MAISONS-LAFFITTE, France, April 5, 2023 — SiPearl, the French company building Rhea, the energy-efficient HPC microprocessor, has raised €90 million (US$98.3 million) financing for the 1st closing of its Series A. This funding round, with participation of key industry partners as well as European and French public investors, will allow SiPearl to commercialize Rhea in early 2024.
Rhea is the world’s first energy-efficient HPC-dedicated microprocessor designed to work with any third party accelerator (GPU, artificial intelligence, quantum). Processing huge volumes of strategic data in a fraction of a second with low energy consumption, SiPearl’s microprocessor will ensure Europe’s technological sovereignty by solving major challenges in medical research, artificial intelligence, security, energy management and climate change mitigation with a reduced environmental footprint.
Additional investors are expected to join the round by the end of 2023. Current investors are:
- Arm, a global leader in semiconductor design and silicon intellectual property development.
- Atos Group, through its Eviden business composed of Atos’ digital, big data and security activities.
- European Innovation Council (EIC) Fund (€15m, already announced).
- The French State, via French Tech Souveraineté, which is part of France 2030 led by the General Secretariat for Investment (attached to the Prime-Minister’s Office).
The financing includes up to €25m (US$27.3m) in convertible debt from the European Investment Bank (EIB).
This first funding milestone brings SiPearl’s total financing to €110.5m (US$120.7m), including €20.5m worth of European Union and French grants provided through the European Processor Initiative (EPI) consortium project, the EIC Accelerator program and Ile-de-France region.
“Developing a strong European HPC supply chain with energy-efficient components and technologies is key to achieving digital sovereignty in Europe while promoting more sustainable supercomputing. The success of SiPearl today is also the success of the European Processor Initiative, one of the research projects funded by the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking,” said Anders Dam Jensen, executive director of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking.
Using the Arm Neoverse V1 platform, Rhea will be the world’s first HPC-dedicated microprocessor designed to work with any third-party accelerator, such as GPUs, artificial intelligence specialized chips or quantum accelerators. Formal cooperation agreements with GPU providers (AMD, Intel, NVIDIA) and artificial intelligence processor provider (Graphcore) have already been announced. Energy-efficiency optimized, Rhea will halve power consumption for equivalent computing power.
While HPC has traditionally been used on premise for medical research, nuclear simulations or weather forecasts, it is now increasingly used in the cloud for artificial intelligence model training and other data intensive applications.
With global markets in sight, Rhea will first equip European supercomputers to reach exascale power with back-door free security and reduced energy consumption. SiPearl will thus contribute to Europe’s technological sovereignty by addressing major challenges in medical research, artificial intelligence, security, energy management and climate change mitigation while limiting its environmental footprint.
SiPearl was created in June 2019 with the backing of the EPI consortium’s project that tackles the return of high-performance and low-power microprocessor technologies in Europe. As part of the Horizon 2020 program, the company is at the heart of the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking ecosystem, which is deploying world-class infrastructures for exascale supercomputing in Europe with a budget of over €8 billion. Fabless, SiPearl outsources the manufacturing of Rhea to TSMC, the world’s leading independent semiconductor manufacturer, for a commercialization in early 2024. The company employs 130 people in France (Maisons-Laffitte, its headquarters, Grenoble, Massy, Sophia Antipolis), Germany (Duisburg) and Spain (Barcelona). SiPearl targets over 1,000 employees by the end of 2025.