Synthara Raises Over USD 11M to expand the embedded computing market and enable AI applications

June 5, 2024

  • Swiss semiconductor startup Synthara raises USD 5.5m in financing and USD 5.9M in grants to increase compute performance of embedded chips by orders of magnitude.
  • Synthara’s ComputeRAMTM enables general-purpose embedded chips to address a wide variety of AI-rich applications, lowering costs and time to market and creating new opportunities for chipmakers and device makers.
  • The round is led by leading European deep tech investor Vsquared Ventures, with OTB Ventures, Hermann Hauser’s Onsight Ventures, and Deeptech Labs joining in the round along with existing investors.
  • ComputeRAM will be showcased at Synthara’s booths at the Design Automation Conference (#2552) in San Francisco between June 24 and 27 and at the RISC-V summit in Munich between June 24 and 28.

Zurich, Switzerland [05 June 2024] – Synthara, a Swiss semiconductor innovator, today announces the successful closing of over USD 11 million in funding through investments and European and Swiss grants to bring in-memory computing to the mass market. The round is led by Vsquared Ventures, with OTB Ventures, Hermann Hauser’s Onsight Ventures, Deep Tech Labs, along with existing investors such as High-Tech Gründerfonds, DeepIE, Excellis, ZKB and first investor and early believer Sandeep Raju. Hermann Hauser also joined the company as an advisor. This funding will enable Synthara to introduce its groundbreaking patent-pending product, ComputeRAM, to embedded computing applications.

There is an explosion of AI-rich embedded applications such as robotics, sensing, and wearables, with the space worth over $200B today and growing at over 15% CAGR. The issue: these applications are too complex for conventional embedded chips. Embedded device makers are sorting through an increasingly complex ecosystem of hardware and software products, resulting in increasing costs and time to market. These problems cannot be addressed without a paradigm shift in computing technology. By enhancing conventional on-chip memories with computing capabilities, ComputeRAM enables micro-controllers that are 100x better, both in terms of energy efficiency and latency. These high-performance and flexible micro-controller chips can address a broad set of AI-rich applications, thereby lowering costs, and time to market, creating new opportunities for the chipmakers and device makers.

Founded in 2019 as a spin-off from the Institute of Neuroinformatics at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, Synthara is based on the doctoral research of Dr. Manu V. Nair and Dr. Alessandro Aimar. 

With ComputeRAM, we are looking to enable a new breed of feature-rich products that are only limited by the creativity of the developers. This founding round empowers us to work closely with our early adopter community as they develop game-changing chips and devices.

Manu V Nair, Co-Founder and CEO of Synthara

The rise of AI is a societal and economic disruption on par with the great industrial revolutions of the past. As traditional semiconductor companies struggle to adapt to this new reality, Synthara aims to establish Europe as the leading force in this transformation and become the global reference for AI and advanced computing hardware.

Synthara’s Founder and CTO Dr. Alessandro Aimar

The seamless integration of in-memory computing into existing chip designs is a game-changer, significantly enhancing capabilities and performance. This advancement is particularly relevant for AI applications, where the need for faster, more efficient processing is paramount. I believe we are at the knee of the curve, poised to enter an era of unprecedented growth. This technology will serve an ever-expanding market, driving innovation and enabling breakthroughs across various industries.

Hermann Hauser, founder of Acron Computers and ARM and advisor to Synthara

We are about to witness a paradigm shift in computing, with in-memory-computing leading the charge. The bottleneck of data movement is especially noticeable in edge applications. Here, smart devices need to run complex, concurrent algorithms. This problem is compounded by space limitations and low power requirements. To continue advancing and fostering innovation, we require high-performance, drop-in solutions such as Synthara’s ComputeRAM. We look forward to partnering with Manu and the team at Synthara as they unlock new opportunities by bringing in-memory-computing to market at scale.

Patrick Tucci, Principal at Vsquared Ventures

The emerging in-memory computing (IMC) paradigm is set to transform the industry, enabling it to bypass the data transfer bottlenecks in conventional chip architectures that affect energy consumption, performance & latency. Synthara enables easy integration of the underlying principles of IMC technology into existing chip design without any disruptive alterations to the architecture. As such, the company is very well positioned to spearhead the change within the industry, providing immediate performance gains at a limited energy budget across multiple product categories and unlocking new use cases (e.g. real-time voice processing on the edge in hearing aids). We are super excited to embark on this journey with the Synthara team.

Karol Szubstarski, Partner at OTB Ventures

In addition to raising venture capital, Synthara is involved in several significant European projects, targeting advanced computing and next-generation AI applications (Rebecca, Centric, and Tristan). The company has also secured substantial funding from Innosuisse and SERI, including a recent CHF 2.5 million Swiss Accelerator grant to advance next-generation edge AI chips. The team of 20 is based in Zurich.

About Synthara
Founded in 2019 as a spin-off from the Institute of Neuroinformatics at ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich, Synthara is based on the pioneering doctoral research of Dr. Manu V. Nair and Dr. Alessandro Aimar. Synthara has most recently introduced the groundbreaking patent-pending ComputeRAMTM targeting embedded applications such as wearables, robotics, and smart sensing, Synthara has also been supported by Silicon Catalyst, SNSF Bridge, Venture Labs, and Intel Ignite. The company is backed by distinguished entrepreneurs and industry experts, including Sean Mitchell, Hermann Hauser, Ron Black, and Joerg Sperling, who serve in key leadership and advisory roles. In addition to venture capital, Synthara is involved in several significant European projects, such as Rebecca, Centric, and Tristan. The company has also secured substantial funding from Innosuisse and SERI, including a recent CHF 2.5 million Swiss Accelerator grant to advance next-generation edge AI chips.
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About Vsquared Ventures
Vsquared Ventures backs bold entrepreneurs engineering seemingly impossible solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. Investing in deep tech companies, Vsquared Ventures focuses on new space, new computing, energy transition, robotics and manufacturing, new computing and sensing, AI and next-gen software and tech-bio. Vsquared Ventures has built one of Europe’s strongest deep tech portfolios, including industry disruptors Isar Aerospace, IQM Quantum Computing,, Customcells, Neura Robotics and The Exploration Company.

About OTB Ventures
OTB Ventures is a European VC focused on DeepTech, investing in early growth startups (late Seed, Series A, and B) that develop unique technologies in 4 verticals: SpaceTech, Enterprise Automation & AI, FinTech Infrastructure and Cybersecurity, portfolio include ICEYE, Hydrosat, Silent Eight, Established in 2017, OTB Ventures currently manages over $350 million and has offices in Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Warsaw (Poland).

About Onsight Ventures
Onsight Ventures is an European deep tech fund at the forefront of early-stage investments in cutting-edge technologies, specializing in Semiconductors, Quantum Computing, AI, SynBio and TechBio. The fund is backed by ARM co-founder Hermann Hauser and BioNTech co-founder Christoph Huber. 

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances tech start-ups with growth potential and has supported more than 700 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of its fourth fund, HTGF now has about 1.4 billion euros under management. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts support young companies with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected about 5 billion euros of capital into the HTGF portfolio via more than 2,000 follow-on financing rounds. In addition, HTGF has already successfully sold shares in more than 180 companies. Fund investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital and 45 companies from a wide range of industries.

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High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH  
Tobias Jacob, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager   
T.: +49 228 – 82300 – 121

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