European processor startup gets €6.2 million kickstart grant

European processor startup gets €6.2 million kickstart grant

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The money comes from the Horizon 2020 research and innovation program and was awarded under specific grant agreement no.826647.

SiPearl SA (Paris, France) is using the grant aid to fund the company while it embarks on an equity funding round to get enough cash together to design a processor for a European exascale supercomputer. The declared intention is to provide Europe with strategic independence from other regions. To work at the leading-edge at 7nm or 5nm is costly and could require approaching $100 million. And Europe is not in a position to manufacture such a design.

SiPearl, founded in 2019 by CEO Philippe Notton, is a fabless chip company. He has plans to work with partners in the European Processor Initiative and leading foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. to put a first range of microprocessors on the market by 2022.

The processor is intended to offer supercomputing power with energy efficiency and backdoor-free security and be significant for applications in high performance computing, artificial intelligence and connected mobility. It remains unclear whether the European Union might try to legislate to compel use of the processor to guarantee a market for it.

Notton was previously the head of the consumer electronics division of STMicroelectronics until 2016, the point when ST largely backed away from consumer electronics (see ST exits STB chip business, plans lay-offs).

He then joined Atos Group under which he was general manager of the European Processor Initiative, a European Union backed research collaboration. Other members of the European Processor Initiative include: Atos, BMW Group, Infineon Technologies, Kalray, Menta, STMicroelectronics. It also includes a number of software companies, consultancies and academic institutions to bring the total to 26 partners.

Prior to his time at ST, Notton led the set-top box division of the Taiwan-based MStar Semiconductor.

“Through close collaboration with our scientific and industrial partners from the European Processor Initiative, as well as global technology leaders, SiPearl has a secure business model in place today that will pave the way for its success on the high-potential markets for high performance computing, artificial intelligence and connected mobility. We are committed to helping secure Europe’s technological sovereignty and independence in sectors that are increasingly crucial for its economic growth,” said Notton, in a statement

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