One of the more interesting startups of late is NUVIA, with promises of a new Arm-based processor for the datacenter to rival the x86 dominance of AMD and Intel. The team at NUVIA is strong, comprised of top SoC architects from Apple and Google, with a long history of success within the ranks of the company. Building a leading-edge SoC takes a long time, and so we’re still not expecting NUVIA to offer a product for a while yet, but in that time the company is going through rounds of investment in order to both build the company as well as accelerate R&D before the first set of products are launched. Today NUVIA is announcing that the second round of funding, originally scheduled at for the beginning of the year, has been completed.

Series A funding was announced on November 15th, 2019, and raised $53M. Lead investors include WRVI Capital, the Mayfield Fund, Dell, Capricorn Investment Group, and participation from Nepenthe LLC, two the final two acting as investor partners. NUVIA currently resides on a floor in one of Dell’s unused corporate buildings in the Bay Area, for example.

Series B funding is being announced today, and has raised $240M. The funding round was led by Mithril Capital in partnership with former founders of Marvell, as well as Blackrock, Fidelity Management & Research LLC, and Temasek, with additional participation from Atlantic Bridge, Redline Capital and the previous members from Series A.

This brings the total raised to $293M. No further information was detailed in NUVIA’s press release.

Key figures at NUVIA include the three founders: Gerard Williams III, CEO and ex-Chief CPU Architect at Apple for a decade with another 10 years as an Arm fellow; Manu Gulati, SVP of Silicon Engineering and former lead SoC architect at Google with an 8-year stint at Apple; and John Bruno, SVP of System Engineering and ex-System Architect at Google as well as the founder of Apple’s silicon competitive analysis team. NUVIA has also hired key people known to AnandTech, such as Anthony Scarpino (Senior Director Software, former AMD/ATI), Jon Carvill (VP Marketing, former Intel and Qualcomm), Jon Masters (VP Software, former Red Hat), and Heather Lennon (Digital Marketing, former AMD and Intel). Jon Masters has since returned to Red Hat after 11 months at NUVIA.

We do know some about NUVIA’s first generation of products, known as the Orion SoC using the Phoenix core with ‘an overhaul of the traditional CPU pipeline’. NUVIA has stated that this new design will deliver industry-leading performance with the highest levels of efficiency, with their own numbers targeting +40-50% IPC increases over Zen2 for only a third of the power. On top of this, NUVIA will have to create an ecosystem and distribution platform for its products, which is likely where the Dell involvement will kick in.

With the recent announcement of the acquisition of Arm by NVIDIA, it would be interesting to hear how this might change the relationship between Arm and its partners, particularly architecture licensees, such as NUVIA. There’s no doubt that the future of that relationship is going to be a strong part of how future roadmaps are formed, or in NUVIA’s case, future rounds of funding.

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  • BedfordTim - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    I guess naming your company after a nuclear waste handler worked. It also helps keep their website well hidden. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, September 25, 2020 - link

    I'm equally surprised by this. I guess with the reputation and global reach Nuvia has it doesn't hurt to name your organization after them, and it likely helps they have no presence in the USA, but what happens when NUVIA (ARM engineering) enters the Canadian market where Nuvia (nuclear engineering) has offices? Reply
  • Lord of the Bored - Saturday, September 26, 2020 - link

    I'm more surprised it isn't a pharmaceutical name.
    "Ask your doctor if Nuvia is right for you."
    Reply
  • quorm - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    So, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Are there any other potential customers for this? At least 2 of those are already involved with designing their own chips. Reply
  • deil - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    it have one big gain, they offset risk to someone else. so even if they have their own chip and this unrelated team manages to make something incredible, those 3 will merge nuvia chip magic with their own designs gaining performance. "
    so alll they do is branched out chip design that might bring unexpected gains that would normally die inside corpo design procedures.
    its not a high cost if they really get to something useful.
    Reply
  • Samus - Friday, September 25, 2020 - link

    I don't think Amazon is going to be a large customer. They have invested billions in Annapurna which makes hyperscale ARM designs, while NUVIA doesn't appear in the short term to be targetting that segment...but who knows, there is little information here on actual material products because they don't have one yet.

    There is definitely room to fill a void though, that is, HPC and nearline server rackspace, where there are few legitimate options.
    Reply
  • dotjaz - Saturday, September 26, 2020 - link

    But Annapurna doesn't design microarchitectures. NUVIA could still be a viable option to replace ARM's Neoverse core. Reply
  • Samus - Saturday, September 26, 2020 - link

    That's true, but getting adoption for an entirely new IP is going to take some huge reach. In the short term I suspect they will make ARM-compatible designs, unless they have some amazing devkit that can port software or emulate instructions via hardware translation (ie Transmeta Crusoe.)

    They won't be able to break into a flooded market with an incompatible product. ARM hasn't even been able to pull that off in most markets outside of mobile and they've been trying for 30 years.
    Reply
  • Ian Cutress - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    They're also going after the general Arm server market, not just the hyperscalers. There's also Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, Facebook, Oracle, etc Reply
  • name99 - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    The question that matters is: why did GW3 do this?
    The naive answer is "Apple wouldn't let him create server cores". To me that sounds insane; obviously Apple will soon be using the same tech they'll use for iMac Pro and Mac Pro in data centers.

    So the answer must be something else, in other words:
    - get very rich or
    - create an empire.

    If THOSE two are the goals, then what helps further them? One obvious answer is acquisition. Obviously helps with the very rich, and done properly allows empire creation.

    So who might engage in such an acquisition? It's easy to suggest possibilities, without being able to say anything certain until both the nVidia/ARM deal and the future course of ARM servers are clear (the latter perhaps by this time next year, once we see what Amazon does with V1, and what the "just you wait for AMD-next and Intel-next" camp have delivered. But some possibilities that seem plausible include
    - nVidia (especially if the ARM deal does not go through)
    - Microsoft (we can do anything Apple can do, only better)
    - AMD (we can see the twilight of x86 as well as anyone, and we won't fumble it this time)

    Less plausible (but not insane, IMHO) possibilities
    - Cisco (full service data center provider...)
    - IBM (POWER had a good run, but what if we couple our memory/IO to ARM's raw compute performance?)
    - Intel (look, we screwed with x86, OK, we admit it. But we're the company you trust for your enterprise IT, and boy do we have a good range of new server chips for you. And your autos will also love them.)
    Reply

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