SEMRON secures €7.3M Seed funding for industry-first 3D AI semiconductor chips

SEMRON aims to create the next standard for AI chips in smart devices with the world's most energy-efficient semiconductors.
SEMRON secures €7.3M Seed funding for industry-first 3D AI semiconductor chips

Today German semiconductor tech company SEMRON announced it has secured €7.3 million in seed funding. 

SEMRON crafts powerful energy-efficient computer chips designed to enhance AI performance in compact smart devices. 

The company's innovative approach utilises a three-dimensional space in chip design, allowing for unprecedented improvements in efficiency.

The challenge in semiconductor development

Modern chips face cost, size and energy consumption challenges, making them less suitable for future AI models on smaller smart devices. 

Alternative approaches focus on single technical features such as energy efficiency but fail to address the need for cost improvements, memory density for AI model size explosion or lack of flexibility to run different classes of AI algorithms. 

Additionally, the reliance on major US and Chinese chip developers and manufacturers like Nvidia, TSMC or Intel highlights a dependency issue for European technology sectors.

According to Aron Kirschen, CEO and Co-Founder of SEMRON, the current state of the semiconductor industry reveals a stark absence of a compelling strategy for the future and even for today's AI demands. 

"At SEMRON, we are not just focusing on decreasing energy consumption and enhancing performance. 

Our vision encompasses a radical shift towards cost reduction, increased flexibility, and the capability to run vast AI models with billions of parameters on a mere fingertip of silicon. 

This is not just advancement; it's a transformation essential for realising advanced applications such as smart contact lenses in some years." 

The world's most energy-efficient semiconductors 

SEMRON has achieved a significant breakthrough in developing the world's most energy-efficient semiconductor technology for AI inference. 

This proprietary technology, named CapRAM™, employs a novel semiconductor device architecture that calculates using a variable capacitor ('memcapacitor') instead of relying on currents like resistive approaches and transistors. 

This method minimises electron movement, significantly reducing noise and leading to a 20-fold increase in energy efficiency at the chip level.

While energy efficiency reduces power consumption, it also solves a challenge plaguing processor technology. By avoiding overheating, SEMRON's chips can make use of three-dimensional space. 

Within the space, SEMRON stacks silicon dies ('chiplets') and grows up to several hundreds of layers on one single substrate as in-memory technology.

This enables the support for AI models two to three hundred times larger than current capacities, with the potential for a 1000-fold expansion in the future. 

Further, SEMRON's technology leverages conventional semiconductor materials, eliminating the need for extensive development processes in production, potentially saving up to €100 million in development costs.

Today's announcement brings SEMRON's funding to €10 million.  

Join Capital, led the current funding round, which saw participation from new investors SquareOne, OTB Ventures, Hermann Hauser (Onsight Ventures), and continued support from Pre-Seed investors including

Dr. Wolfram Drescher (BlueWonder), Andreas Werner and Sven Sieber (Gigahertz Ventures), and Hans Rohrer, former President at TSMC, responsible for the company's European activities.

Jan Borgstädt, Managing Partner at Join Capital shared: 

"We at Join Capital are thrilled to be at the vanguard of this technological revolution with our investment in SEMRON.

We recognise the immense potential of SEMRON's innovation to redefine the landscape of AI capabilities in smart devices globally and to start a new dynamic in the semiconductor industry that is struggling with the era of GenAI.

This investment aligns perfectly with our commitment to supporting technologies that are set to redefine their industries. We are confident that SEMRON will not only lead but also inspire this new era of smart devices."

According to Georg Stockinger, Partner at SquareOne:

"Computing resources will become the 'oil' of the 21st century. 

With infrastructure-hungry LLMs conquering the world and Moore's law reaching the limits of physics, a massive bottleneck in computing resources will shape the years to come.

Insufficient access to computing infrastructure will greatly slow down productivity and competitiveness both of companies and entire nation-states. 

SEMRON will be a key element in solving this problem by providing a revolutionary new chip that is inherently specialised in computing AI models. 

It breaks with the traditional transistor-based computing paradigm and reduces costs and energy consumption for a given computing task by at least 20x."

With the fresh funds, SEMRON will further fuel hardware and compiler development, team expansion, and internationalisation. The company aims to quadruple its team by year-end.

Lead image: SEMRON co-founders CEO Aron Kirschen and CTO Kai-Uwe Demasius. Photo: uncredited. 

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