Intel has announced a billion-dollar fund to help companies build custom chip designs and architectures. Called the Foundry Innovation Ecosystem, the fund aims to accelerate the demand for custom chip products from companies and the time they take to bring products to the market. Areas that the fund will look to invest in include semiconductor design IP (intellectual property), custom chip software and architecture, and new semiconductor packaging technologies.
In a statement upon the launch of the fund, Intel chief Pat Gelsinger said, “Foundry customers are rapidly embracing a modular design approach to differentiate their products and accelerate time to market. With our new investment fund and open chiplet platform, we can help drive the ecosystem to develop disruptive technologies across the full spectrum of chip architectures.”
Intel states that the fund is a part of its plans to cement its position as a full-stack semiconductor company. The new fund is geared to invest in startups in the semiconductor industry where Intel will hold equity, and also invest in Intel’s business partners to scale up operations and bring in more revenues under the Intel umbrella. The company’s announcement comes at a time when there is a global race among nations and semiconductor makers to diversify and expand operations – as technology becomes ubiquitous in every aspect.
Intel claims that to address this company goal, it today has a role to play in all chip architectures – x86, Arm and Risc-V. For the latter, Intel also announced that it is now one of the leading partners of the open source architecture, and will look to incorporate the instruction set architecture (ISA) in its own semiconductor IPs. Risc-V is one of the world’s leading open source chip architectures used by foundries around the world.
Intel’s announcement comes on a day when Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of chipmaker and designer Arm has been reportedly called off due to anticompetition concerns raised by regulators scrutinising the deal.