Tag Archives: Technology (TRBC level 1)

American chip startups that have long avoided Internet bets have once again aroused people’s excitement | Instant News

Oakland, California (Reuters)-Silicon Valley venture capitalists who have long focused on software and Internet companies have once again injected capital into the semiconductor industry, thanks to the promise of a new generation of artificial intelligence chips, which may challenge existing companies such as Intel and Nvidia Corp.

In this undated handout image obtained by Reuters on May 4, 2021, a view of the size of the Cerebras Systems WSE-2 chip. CerebrasSystems is an AI chip designer. Artificial intelligence chip startups are raising large sums of money from venture capitalists, betting on them to challenge existing chip giants.Provided by Cerebras Systems/Distributed via REUTERS

The new wave of semiconductor innovation cannot solve the shortage of chips based on old technologies that are currently plagued by the automotive industry and other industries. The shortage stems from a combination of factors, as automakers closed factories during the COVID-19 pandemic last year to compete with the huge consumer electronics industry for chip supply.

The enthusiasm of chip startups is mainly due to the demand for dedicated processors by companies using AI software, which can effectively run machine learning algorithms that require large amounts of data, which is the core of the booming artificial intelligence business.

Upstart chip makers including SambaNova Systems, Groq, and Cerebras Systems have stated that they produce better AI performance than Nvidia processors, and the latter’s multi-purpose graphics chipset (originally produced for video games) now dominates AI Dominance of the market.

“How can a car be good at driving pleasure, good at taking children and football to football practice and transporting goods, bricks and garbage? The answer is impossible.

Cerebras’ innovative technology is a very large chip, 56 times the size of a postage stamp, and encapsulates 2.6 trillion transistors.

Gartner analyst Alan Priestley pointed out that there are currently more than 50 companies specializing in the development of chips for AI applications, and said there may be more. He predicts that by 2025, the value of this market will exceed 70 billion U.S. dollars, up from 23 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.

Graphs related to Gartner AI semiconductor revenue forecasts:

According to data from the data company PitchBook, the venture capital investment of US chip start-ups reached 1.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, the highest level in at least two decades. 1.4 billion US dollars have been invested this year.

A chart about US venture capital investment in semiconductor companies:

In April alone, SambaNova said it had raised $676 million for its reconfigurable AI chip. Groq has an ultra-powerful single-core design that is fast and easy to program, and announced that it has raised $300 million. The CEOs of the two companies told Reuters that due to strong investor interest, the funding round exceeded the plan.

The opportunity now piques the interest of software-centric venture capital firms such as Battery Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and Foundation Capital. PitchBook analyst Brendan Burke said they are one of the most active semiconductor investors in the past two years.

Dharmesh Thakker, a general partner of Battery Ventures, said that a few years ago he noticed that his AI software company was cooperating with Nvidia, and he began to consider chip investments.

“We said,’Hey, there may be a chance to build another Nvidia in the entire space surrounding AI.'”

Bessemer Venture Partners and Foundation Capital did not respond to requests for comment.

Ian Buck, general manager of NVIDIA accelerated computing, said he is confident that the company will maintain a leading position in AI chip games. Nvidia GPUs have been developing in the past seven years to meet the needs of AI software, some of which are dedicated to processing AI.

Subsidy call

Peter Barrett, general partner of Playground Global, an early investor, said that the new materials and technologies used to build chips are driving innovation in areas other than AI. He cited chips used in quantum computers, a new technology that uses subatomic particles to store and process information.

As the US government finalizes a new subsidy program to support the domestic chip industry, all these activities are coming. Andy Rappaport, Groq’s new board member, has been investing in chips for decades. He believes that the geopolitical turmoil and competition between China and the United States may even prompt venture capital firms not only to invest in chip design. Companies, and even invest in manufacturing. He said: “If the federal government wants to take on my return and take my risk, then you may see a possible situation, that is, a new manufacturing player may appear.”

In turn, this may trigger more bets on chip design companies. Hany Nada, a venture capitalist at ACME Capital, said: “If I know that manufacturing is no longer a problem, then it will make it easier for me to invest in IC companies.” He refers to integrated circuit or chip suppliers.

