services (IFS) customers.

The initiative is a collaboration between IFS and Intel Capital.

“Intel is an innovation powerhouse, but we know that not all good ideas originate from within our four walls,” said Randhir Thakur, IFS president.

Thakur added that “innovation thrives in open and collaborative environments,” and that the $1bn fund would “marshal the full resources of Intel to drive innovation in the foundry ecosystem.”

Saf Yeboah, Intel senior vice-president and chief strategy officer, added that over the last 30 years, the chipmaker has invested more than $5bn into 120 companies supporting the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem, from materials to software tools.

“Our investments, which range from pathfinding bets into early-stage companies to deeply strategic and collaborative investments, drive innovation across architecture, IP, materials, equipment and design,” Yeboah said.

Intel is making investments to boost semiconductor manufacturing amid a global chip shortage. The company is planning major investments in Europe and announced last month that it is building a massive new chip-making facility in Ohio with an initial $20bn investment.

Europe is also taking steps to elevate its semiconductor ecosystem with the European Chips Act. The new act, revealed this week, is proposing to ease state aid rules to fund new developments and improve EU resilience to supply chain disruptions. If it is passed, it will be the EU’s first major legislative effort in the area.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com