SambaNova raises $676 million in a funding round led by SoftBank

SambaNova Systems, which makes semiconductors for artificial intelligence related computation work, has raised $676 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund 2.
VC funding investmentsSambaNova has raised more than $1 billion to date.

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.

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

“We provide the services to customers so that they don’t have to actually hire and build entire teams of machine learning experts in order to actually be able to run these machines,” said Rodrigo Liang, SambaNova co-founder and CEO.

SambaNova developed its own chip architecture rather than use one of the major architectures such as ARM or x86, used in smartphones and laptop computers.

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, he said.