AI Hardware Firm Raises $25M in Series A Funding

By Joel Davies -

Rain Neuromorphics, a neurocomputing platform for artificial intelligence, has announced a $25 million Series A funding round led by Prosperity 7 Ventures.

Rain Neuromorphics creates computer chips via analog where most AI chips on the market today are digital. This difference in approach means the company’s flagship product, the Neuromorphic Processing Unit (NPU), could be 1000x more energy-efficient than today’s best processors.

The hardware architecture of the NPU utilizes memristors to combine memory and compute as artificial synapses, overlayed on top of the neuron circuits in a sparse pattern replicating the sparse connectivity of the brain, allowing tens of millions of artificial neurons to be interconnected on a single chip.

“I’m excited by Rain’s progress on analog AI chips — they taped out a working prototype last year, which most companies require much more capital to do”, said Sam Altman, who led Rain’s seed round in 2018, prior to the company participating in Y Combinator. “Their neuromorphic approach could vastly reduce the costs of creating powerful AI models and will hopefully one day help to enable true artificial general intelligence”.

The Neuromorphic Processing Unit is the world’s first end-to-end analog, trainable AI circuit. The NPU combines a new algorithm for analog AI training and inference, known as Equilibrium Propagation, with a new analog chip architecture. The NPU is the only analog approach to AI which combines fundamental innovations in both algorithm and hardware technology, simultaneously speeding up processing and lowering power consumption.

With inspiration for the NPU founded in natural intelligence, the long-term mission of Rain is to enable “truly brain-like processors” for AI. The company believes the flexibility of the NPU platform “makes possible a product roadmap capable of addressing near and mid-term opportunities in both cloud and edge AI markets”, as it taped out its first working prototype chip in 2021.

“At Rain, we are building an entirely new kind of microchip — a fully analog neural network where software and hardware merge into one elegant, massively parallel information processor. This is a bold project that combines many disciplines: circuit theory, physics, pure mathematics, neural network architectures, materials science, and even neuroscience”, stated Gordon Wilson, co-founder and CEO of Rain. “We are looking for curious individuals who love to think at the intersection of multiple fields to help us build a truly brain-like processor for AI. It’s both challenging and thrilling to work on such a fundamental and potentially consequential technology”.

Lead investor Prosperity 7 Ventures was joined by existing investors Buckley Ventures, Gaingels, Loup Ventures, Metaplanet and Pioneer Fund. In addition to institutional venture funds, Rain has received angel investment from leaders in the fields of AI, robotics and software, including Sam Altman, co-founder and CEO of OpenAI, Jeff Rothschild, founding engineer of Facebook, Oliver Cameron, VP of Product at Cruise, Amar Shah, founding CEO of Wayve AI, and Scott Gray, Research Engineer at OpenAI, among others.

Rain plans to triple the company this year, growing its multidisciplinary team of researchers and engineers across expertise spanning device physics, circuit architecture and design, software, and algorithms. The new funding will also further accelerate the progress of its product roadmap.

You can find more information about Rain Neuromorphics and its Series A funding round on its website.

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