US venture firm launches custom AI chip business

US venture firm launches custom AI chip business

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A venture capital group in the US has launched its own ASIC design business to develop AI chips in a move that highlights the increasing move to vertical integration in the industry.

McLaren Strategic Ventures (MSV) is hiring over 100 design engineers in India for the business, called Atlas Silicon, saying it will have concept, design, IP and production under one umbrella. It is also recruiting US engineers for end-to-end design of enterprise chips that combine hardware and software to produce cutting edge advancements in AI-ML, metaverse, autonomous vehicles and other industries

The investment arm of MSV, which has no connection with UK supercar and technology group Mclaren, says it intends to develop a similar presence of highly-trained engineers in the US’s deep tech segments. This latest investment in the chip design vertical aims to tap into the vast opportunities to meet the growing global demand for application-specific chips, particularly in AI.

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“This technology will significantly impact manufacturing technology-based products domestically in the US. In India, our technology has deepened the country’s manufacturing base and created immense opportunities in the segment. We want to onboard and train young ASIC engineers under Industry experts to ensure unmatched engineering and bring the same positive results that we’ve seen in India to other countries like the United States,” said Sajan Pillai, CEO of MSV (above).

“We are also looking at investing in promising startups as well as mid-sized companies in this space, especially in the United States and strongly encourage all business decision-makers and consumers to talk to us for exploring a partnership. We are always committed to providing people with the opportunity to work with the world’s best in the domain – both in technology and skillset,” he said.

MSV was founded in 2020 by Pillai, a digital services entrepreneur, and has raised $200m through the IPO of a special purpose vehicle called McLaren Technology Acquisition Corporation.

Pillai says Atlas Silicon will be the first custom AI chip design venture, although companies such as Sondrel in Europe, GUC in Taiwan and SemiFive in Korea have been developing customisable ASIC platforms for AI for customers over the last few years using TSMC and UMC. Intel Foundries is also looking at stimulating custom AI chip development using the RISC-V open source instruction set architecture.

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