InCore Semiconductors bags $3 million in seed funding round from Sequoia Capital India
InCore Semiconductors has raised USD 3 million in a seed funding round from Sequoia Capital India. Launched in 2018, the company enables its customers with turnkey processor IP solutions for strategic industrial segments like automotive, industrial automation, and general electronics among others.
InCore will use the funds raised to enhance its portfolio of Core-Hub generators and reference SoC (System-on-Chip) platforms aimed at multiple segments of the embedded chips space.
RISC-V, an open and royalty-free instruction set architecture (ISA) governed by a neutral Swiss foundation, is now challenging that monopoly. It has broken down barriers for new entrants, driving innovation and bringing fungibility among vendors who can now compete in an aggregated market, and thereby grow the market multifold. As RISC-V paves the way for cutting-edge and competitive computing domains, its success can be attributed to its open and royalty-free nature. RISC-V's philosophy of configurable and modular ISAs is crucial in today's dynamic computing landscape. However, creating configurable and scalable processor IPs that can capitalise on RISC-V's customization promise is a formidable challenge, one that InCore has tackled with its Core-Hub generators.
InCore has expanded upon this concept of modularity by designing highly parameterized and configurable Core-Hub Generators, which facilitate the creation of RISC-V compatible solutions tailored for specific applications. Core-Hub not only includes proprietary RISC-V cores but also incorporates essential components like Data Accelerators, Interrupt Controllers, Interconnect Matrices, and more, creating a comprehensive offering for customers. By consolidating the core and uncore within a Core-Hub, InCore streamlines the path to prototyping and market.
In collaboration with its partner network, InCore is pioneering a series of RISC-V platforms - InSoCs - for distinct embedded verticals. These RISC-V based platforms serve as building blocks to lower the entry barrier for customers seeking rapid, battle-tested solutions in their markets. InCore's initial InSoC platform offerings target high-volume market segments such as smart cards, energy meters, smart-home devices, sensor fusion hubs, motor controllers, and more. Furthermore, these platforms align perfectly with the Indian government's current initiatives, promoting and nurturing OEM/ODM-like entities under its Indian Semiconductor Mission. Thus, at InCore, a customer has a choice of starting from a customised core or a pre-built Core-Hub or a pre-built SoC platform.
What truly makes InCore successful in this space is its FlexiCore Methodology. The founding team at InCore has spent over a decade of research and experimentation to build an extremely robust, scalable, and future-ready design methodology that delivers class-leading products. The FlexiCore Methodology not only adopts modern state-of-the-art technology like Bluespec (a high level processor design coding language), but also relies heavily on automation as a key ingredient. While this strategy has enabled InCore to build an agile engineering team, it also guarantees to provide its customers with robust and validated collateral ranging from design, verification, and documentation.
The founding team has deep roots in RISC-V and includes G S Madhusudan (CEO), Neel Gala (CTO) and Arjun Menon (Chief Engineer) who played a crucial role in the founding team of Project Shakti from IIT-Madras before launching InCore. Gautam Doshi (Chief Architect) has spent decades at Intel and was a distinguished engineer. Neel also serves as the global vice-chair of the RISC-V compliance SIG, the charter of which is to develop ISA test-suites and environments which are critical for RISC-V branding globally.
“InCore's RISC-V processors are not just designed for India but for the world. With a scalable, configurable, and extensible methodology, InCore's RISC-V processor IP solutions can cater to a wide range of applications, including embedded systems, IoT devices, and industrial controllers. By offering world-class RISC-V processors, InCore is contributing to the global semiconductor industry and making India a key player in this highly competitive market,” says G S Madhusudan, CEO, InCore Semiconductors.
“Indian chip design companies have a unique opportunity to set global benchmarks for reliability and performance to serve the burgeoning demand in domestic as well as export markets. We have seen India’s journey from services to products in software. As the world realises the benefits of customising chips, we expect the country’s chip design ecosystem to also see a similar evolution and serve this global demand in the most cost-efficient manner. With 20% of the global semiconductor engineers from India, we have a right to win in this global opportunity.
Incore’s team has sowed the seeds of India’s dream for indigenous processors with Project Shakti at IIT Madras and are well-renowned experts in the R&D and industrial corridors. It is rare to come by a team of this calibre going after such an audacious mission. We are excited to partner with them on this journey,” Mohit Bhatnagar, MD, Sequoia India.
There’s a massive opportunity for deep tech startups to turn the country into a global centre for custom silicon IP and hardware innovation. As one of the few global companies designing processors on the RISC-V ISA, InCore is well-positioned to become a market leader and evolving into a strategic national asset.
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