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EdgeCortix set to disrupt the edge market?

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EdgeCortix, a Japan-based edge artificial intelligence (AI) fabless semiconductor development and design company closes $20 million funding round.

The funding round was led by Japan’s foremost venture capital (VC) firm SBI Investment Co. Ltd. and Global Hands-On VC (GHOVC), a leading Japan-US collaboration-focused VC with a history of successful semiconductor investments. In addition, EdgeCortix also received an investment from Renesas Electronics Corporation to extend its strategic collaboration with EdgeCortix on AI/ML (Machine Learning) development. Existing investors Cycle Group and Monozukuri Ventures also joined this round.

EdgeCortix was founded by company CEO Dr. Sakyasingha Dasgupta on the groundbreaking idea of creating a high-speed yet very low-power, flexible edge AI-focused processor with a radical software-first approach. Today, the company’s suite of proprietary software and AI chip products accelerate AI inference tasks for computer vision, natural language processing and generative AI applications, at very low power and low latency, across the complex world of systems operating outside of typical data centers (colloquially called “the edge”).

As its core mission, EdgeCortix aims to democratize access to machine learning solutions by solving the fundamental problem of delivering near cloud-level AI performance at the edge while achieving over ten times better performance and energy efficiency versus conventional GPUs, CPUs and other commonly used processors.

The company has leveraged its patented AI hardware and software co-exploration process to design a novel AI-specific runtime reconfigurable processor from the ground up. This approach contrasts sharply with the typical methods of the last few decades that have focused on first bringing hardware to market, with software treated as an afterthought. The need for this type of integrated solution is rapidly accelerating as the capabilities of general-purpose processors like CPUs and GPUs are quickly becoming outmatched by the workload needs found in today's neural networks, especially in deployment of generative AI applications; from the data center to the power and latency sensitive edge environment.

EdgeCortix will employ the new funds to bring to market the next generation of SAKURA hardware products, while expanding its business by growing its global sales and marketing capabilities. The company also plans to bolster its engineering capacity in Japan and open a new development center in India. EdgeCortix will also selectively hire elite talent in key technology roles with an eye to releasing new generations of its AI focused semiconductor products, spurring further innovations in energy efficiency, including delivering low-power multi-modal generative AI, automation AI and efficient language model capabilities to edge devices.

The edge AI inference market, EdgeCortix’s key focus area, is growing rapidly across the globe. By 2025, more than 75% of enterprise-managed data will be generated or processed outside the typical data center (or at the “edge”), with the total addressable market (TAM) growing to reach US$84 billion. The Asia Pacific region in particular, fueled by significant demands for energy-efficient AI processing across commercial, defense and aerospace applications, is projected to see the highest compound annual growth rate in the world, at an anticipated 40.8% from 2022 to 2027[3].

“The ability to bring AI acceleration capabilities into existing, complex heterogeneous computing systems at low cost, with low latency and industry leading energy efficiency is our mission and the fundamental value proposition of EdgeCortix’s products and technology,” said Founder and CEO Dasgupta. “We are thrilled that multiple leading VC firms and strategic partners have recognized the value we bring to this fast moving, fast-growing market. We are pleased to welcome SBI Investment, GHOVC and Renesas to the EdgeCortix family. This funding round along with the recognition from strategic investors is a testament to our incredibly talented team, globally recognized partners and customers. We are eager to continue to scale our business with a focus on enabling low-power AI across the edge ecosystem.”

“SBI Investment cultivates innovative companies under our management philosophy as a ‘New Industry Creator.’ We aim to be a leading company in the creation and development of the core industries of the 21st century. The semiconductor sector is clearly a core industry, which is so important that it has often been called ‘the rice of industry.’ We have conducted extensive research focusing on the rapidly evolving and growing AI semiconductor market and we are convinced that EdgeCortix is a company that can provide truly innovative products and services and keenly differentiate itself from its competitors. At SBI, we are committed to supporting the EdgeCortix management team, as they possess the necessary skills, drive and business acumen to lead the industry. Together with EdgeCortix we will pioneer the future of Edge AI,” commented the SBI Investment Department Management Team, Yusuke Matsumoto, Executive Officer, General Manager, Shohei Yamada, Deputy General Manager, Koshiro Ashizawa, Assistant Manager.

“We have been collaborating very successfully with the EdgeCortix development and management teams over the last two years by integrating their MERA compiler, software and toolset with our own proprietary AI/ML chipsets,” said Mohammed Dogar, Vice President of Global Business Development and Ecosystem at Renesas Electronics Corporation. “EdgeCortix solutions are innovative and highly scalable. We look to continue to expand our business relationship across our collective edge AI-focused portfolio of products.”

“Over the last three years, GHOVC has provided both financial and consultative resources in support of the greater Japanese startup ecosystem,” said Shri Dodani, a Founder & Managing Partner of GHOVC. “After meeting EdgeCortix, we quickly realized it was a perfect fit for our model: A Tokyo-based technology company that also operates a meaningful global business, focused in developing innovative hardware and software in the edge AI space. Our team is well positioned to support the EdgeCortix team in growing and delivering their industry leading solutions across the globe.”

To date, the company has brought three products to market including: MERA, its multiple hardware platform compatible compiler software framework; Dynamic Neural Accelerator (DNA), it’s scalable, run-time reconfigurable neural network processor intellectual property (IP) and the power-efficient TSMC 12nm technology-based SAKURA AI co-processor device. Together, these three products form an integrated platform that is especially suited for real-time AI applications with streaming data, such as high-resolution cameras and sensors, autonomous and controlled robotics systems, signal processing, language models and multi-model generative AI-based systems. The EdgeCortix Edge AI platform delivers industry leading AI inference capabilities across power and mobility-sensitive devices like aerial, underwater or ground-based vehicles, smart city tech, smart manufacturing, visual processing and 5G-AI integrated systems.

In conjunction with the close of this funding round, senior leaders from both Renesas and GHOVC will be joining the EdgeCortix Board of Directors.

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