Foxconn and Winbond invest in chipmaker Kneron
Foxconn and Winbond joins companies such as Qualcomm, Horizons, Sequoia and Weltrend as high profile investors in Kneron
The San Diego based company says it has raised additional funding from Foxconn and Winbond, without specifying the size of the investment. Almost exactly a year ago, the company closed its series A2 funding round at USD 40 million, adding to a series A round that now totals over USD 70 million. Hong Kong businessman Li Ka-Shing's venture capital firm Horizons Ventures was the lead investor in the previous round and has invested in earlier rounds. Other investors in the previous round included Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, CDIB, Himax Technologies Inc, Qualcomm, Thundersoft, Sequoia Capital and Weltrend brought the total Series A funding to USD 71 million. Kneron is dedicated to the design and development of integrated software and hardware edge AI solutions for AIoT, smart home, smart surveillance, security, mobile devices, robotics, and industrial control. The company says it will be working closely with the investors on strategic partnerships and new projects and concepts in the AI space. Kneron’s work with Foxconn will focus on serving AI use cases in industry 4.0 as well as the automotive industry, through Foxconn’s MIH open platform for electric vehicles. Winbond and Kneron will work on developing microcontroller unit (MCU)-based AI and memory computing. Albert Liu, Kneron’s founder and CEO, said “In a time when so many companies have cut back on R&D we are thankful to our investors who believe in the work we are doing at Kneron. Kneron is a young company and has achieved a lot since it was founded in 2015, we plan on achieving much more this coming year and this would not be possible without the backing of investors such as Foxconn and Winbond. This is an incredibly exciting time for AI and Kneron will play a crucial role in the development of this technology”. Kneron provides complete end-to-end integrated hardware and software solutions that enable on-device edge AI inferencing in mobile devices, personal computers, and IoT use cases including smart home devices, surveillance, payments, and smart cars. Their solutions augment cloud-based AI to accelerate AI inferencing on any device. Kneron already includes air conditioning giant GREE and autonomous driving software company Teraki amongst its customers. Albert Liu, Kneron’s founder and CEO, added “We are excited to continue our journey with our partners and investors. 2020 was a great year for Kneron, we released the KL720 and made executive-level hires including Davis Chen, Qualcomm’s former Taipei head of engineering. Aside from working on projects with our investors we also plan to release more chips in 2021. Edge AI is still a new concept for many and we are passionate about bringing this technology to everyone.” As the entire on-device Edge AI industry is still emerging, Kneron’s early investment and commercialization of its technology have positioned it in a leadership position to enable AI adoption in mass-market devices.