High-Tech Gründerfonds invests in Synthara, targeting breakthrough edge-AI chips with participation from a global coalition of investors and R&D partners

December 3, 2020

Synthara AG, a spin-off from the UZH-ETH Institute of Neuroinformatics (INI) in Zurich, has secured seed funding and research partnerships to develop the next generation of adaptive AI processors for edge applications. The seed financing round was led by High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF).

Edge AI chips are a specialized and rapidly growing multi-billion dollar market. Our algorithm-aware chips are designed to deliver up to 500 times better performance for the next generation of smart sensor applications that use inertial measurement units, audio and image sensors.

Manu V. Nair, Founder and CEO

We are building Synthara on top of years of ground-breaking research at INI. Our solution integrates, for the first time, sparsity-aware processing with in-memory computation. Our product development efforts are supported by a number of partners, including CSEM, a research and technology organization, and Multicoreware. Given our strong ecosystem, we are excited about creating fit-for-purpose AI chip solutions together with our early adopter clients.

Alessandro Aimar, Founder and CTO

We are delighted to collaborate with Kreskado and support Synthara in their quest to become a global leader in AI chip solutions. Having validated their technology with our industry and research partners, we expect them to emerge as a strong contender in the vibrant AI-on-the-edge startup ecosystem.

Dr. Olaf Joeressen, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds

I regard edge AI chips as a key building block to enable the next generation Augmented Reality systems for the mass market. I am excited to back Manu and Ale, a highly talented founding team, in developing this unique technology rooted in the European ecosystem.

Alexander Ilic, former head of Magic Leap Switzerland and Co-founder of the ETH AI Center

Synthara’s IP has breakthrough potential and the founders have carefully assembled a powerful ecosystem of investors, advisors and research partners. I am excited to team up with Kreskado to kick this off as a collaboration pilot across the Swiss and Silicon Valley ecosystems.

AGK Karunakaran, President and CEO at MulticoreWare Inc.

Alongside HTGF, MulticoreWare and Alex, we are thrilled to welcome Zürcher Kantonalbank, University of Zürich, Kumar Ganapathy, Peter Gleissner, Iulia-Alexandra Lungu, Scott Mason, Ali Pourkeramati, Balz Roth and Sankalp Saxena to our board and shareholder ecosystem. We deeply value the tremendous technology product management, company building, and investment lifecycle experience they bring to us and are thrilled to be building Synthara with their participation.

Sandeep Raju, Founding Chairman at Synthara and Kreskado

Synthara is expanding rapidly and is on track to create double-digit high-tech jobs in Switzerland and Germany. It is supported by the Swiss Innovation Agency, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Space Agency BIC Switzerland, the European Union Horizon 2020 program, Venturelab, and the IMD Business School.

About Synthara
Synthara is a semiconductor AI company working on a new breed of edge-AI chips that eliminate the trade-off between performance and energy efficiency. Its technology is a result of years of interdisciplinary R&D in system architecture, neuroscience and neural networks at the Institute of Neuroinformatics (University of Zürich and ETH Zürich). Synthara’s designs are hand-crafted for smart sensor applications whose computational workload is highly dynamic, such as wearables, IoT, and monitoring. The company has concluded an oversubscribed seed funding round and rallied a team of ambitious engineers, investors and ecosystem partners with deep roots in the industry. Synthara’s early adopter program is already seeing interest from a number of market leaders towards a first set of products in 2022.


About Kreskado
Kreskado is an association of entrepreneurs, investors and advisors anchored by Kreskado AG, a private venture development studio in the Basel area. With an “Entrepreneurs for Entrepreneurs” open-architecture ecosystem, Kreskado offers founders a platform to build companies from concept to scale in a multi-year partnership with a vibrant global network of early-stage investors and advisors.


About MulticoreWare
MulticoreWare is a software company with products in Broadcast, OTT, Autonomous Vehicles and Video analytics such as x265, UHDkit for Video encoding, UHDcode and VP9 for video decoding, LipSync and TextSync for Video Quality analysis.

MulticoreWare has a worldwide team of computer scientists and experts in high performance and heterogeneous computing to accelerate video, machine learning, neural networks, computer vision, compiler technologies, and more.


About Zürcher Kantonalbank
Zürcher Kantonalbank is a leading universal bank in the Greater Zurich Area, with national roots and international reach. It is an independent public-law institution of the Canton of Zurich and has received top ratings from the rating agencies Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch (AAA or Aaa). With more than 5,000 employees, Zürcher Kantonalbank offers its clients a comprehensive range of products and services. The bank’s core activities include financing businesses, asset and wealth management, trading, capital market transactions, deposits, payment transactions and card business. Zürcher Kantonalbank provides customers and distribution

Media Relations Zürcher Kantonalbank
T.: +41 44 292 29 79

About CSEM
CSEM: technologies that make the difference
CSEM, founded in 1984, is a Swiss research and development center (public-private partnership) specializing in microtechnology, nanotechnology, microelectronics, system engineering, photovoltaics and communications technologies. Around 500 highly qualified specialists from various scientific and technical disciplines work for CSEM in Neuchâtel, Zurich, Muttenz, Alpnach, and Landquart.

Further information is available at www.csem.ch

About High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF)
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven start-ups. With around EUR 900 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge almost 600 start-ups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial technology, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected over EUR 2.7 billion into the HTGF portfolio via more than 1,600 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 100 companies.

Investors in the public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and 32 companies. The Fund Investors

Media Contact
Stefanie Grüter
T: +49 228 82300 188

Investor Contact
Dr. Olaf Joeressen, Investment Manager
T: +49 228 82300 157

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