Intel has launched a $1bn fund to boost its fledgling foundry business by providing support to startups and IP providers.
The Intel Foundry Service (IFS) has already joined RISC-V International to be alongside RISC-V processor designers Andes and SiFive as well as chip designers Esperanto Technologies and Ventana Micro.
Launched with Intel Capital, the fund will prioritize investments in intellectual property (IP), software tools, innovative chip architectures and advanced packaging technologies. The fund will look for provide equity investments in startups, strategic investments in companies scaling up and ‘ecosystem investments’ to develop disruptive capabilities for IFS customers.
IFS says it will provide dedicated capacity in the US and Europe for customers to avoid the problems of the current chip shortage from happening again as well as differentiated IP, including x86, ARM and RISC-V.
Other companies joining IFS at the start include analog IP provider Analog Bits, eMemory wih its physically unclonable function IP and EDA tool providers Cadence Design Systems and Siemens EDA.
Intel is also looking to develop an open standard for a die-to-die interconnect that allows chiplets to communicate with each other at high speeds. The company has led the development of USB, PCI Express and CXL and is looking for a new, open ecosystem that will enable interoperable chiplets from different foundries and process nodes to be packaged using a wide variety of technologies. This is aimed particularly at system-in-package designs for the data centre to take on TSMC’s CoWS technology.
The company is also looking at building plants in France and Italy that would be able to package chiplet designs.
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“Foundry customers are rapidly embracing a modular design approach to differentiate their products and accelerate time to market. Intel Foundry Services is well-positioned to lead this major industry inflection. With our new investment fund and open chiplet platform, we can help drive the ecosystem to develop disruptive technologies across the full spectrum of chip architectures,” said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel.
“Intel Capital’s history and expertise are rooted in chips. Over the last 30 years, we have invested over $5 billion into 120 companies supporting the semiconductor manufacturing ecosystem, from the materials coming out of the ground to the software tools used to implement a design. Our investments, which range from pathfinding bets into early-stage companies to deeply strategic and collaborative investments, drive innovation across architecture, IP, materials, equipment and design,” said Saf Yeboah, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Intel.
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