The South Korean startup Rebellions Inc. announced that it managed to raise $124 million in financing from investors, including KT Corp., to accelerate work on the development of a new generation artificial intelligence chip, which is a kind of example of the growing interest in hardware that drives AI.
The mentioned company received money as part of a Series B funding round. The official statement of the startup contains information that Singapore Pavilion Capital, KT’s data center subsidiary KT Cloud Co., and Shinhan Venture Investment Co., took part in this process. and Shinhan Venture Investment Co. The new sponsors are Koreyla Capital from France and the Japanese DGDV.
Rebellions is a novice player who is trying to gain a share in the semiconductor market, which is a critical industry in the context of the hype around artificial intelligence. Semiconductors are necessary to train machine intelligence systems and run these functional units. The South Korean company competes in this area of activity with other startups, including, for example, California-based Groq Inc. and Toronto-based Tenstorrent Inc., and such major industry players as Nvidia Corp.
Currently, firms that create advanced artificial intelligence receive global capital around the world. The largest amounts of financing for companies with the appropriate functional purpose are provided in the United States and China, where government support is a significant factor. In part, a kind of global wave of artificial intelligence popularity is due to the success of the chatbot ChatGPT from OpenAI. This digital product based on machine intelligence has demonstrated impressive cognitive abilities.
A startup from South Korea intends to use the received funding not only to accelerate the process of developing an artificial intelligence chip but also to increase the number of employees. The microcircuit of this company is for running large language models.
Seoul is currently making efforts to support the development of the homegrown artificial intelligence chip manufacturing industry. As part of the relevant measures, the South Korean authorities have allocated funding for about 826 billion won ($618 million) to support local companies that specialize in making microcircuits until 2030. Seoul aims to create a platform for the local chip industry to go beyond the production of memory semiconductors, in which Samsung and SK Hynix Inc. are currently the dominant players.
Rebellions and its peers design silicon, which focuses on specialized tasks such as chatbots and computer vision. At the same time, companies like Nvidia still have to do the heavy lifting in terms of training large language models.
In the domestic market, Rebellions competes with FuriosaAI, backed by Internet search leader Naver Corp. and the state-run Korea Development Bank. Sapeon Inc., backed by SK Telecom Co. and SK Hynix, is another startup competitor.
Currently, the sponsors of Rebellions are the state-run Korea Development Bank and the Internet conglomerate Kakao. The startup was founded in 2020. The company is turning to Samsung to produce chips, taking advantage of 4-nanometer technology.
As we have reported earlier, AI Startup Sierra Reportedly Plans to Raise $85 Million.