NUVIA raises $53 million in data center chip bid

chip design
Three former Apple chip executives formed NUVIA to create data center processors. The company announced $53 million in funding on Friday. (Pixabay)

Phoenix chip designer NUVIA emerged from stealth on Friday to announce it has raised $53 million from Dell Technologies Capital and others in an apparent bid to challenge Intel and AMD in the data center space.

The Santa Clara, California, NUVIA was founded in early 2019 by three former Apple semiconductor executives—Gerard Williams, Manu Gulati and John Bruno. Little was known about its plans until the funding announcement revealed in Friday’s press release.

The three have been behind silicon design for more than 20 chips with more than 100 patents. They hail from various jobs at Google, ARM, Broadcom, as well as AMD and Apple.

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CEO Williams said NUVIA and its code-named Phoenix processor are needed to feed high-speed information processing that is expanding with rich media applications and constant connectivity.

Williams departed Apple in early 2019 after nine years as chief architect for Apple central processors and SoC (System-on-Chip) designs. Gulati pegged eight years at Apple working on mobile SoC designs, and Bruno put in five years in Apple’s platform architecture business. Gulati and Bruno worked for Google as well before arriving at NUVIA.

Data needs have become even more intense with the sundowning of Moore’s Law, and chip designers are inventing new ways to create chips that are more energy efficient, faster and more secure. “New semiconductors are required for a cloud-native, data-dominated, AI-powered IoT world,” said Navin Chaddha, managing director of Mayfield, one of the other investors. Capricorn Investment Group, WRVI Capital and Nepenthe LLC round out the investment group.

Scott Darling, president of Dell Technologies Capital, said NUVIA represents the innovation available in Silicon Valley. “The best companies start when founders with outstanding track record of performance come together to identify a big problem and line up the best investment team to help them succeed,” he said in a statement.

Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategies, told Reuters that the most successful chip companies “have rock star architects and developers.”

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