The irony is that through AI chips, AI algorithms can more easily improve chip manufacturing, reduce costs, and open manufacturing to start-ups again. Matthew Putman, who founded Nanotronics in 2011, said that he did exactly that and got Peter Early investment in the Thiel Founders Fund.

By 2019, Nanotronics has raised approximately US$90 million. Putnam no longer worries about where the money will come from.

He said: “In 2013 or 2014, I walked in. If you don’t have an app or any enterprise SaaS software, you won’t even miss the receptionist.” He added that even after the Founders Fund was established, the investment was made. “This has changed a lot.”

Reporting by Jane Lanhee Lee in Oakland, California; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Matthew Lewis


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Facebook re-launched WhatsApp money transfers in Brazil | Instant News

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – WhatsApp messaging service Facebook re-launched its inter-individual remittance service in Brazil on Tuesday, after being blocked by the central bank nearly a year ago, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a video Tuesday.

FILE PHOTOS: 3D printed Facebook and WhatsApp keyboard logos and buttons placed on the computer motherboard in this illustration taken on January 21, 2021. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

Brazil is the second country where a messaging service has launched money transfers. In India, WhatsApp’s biggest market with 400 million users, WhatsApp received approval to start financial services in November.

Using a debit or prepaid card number, 120 million WhatsApp users in Brazil can send each other up to 5,000 reais per month via the free messaging service. Initially, the system would not allow any transactions to exceed 1,000 reais or more than 20 transfers per day.

The rollout of new features will take place in stages, Chief Operating Officer Matthew Idema said in an interview. Starting today, a limited and undisclosed number of users will have a means of payment on their app. That way, they will be allowed to invite new users.

In June, WhatsApp launched its payment service in Brazil, but the central bank suspended it a few days later alleging it could undermine the country’s existing payment system in terms of competition, efficiency and data privacy.

Apart from reviewing the proposed payment network, the monetary authorities also asked the tech giant to be labeled a financial services company in Brazil, prompting Facebook to create a new unit called Facebook Pagamentos do Brasil, which is now regulated by the central bank.

But the central bank has yet to make green light payments with merchants, which are expected to be a paid service, adding a new revenue stream for WhatsApp. Last year, card payments in Brazil totaled 2 trillion reais ($ 368.12 billion), up 8.2% from 2019.

Idema said talks with the central bank were still ongoing and Facebook expected the launch of merchant payments to occur this year, declining to comment on whether it would be a paid service.

“For WhatsApp launching payments is attractive because it increases application usage,” said the COO.

WhatsApp started its payment service in partnership with Visa Inc and Mastercard card networks and payment processor Cielo SA. It will operate with cards issued by Banco do Brasil SA, Banco Inter, Banco Bradesco SA, Itau Unibanco Holding SA, fintech Nubank, MercadoLibre’s Mercado Pago and Sicredi.

($ 1 = 5,4330 reais)

Reporting by Carolina Mandl; Edited by Aurora Ellis


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UPDATE CDP 4-Italy offers Enel deals for extra 10% off Open Fiber | Instant News

* Enel is expected to hold a board meeting on the deal on Saturday

* CDP is set to take control of the company’s broadband infrastructure

* Deal seen as a potential upgrade for network projects with TIM (Adds Open Fiber statement, details)

MILAN, April 30 (Reuters) – Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) said on Friday it had agreed to bid Enel for 10% of Open Fiber in a move that would increase the Italian state lender’s stake in the broadband infrastructure company. . 60%.

This move comes as Enel, Italy’s largest utility company, prepares to sell its stake in Open Fiber. Macquarie’s Australian fund has offered up to 2.65 billion euros ($ 3.20 billion) for all or part of Enel’s 50% stake.

Enel is expected to hold a board meeting on Saturday to discuss the deal, said three sources with knowledge of the matter. Open Fiber on Friday said it was giving the necessary permits to the entrance to Macquarie in the capital.

CDP also said it had agreed to a binding term sheet with Macquarie outlining Open Fiber governance before the fund became a shareholder in the fiber-optic business.

With a controlling stake in Open Fiber, CDP has the potential to mitigate an old, disputed plan to combine Open Fiber network assets with the network assets of the former Italian telecom monopoly Telecom Italia to create a unified network operator.

