Private equity firm Chengwei Capital and Huami, the largest manufacturer of wearables in the world, have co-led the $50.6-million Series C funding round in SiFive, a Silicon Valley-based fabless semiconductor firm.
The Chinese firms joined existing investors Sutter Hill Ventures, Spark Capital and Osage University Partners alongside strategic players SK Telecom and Western Digital in the latest funding round.
The round brings the startup’s total investments to $64.1 million. In a statement, SiFive said, the investment will allow it to create a new licensing model for the semiconductor industry.
SiFive provides market-ready processor core IP based on the RISC-V, a free and open instruction set architecture for modern microprocessors. RISC-V was invented by the company’s founders.
RISC-V is set to be the standard architecture in all modern computing devices, from 32-bit embedded microcontrollers to 64-bit application processors, according to the company.
SiFive shipped the industry’s first RISC-V SoC in 2016 and the industry’s first RISC-V IP with support for Linux in October 2017.
In addition to the funding announcement, SiFive also revealed that it has signed a multi-year license to its Freedom Platform with Western Digital, which has pledged to produce 1 billion RISC-V cores.
Western Digital chief technology officer Martin Fink said RISC-V delivers a platform for innovation unshackled from the proprietary interface of the past.
“This freedom allows us to bring computing closer to data to optimize special-purpose compute capabilities targeted at Big Data and Fast Data applications. The next generation of applications like Machine Learning, AI, and Analytics require this ability to focus on a specific task,” he said.
SiFive’s Series C financing comes nearly a year after its last round of funding, which allowed it to expand its executive team and move to a new, larger headquarters in Silicon Valley.