Innovation

Sam Altman invests $25 million in a chip designer who mimics the brain.

While most AI chips on the market today are digital, Rain's technology is analogue, according to Gordon Wilson, CEO and co-founder.

Rain Neuromorphics Inc., a startup that designs chips that replicate the way the brain works and seeks to assist businesses using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, announced a $25 million funding round on Wednesday.

While most AI chips on the market today are digital, Rain’s technology is analogue, according to Gordon Wilson, CEO and co-founder. Analogue processors can discern incremental information such as sound waves, while digital chips can read 1s and 0s.

“It’s about looking at the brain first for insights on how we may develop a new computation substrate,” Wilson explained. “By constructing neural circuits, we may attain incredible efficiency and scale at the same time.”

NVIDIA Corp’s (NVDA.O) graphic chips presently dominate the AI market. SambaNova Systems, Groq, and Cerebras Systems are among the other U.S. firms that have raised financing.

Rain’s “neuromorphic method could dramatically lower the costs of generating powerful AI models and could perhaps one day contribute to allow true artificial general intelligence,” according to Sam Altman, a well-known Silicon Valley investor and AI researcher who was an early backer of the business.

Rain’s chip is made by layering a memristor circuit on top of silicon wafers. Memristors are ‘artificial synapses’ that allow processing and memory to happen in the same spot, allowing AI to run. They were first invented by HP Labs around a decade ago.

According to Wilson, the monies raised will be utilized to increase Rain’s engineering team as the company moves forward with its prototype chip development.

Prosperity 7 Ventures, an Aramco Ventures venture capital vehicle, led the current fundraising round.

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