Bets on the single broadband network project following the CDP announcement lifted the stake in Telecom Italia by 4%, making it the biggest winner on Milan’s blue-chip index.

CDP is the second largest shareholder in Telecom Italia, behind French media company Vivendi.

A single network will avoid duplicating investments in fiber launches as Italy seeks to close its digital divide with the rest of Europe, a priority of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s previous government.

However, several ministers in the new government led by Mario Draghi cast doubt on the plan due to regulatory issues, saying alternative options were also being considered.

CDP said it was committed to bringing in “new resources” before the deal closed to help accelerate development of broadband networks.

Under the proposed scheme, CDP and Enel will each inject cash into Open Fiber to boost its finances, three sources told Reuters. One source said each partner is likely to deposit around 150 million euros.

State-controlled Enel declined to comment and added it would make the statement only after analyzing official documents.

$ 1 = 0.8278 euros Report by Stephen Jewkes, Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe Fonte, additional reporting by Giancarlo Navach, written by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Kirsten Donovan


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UPDATE CDP 1-Italy offers Enel deals for 10% Open Fiber | Instant News

(Added details, resources about cash calls)

MILAN, April 30 (Reuters) – Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) has agreed to bid Enel for 10% of Open Fiber in a move that will increase the Italian state lender’s stake in the broadband infrastructure company to 60%.

CDP, which like utility Enel currently owns 50% of Open Fiber, also said it was committed to bringing in “new resources” before the close of the deal to help accelerate broadband network development.

CDP and Enel will each inject cash into Open Fiber to boost its finances, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

One source added that each partner is likely to deposit around 150 million euros.

Enel did not immediately comment on the cash injection.

CDP said in a statement that it had allowed the signing of a binding term sheet with Macquarie on the governance of Open Fiber when the fund, which is in talks to buy Enel’s remaining stake in the broadband group, becomes a shareholder.

Enel has been in talks to sell up to 50% of Open Fiber to Macquarie for 2.65 billion euros ($ 3.21 billion) since last year.

But CDP wants to buy a portion of Enel’s stake to take control of the broadband operator as part of a broader plan to combine it with incumbent Telecom Italia (TIM) ‘s landline assets.

Controlled by the Ministry of Finance, CDP is TIM’s second largest shareholder after French media company Vivendi.

$ 1 = 0.8256 euros Report by Stephen Jewkes, Elvira Pollina and Giuseppe Fonte, written by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Jacqueline Wong and Jason Neely


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Telecom Italia wants to disconnect Huawei from Italy’s 5G network: source | Instant News

MILAN (Reuters) – Telecom Italia wants to cancel a contract with Huawei to supply equipment to build part of the telecom company’s 5G network in Italy, three sources close to the matter said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTOS: New Telecom Italia logo seen at headquarters in the Rozzano neighborhood in Milan, Italy, 25 May 2016. REUTERS / Stefano Rellandini

Losing a 5G job from Telecom Italia, one of Huawei’s biggest clients in Europe, would be a blow to the Chinese tech giant, which has lost some business to rivals Nokia and Ericsson.

The United States has put pressure on countries to ban Huawei equipment, citing security risks. Huawei has vehemently denied posing a security risk. Only the UK and Sweden have banned the company’s equipment in Europe so far.

Telecom Italia has sent a letter informing Huawei of its intention to cancel the contract, said one of the sources. The Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore first reported the letter.

Telecom Italia and Huawei declined to comment.

The Italian company originally planned to award contracts to Huawei and Ericsson, but then brought in Nokia to share the contract between the three companies, sources told Reuters last December.

Now, the entire contract will be split between Ericsson and Nokia, two sources said.

Italy has not imposed an outright ban on Huawei, but under current law, Italy can impose stringent provisions on 5G deals involving non-EU vendors.

Telecom Italia’s move follows a review of its supply policy, including a cost and benefit analysis, said one of the sources.

The company has ruled Huawei out of the core of its 5G network, where sensitive data is processed, by not inviting the Chinese company to last year’s tender.

Reporting by Elvira Pollina in Milan and Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm. Edited by Mark Potter


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