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BV Family丨Received investment from Hillhouse Lenovo Baidu, RISC-V startup Ruisichip completes A...

BV Family丨Received investment from Hillhouse Lenovo Baidu, RISC-V startup Ruisichip completes A+ round of financing


author:BV Baidu Ventures

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On September 8, 2021, RISC-V company Ruisichip Technology has completed tens of millions of dollars in A+ round of financing, and continues to increase its independent and controllable high-end CPU research and development. This round of financing Byte Beat and Hillhouse Ventures led the investment, Lenovo Ventures, Shuanghu Capital, Shuimu Investment Group, Zhen Fund and other co-investors, Northern Light Ventures, Baidu Ventures and other old shareholders continued to follow the investment, Yibai Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor.

Founded in Shenzhen in 2018, Ruisichip Technology is a company that provides RISC-V high-end core processor solutions. It mainly develops processor IP cores, SoCs, and software and hardware integrated solutions based on the RISC-V instruction set. It is used in the fields of smart wear, edge computing, sensor fusion and AI acceleration. At present, Rexchip has reached cooperation with a number of international chip giants and has become the core supplier of mainstream products for major customers.

The full name of RISC-V is the fifth-generation reduced instruction set. It is an open source chip architecture with features such as simplicity, open source, and fast response speed. It can break the problems of high-priced licensing fees and customization difficulties for X86 and ARM architectures to a certain extent. Also,it can be used to develop unique chips that are more suitable for specific products and needs.

In August 2020, the State Council issued "Several Policies to Promote the High-Quality Development of the Integrated Circuit Industry and Software Industry in the New Era", clearly pointing out that China's chip self-sufficiency rate will reach 70% by 2025. According to Semico Research's forecast, by 2025, CPU shipments based on the RISC-V architecture will exceed 60 billion. The ARK Big Ideas series annual report predicts that the server market share occupied by the combination of ARM+RISC-V will increase from zero in 2020 to 71% in 2030; Meanwhile, ARM and RISC-V may replaces the Intel x86 in the "cloud"  business area. By 2030, their combined market size will expand at a rate of 45% per year, with CPU revenue reaching 19 billion U.S. dollars and server revenue reaching 100 billion U.S. dollars.

Ruisichip Technology CEO Tan Zhangxi shared that in the past, the industry's expectations for RISC-V were mainly concentrated in the field of low-end chips. In recent years, as the RISC-V community has made many breakthroughs in software and hardware, such as increased computing power, software, compilers, and others that go gradually matured. RISC-V-based processors can support more complex and higher-performance software and hardware products, constantly promoting the development of RISC-V to high-end chips like servers and PCs.

It is worth mentioning that Apple is hiring RISC-V engineers. It plans to support necessary calculations in machine learning, vision algorithms, signal and video processing. Through the integration of software and hardware, it will promote the technical level of underlying computing to achieve high energy efficiency and high performance.

Ruisichip Technology mainly develops chips for high-end scenarios, and develops high-end scalar and vector processor cores based on the RISC-V architecture. At the same time, it completes commercial landing through various methods such as independent development of chip products, cooperative development and provision of technical services.

Ruisichip Technology adopts a high-end product customization strategy to provide customized products for major domestic and foreign manufacturers. Tan Zhangxi explained: "Through free innovation in architecture, chips based on RISC-V design can combine the algorithm and application requirements of a subset at the chip level to customize the most optimized commands for exclusive scenarios."

In the field of application, the products of Ruisichip Technology are currently mainly used in the audio and video fields of consumer electronics and communication fields.

At present, Ruisichip Technology is working with an international chip giant to jointly build future high-end smart wearable chips. Starting from the definition of the instruction set, it provides advanced RISC-V-based micro-architecture chip solutions. In the near future, this chip will be mass-produced.

In terms of product performance, Tan Zhangxi stated that the computing performance of this chip is 2-3 times higher than the existing ARM-based DSP and AI solutions on the market, and the power consumption is half lower than the lowest power consumption products.

On the customer perspective, Ruisichip Technology has now served many well-known domestic enterprises, and carried out IP authorization and SoC customized development cooperation.

At present, Ruisichip Technology has multiple offices in Shenzhen, Chengdu and other places, whose global headquarters is located in Shenzhen.

On the founding team, the company's founder Tan Zhangxi graduated from the world-renowned University of California, Berkeley, under the tutelage of RISC-V founder Professor David Patterson, who is a member of the RISC-V original project team. He previously founded the lidar chip company OURS, which was acquired by Aurora, an autonomous driving company in United States for US$100 million in early 2021. In such a team, Dr. Songhai Liang, a well-known semiconductor expert in China, served as the chief scientist. The company's R&D personnel ratio exceeds 85%, and the core R&D team has chip development experience in well-known semiconductor companies, who graduated from world-renowned universities such as Berkeley, Stanford, Tsinghua University, and Peking University.

Tan Zhangxi, the founder of RISCIC, proclaimed that this round of funds will be used to further expand the reserve of talents and carry out the research and development and implementation of mid-to-high-end line RISC-V chip products.

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