Blaize, the AI computing innovator revolutionizing edge and automotive computing solutions, today announced the close of a $71m Series D round of funding. Franklin Templeton, a new investor, and Temasek, an existing investor, led the round, along with participation from DENSO and other new and existing investors. To accelerate the product roadmap and scale the business with this funding, the Company plans to rapidly expand their Hyderabad, India operations in the next 12 – 18 months.
“Blaize has demonstrated the capability to enable value creation for organizations tapping the power of AI for edge computing,” said JP Scandalios, senior vice president and portfolio manager, Franklin Templeton. “We are excited to invest as Blaize leadership takes strides to realize their vision. Automotive, and numerous edge AI markets, such as retail and metro, hold tremendous potential for Blaize to expand on their early market position as the adoption of AI at the edge accelerates, creating a new wave of industrial systems.”
“We are pleased to welcome Franklin Templeton as the co-lead of the Blaize Series D,” said Khen Nam Lee, Deputy Chairman, Vertex Venture Holdings. “The prospects are substantial. Today Blaize is delivering to customers a distinct fusion of AI hardware and AI Studio end-to-end software platform that leads the industry in productization of high-value knowledge-drives edge computing solutions.”
“Blaize System on Chip (“SoCs”) for automotive edge and central compute functions are accelerating electric vehicles and future architectural ambitions of automotive OEMs,” said Tony Cannestra, Director of Corporate Ventures, DENSO. “With substantial power advantages making EVs more efficient and economical, Blaize SoCs offer best in class performance with lower power across in-cabin, out of the vehicle, and autonomous operations, enabling a streamlined architectural evolution to centralize compute.”
“We are pleased with the participation of new and existing premier investors in the Series D round,” said Dinakar Munagala, CEO, Blaize, “We are well-positioned to accelerate our next-generation products and sustain our leadership in delivering integrated hardware and software offerings that enable true value creation for our customers.”
The funding will support the acceleration of the product roadmap to meet the growing demand for higher performance, lower power, lower cost AI hardware and transformational AI software solutions in automotive, smart retail, smart city and industrial markets. In 2020, Blaize successfully released and built a multi-year pipeline for the first generation Blaize AI edge computing hardware and software products with customer opportunities in the US, Europe, Japan, and Asia. In India, expansive potential exists for Blaize to play a role in the AI-based transformational progress in agriculture, healthcare, smart city, and other initiatives.
Blaize plans to strengthen its talent base in India by hiring engineers and AI technology experts across functions including hardware design, software development, verification, research and customer services.