Pakistani-American NED Alum Raises $50 Million For Silicon Valley Startup SiFive

SiFive,  a Silicon Valley intellectual property tech startup, has raised $50.6 million in series C funding. The company is headed by Pakistani-American CEO and fellow NED University alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani.  SiFive investors include Intel Capital, Western Digital, Sutter Hill Ventures and Spark Capital.

NED Alumnus Dr. Naveed Sherwani
The company was founded by Andrew Waterman, Krste Asanovic and Yunsup Leethe of the University of California at Berkeley. Their team developed open-source instruction set architecture (ISA) for Reduced Instruction Set Computing V (RISC V). RISC V design is freely available under Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) that was first introduced for Berkeley's open source UNIX operating system and open software tools. BSD license permits development of derivative intellectual property (IP) and products. It offers the advantage of having a large open-source community contribute to its continuous development and innovation.

SiFive sells core IP (intellectual property) based on RISC V ISA. The company's IP Cores are the most widely deployed RISC-V cores in the world.  SiFive Core IP is verified and delivered in Verilog for custom SoC (System on Chip) designs.

Naveed Sherwani is a serial entrepreneur with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Karachi's NED Engineering University in 1983. He has a Ph.D. in computer engineering from University of Nebraska. He has taught at Western Michigan University and authored four books and over 100 papers.

In May 2017, NED University alumnus Khalid Raza and two co-founders of Viptela sold their company to Cisco for $610 million. Viptela was a software-defined-networks (SDN) start-up in Silicon Valley that was co-founded in 2012 by Pakistani-American entrepreneurs Amir Khan, Atif Khan and Khalid Raza.

In November 2017, another NED University alumnus Raghib Husain sold his company Cavium to Marvell Technology in a $6 billion stock deal, according to CNBC News. The value of the deal jumped to $7.5 billion enterprise value at the close of market on November 22, 2017.

Sherwani headed Intel's ASIC division before starting Open Silicon, a fabless semiconductor company that offered turn-key custom ASIC solutions. He was the CEO of Peernova before joining SiFive as its chief executive officer.

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Riaz Haq said…
SiFive has raised a total of $190.5M in funding over 5 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Aug 11, 2020 from a Series E round.

SiFive is funded by 13 investors. Western Digital Capital and Qualcomm Ventures are the most recent investors.

SiFive has a post-money valuation in the range of $100M to $500M as of Jun 7, 2019, according to PrivCo.

Aug 11, 2020
Series E - SiFive Logo
Series E - SiFive
8 $61M SK Hynix
Jun 6, 2019
Series D - SiFive Logo
Series D - SiFive
6 $65.4M Qualcomm Ventures
Apr 2, 2018
Series C - SiFive Logo
Series C - SiFive
10 $50.6M OUP (Osage University Partners), Spark Capital, Sutter Hill Ventures
May 8, 2017
Series B - SiFive Logo
Series B - SiFive
3 $8.5M Spark Capital
Sep 1, 2015
Series A - SiFive Logo
Series A - SiFive
1 $5M Sutter Hill Ventures
Riaz Haq said…
SiFive Lands Another $60 Million in Funding to Challenge Arm
The Silicon Valley startup said its latest round of funding was led by SK Hynix, one of the world's largest manufacturers of memory chips. The investment arms of Intel, Qualcomm, and Western Digital, and other current investors joined the Series E round.

The startup is led by president and chief executive officer Naveed Sherwani, who was hired for the position in 2017.

The startup raised $65 million in Series D funding led by Qualcomm Ventures last year, after it landed $50 million in Series C funding from Spark Capital and Sutter Hill Ventures in 2018.

Silicon Valley startup SiFive raised $61 million in its latest round of funding to continue rolling out its open-source semiconductor technology and challenge its major rival Arm.

The startup said its latest round of funding was led by SK Hynix, one of the world's largest memory chip manufacturers, and was joined by its existing investors, including the venture capital arms of Intel, Qualcomm, and Western Digital. The funding brings the total amount raised by the company to more than $190 million since it was founded in 2015.

The startup has developed a range of processor cores, accelerators, and other IP based on the RISC-V architecture, the popular open-source instruction set used as the starting point for building chips. SiFive said that its product portfolio spans high-performance processors used in data centers to tiny, power-sipping cores ideal for the Internet of Things. SiFive has rolled out products that compete against Arm's Cortex-A, Cortex-M, and other chip designs.

While anyone can access the open instruction set architecture free of charge, building chips based on the technology can be very costly and take years of development time. SiFive has rolled out a set of development tools that can be used to add custom features to its RISC-V cores, giving customers the ability to differentiate their products. It has rolled out another set of tools that customers can use to assemble the IP into systems on a chip, or SoCs.

SiFive, which also offers chip design services to customers, said the use of its intellectual property and cloud-based tools reduces the cost and time-to-market for custom silicon.

SiFive has been gaining ground in the global chip business in recent years. Last year, the company said it counted six of the top 10 semiconductor suppliers in the world, including Qualcomm and SK Hynix, as its customers. "SiFive's winning product portfolio will continue to expand and be adopted for solutions that require domain-specific architectures," the CEO said in a statement Tuesday.

The company was founded in 2015 by Andrew Waterman, Krste Asanovic and Yunsup Lee, who co-developed the free, open-source architecture at the University of California, Berkeley.

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