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Upstart chipmaker Innovium, on brink of unicorn valuation, seeks funding

Faced with high costs, semiconductor chip startups have long struggled to raise venture capital. But Innovium is leading the next generation, seeking to raise up to $50 million in Series E funding.

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For the past couple of decades, chip startups have struggled to raise venture capital because of the hefty cost of fabrication infrastructure.

But Silicon Valley’s Innovium, founded in late 2014, is among a small but growing new generation of chip companies to garner venture capital funding and take aim at established chip giants like Broadcom. A data-center chip specialist called Fungible, led by Juniper Networks founder Pradeep Sindhu, raised a $200 million Series C in June with backing from Walden Riverwood and Redline Capital, both of which have invested in Innovium. Datera, CloudVelox and MarkLogic also compete in the VC-backed cloud-driven data market.

Now, with a new round of funding in the works, Innovium is nearing unicorn status after just a few years in business.

The developer of semiconductors designed for data centers seeks to raise up to $50 million in Series E funding, a regulatory filing shows, in a deal that would give Innovium a valuation of up to $925 million, according to a PitchBook estimate. That’s up from its $715 million valuation after a round in 2018.

Final terms and details of the financing, detailed in the Aug. 22 filing, haven’t been revealed and could be subject to change. Innovium, based in San Jose, didn’t respond to a request for comment. It’s not known which investors are participating in the company’s new round.

Rajiv Khemani, Innovium’s CEO and one of its founders, previously spent five years at Intel and also served as COO of Cavium, a chip company specializing in cloud and mobile applications. Khemani’s two co-founders, Puneet Agarwal and Mohammad Issa, are former Broadcom senior engineers.

In September, Innovium launched its newest switch chip, the Teralynx 5, which has applications ranging from 1.2 terabits to 6.4 terabits per second for large scale operators, enterprise and edge data centers.

Innovium has pulled in about $182 million in total funding. In addition to Redline and Walden, its investors include Qualcomm Ventures, Capricorn Investment Group, Greylock Partners and S-Cubed Capital.

Here’s a look at Innovium’s fundraising and valuation history, according to the PitchBook Platform:

Jan. 2015: $15M round | $33.3M valuation
Dec. 2015: $31.6M | $98.5M
Mar. 2017: $38.3M | $253M
Apr. 2018: $77M | $637M
Sept. 2018: $20M | $715M

Priyamvada Mathur contributed to this article.

Featured image via yucelyilmaz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

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    Written by Eliza Haverstock
    Eliza Haverstock was a PitchBook writer covering venture capital, startups, and private equity.

    A graduate of the University of Virginia where she majored in history and economics, she’s also a native of the Washington, DC, area. Previously, Eliza worked as a news editor for her college paper, The Cavalier Daily, and interned as an industrials reporter for Bloomberg in New York.
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