Graphcore raises $50m in new series C from the investor that backed Airbnb and Apple

The machine-intelligence-processor startup has just announced that it is being backed by Sequoia Capital, the VC firm that invested in brands like PayPal, Yahoo and Google

Graphcore raises $50m in new series C from the investor that backed Airbnb and Apple

Nigel Toon, co-founder and CEO of Graphcore, made sure to do his due diligence before signing the dotted line. Photo credit: Graphcore

Despite the fact that uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations has caused some entrepreneurs to worry about their ability to source talent and money, there are still plenty of reasons for them to feel bullish about their future. Not only have companies like Improbable raised multimillion pound rounds over the past 12 months but investors from Silicon Valley have also injected $1.13bn in the community this year. And now it seems as if the British startup ecosystem has received another vote of confidence: Graphcore, the machine-intelligence company, has just raised $50m from Sequoia Capital, the VC firm.

Having already made a name for itself as a developer behind a new generation of processors, Graphcore will use the new money to scale its production as it prepares to ship its first units to early-access customers in the beginning of 2018. More specifically, the money will be used to build a community of developers around the company’s software platform Poplar, drive its extended product roadmap and grow its team in Palo Alto.

And it’s easy to see why Sequoia Capital would make a great partner for the Bristol company: the VC firm was an early backer of tech giants like Google, Airbnb and Apple. Nevertheless, Graphcore’s CEO and co-founder Nigel Toon stated in a blog post that he didn’t go into the deal without doing his research. “Obviously, I had heard of Sequoia but we had not worked together before so I started my own due diligence on them,” he said. Fortunately, he was impressed by what other companies in the VC firm’s portfolio told him. Not only had other businesses benefitted from the investor’s insights but also from its extended network. “The feedback was totally consistent – Sequoia are tough, they will challenge and push you harder than anyone to achieve more than you were originally planning but they will also support you more too,” Toon said.

But Sequoia Capital isn’t the only one that believes in Graphcore; this latest funding round comes hot on the heels of a $30m series B round led by Atomico, the VC firm, earlier this year. With high-profile investors like these still betting big on the ecosystem, startups will hopefully feel a little faith for the future as the negotiations between the EU and Britain trudge on.

Eric Johansson
Eric Johansson

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