EdgeQ Inc

“System-on-a-chip” start-up reaches $51m funding milestone

19 November 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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US-based start-up EdgeQ Inc has reached the US$51million funding milestone, paving the way for it to converge 5G connectivity and AI compute onto a “system-on-a-chip”.

On launch, the solution would be the world’s first fully software-customisable silicon platform to offer 5G connectivity and AI at the edge.

EdgeQ’s Series A round generated $38.5 million of the total and its backers include Threshold Ventures (formerly DFJ), Fusion Fund and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang (AME Cloud Ventures) along with an unannounced strategic customer.

“We are rapidly evolving from a smartphone economy to a constellation of intelligent edge devices,” said Vinay Ravuri (pictured), CEO and founder of EdgeQ.

“This will cause massive disruption to the current paradigm, where existing fixed-function approaches are inadequate to meet the scale, speed, and breadth of new end connections

“By building 5G and AI hardware in a newly imaginative, software-friendly manner, we empower and inspire customers with an open and programmable platform that is adaptable, configurable, and economical for 5G-based applications,” Ravuri added.

The start-up describes itself as a “5G systems-on-a-chip company” and said it intends to unify 5G and AI at “the nearest focal point of data at the edge”, allowing enterprises in manufacturing, construction, energy, automotive, warehousing, surveillance, telco and other verticals, to harness private networking.

Mohammad Islam, a partner at Threshold Ventures, added: “EdgeQ is poised to capture that and become the leading U.S. 5G company. With an elite founding team, they have developed a groundbreaking software-defined platform that serves a market set to grow exponentially during the next decade. As the first company to combine compute and 5G connectivity in a single chip, EdgeQ is at the forefront of the critical 5G infrastructure space.”

According to a recent IHS Markit report, from 2020-2035, global 5G technology will enable $13.2 trillion in economic output. However, to move on the potential intelligent AI-enabled 5G infrastructure will be required – a market worth approximately $10 billion.

“To deliver on the promise of 5G, the market needs flexible, software-programmable silicon that can be fit-for-purpose. For example, autonomous vehicles and robotics will require both high-quality 5G connectivity and powerful AI computing capabilities,” said Jerry Yang, founding partner at AME Cloud Ventures and co-founder of Yahoo!.

“Today, chips are designed for very limited use cases. EdgeQ CEO Vinay Ravuri brings the expertise needed to break this paradigm and deliver true innovation. This technology will disrupt the market for silicon and democratize access to 5G for the first time.”