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UK Government names semiconductor start-ups joining £1.3 million ChipStart programme

Written by Tue 17 Oct 2023

The UK Government has announced the first 12 members of its £1.3 million ($1.5 million) ChipStart programme, as part of the National Semiconductor Strategy.

Mignon and Vaire Computing have joined the pilot. Both companies design hardware that is built to run large-scale AI models using more efficient chips. This enables AI models to use less energy and computer resource, leading to more efficient training and research.

Additional ChipStart members are focused on designing chips for brain implants and enhancing online user security using transformative quantum computing.

“Semiconductors are the bedrock of our modern economy and an increasingly integral part of our lives. These firms are building on Britain’s research leadership to open doors to innovation and growth, while designing chips that could truly change the way we live our lives,” said Paul Scully, Minister for Technology.

The full list of incubator members is:

  • Blueshift Memory
  • Fincheto
  • HIDRA Vision
  • HyperCIM
  • Mignon
  • MintNeuro
  • Quinas
  • RED Semiconductors
  • Singular Photonics
  • Vaire
  • Wave Photonics

“The first group of 12 UK semiconductor startups to enter ChipStart UK incubator have been selected from 27 applications following two rounds of intensive panel interviews made up of semiconductor startup experts from the UK and Silicon Valley,” said Sean Redmond, CEO of Silicon Catalyst.UK, a start-up accelerator with experience of scaling up and growing ‘hundreds of chip companies’.

The Government announcement said the UK’s established ‘world-leading capability in semiconductor design’ sits at the heart of the Programme. A total of five of the firms were founded as ‘spinouts’ from the UK’s leading universities. Two more start-ups were originating from research carried out at Oxford and Cambridge universities.

ChipStart will offer technical and commercial support to early-stage semiconductor design companies, facilitating the launch of innovative products that can enhance lives in the long term.

The programme will be delivered by SiliconCatalyst.UK. The accelerator will give companies access to bespoke chip design tools, commercial expertise, specialised mentorship, and networking opportunities with prospective investors and partners.

Upon completion, the pilot programme is expected to provide a stream of innovative startups in the UK’s semiconductor industry. These startups have the potential to create innovative products and effective market strategies, forming a foundation for their future growth, including avenues for securing seed funding.

In May, the UK Government unveiled a National Semiconductor Strategy, earmarking a £1 billion ($1.2 billion) investment in the sector over the next ten years. ChipStart will run two consecutive cohorts and end in March 2025.

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Written by Tue 17 Oct 2023

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