UC Berkeley spinout SiFive has fetched a $2.5bn valuation in a series F round that pushed its overall financing to more than $350m.

SiFive, a US-based custom semiconductor technology spinout of University of California (UC), Berkeley, received $175m in a series F round led by Coatue Management yesterday that valued the business at $2.5bn. In its official press release, SiFive noted that Coatue had joined existing shareholders but the wording made it unclear which of these participated in the series F round. A report by Reuters claimed Intel Capital, the investment arm of chipmaker Intel, and Sutter Hill had reinvested, but this could not be confirmed. Founded in 2015, SiFive produces purpose-built semiconductors using the Risc-V instruction set architecture, its version of the mechanism responsible for outputting computer processing instructions. It has clients in sectors such as automotive, augmented and virtual reality, and edge computing. The money will allow SiFive to accelerate the development of its products, roadmap and ecosystem. Patrick Little, chief executive and chairman of SiFive, commented: “The market has spoken and made it abundantly clear that Risc-V computing will be competing for the heart of all future computing platforms. “As the founder and market leader of Risc-V computing, it is our role to lead this ecosystem forward and offer customers advanced computing alternative to Arm and others. “This valuation is a validation of our strategy, our incredible team, and our singular focus on building the leading portfolio of high-performance Risc-V compute products in the market. Our customers are signalling strong demand for SiFive to deliver the highest level of performance as quickly as possible.” SiFive has raised more than $350m to date. Spinout-focused investment firm Osage University Partners (OUP) participated in a $61m series E round in 2020, which was led by SK Hynix, the computer memory chipmaker subsidiary of conglomerate SK Group, led the round, and also featured mobile semiconductor producer Qualcomm, data storage company Western Digital and Intel Capital. Sutter Hill Ventures, Spark Capital and Prosperity7 Ventures had filled out the series E round, in which Qualcomm and Western Digital contributed through Qualcomm Ventures and Western Digital Capital respectively. OUP also featured in SiFive’s $65.4m series D round in 2019, $50.6m series C round in 2018 and $8.5m series B round in 2017.

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Thierry Heles

Thierry Heles is the editor of Global University Venturing, host of the Beyond the Breakthrough interview podcast and responsible for the monthly GUV Gazette (sign up here for free).