Over the previous couple of years, Nvidia, by far the most important AI chipmaker, has ramped up its investments in startups that propel it deeper into the AI area. According to S&P International and Crunchbase, the funding and funding database, Nvidia’s startup investments jumped 280% year-over-year from 2022 to 2023, with the corporate and its VC arm, Nvidia Ventures, taking part in ~46 offers final yr.

It’s not the one one. Nvidia’s chief rivals within the AI chip area — AMD, Arm and Intel — have been investing aggressively in startups, too, trying to make up floor in markets inclusive of the particularly frothy generative AI section.

We at For Millionaires have been curious to see how the investments stacked up between the highest AI chipmakers — Nvidia, AMD, Arm and Intel. So we pored over Crunchbase knowledge, with a watch towards current exercise from every chipmaker and their VC divisions.


Of Nvidia’s opponents, Intel far and away has the most important startup funding operation because of Intel Capital, its long-running VC. In 2023, Intel Capital deployed over $350 million throughout its investments, together with OpenAI rival AI21 Labs, video analytics platform Twelve Labs, app supply community Fly.io and office security outfit TuMeke.

Crunchbase knowledge isn’t exhaustive. However it reveals that Intel Capital participated in 32 startup offers in 2023, down from 47 in 2022. Intel additionally immediately invested in two startups final yr, per Crunchbase — bringing its grand whole deal depend to 34 in 2023 and 47 in 2022.

Curiously, AI startups — regardless of their strategic significance to the chip business as of late — make up a comparatively small portion of Intel’s enterprise portfolio. Based on Crunchbase, Intel’s holdings in software program, IT and enterprise SaaS corporations far outnumber its AI startup holdings by deal quantity.

That might change as Intel seeks to ship new software program services, together with GenAI-powered merchandise, that make its {hardware} extra enticing for a spread of AI functions. Simply in January, Intel spun out an organization, Articul8 AI, to construct GenAI options operating on Intel chips for enterprises within the aerospace, monetary providers, telecommunications and semiconductor industries.


Arm may not be a very lively startup investor in comparison with Intel. However the firm, which makes most of its cash licensing chipsets it designs to prospects, has a number of direct funding offers in addition to offers via Deeptech Labs, a VC fund and accelerator that Arm co-launched with the College of Cambridge, Cambridge Innovation Capital and Martlet Capital.

Final yr, Arm made 4 direct investments in startups — microprocessor enterprise SiPearl, eSIM safety firm Kigen and Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi Basis — and 6 investments via Deeptech Labs. Beneficiaries of the Deeptech Labs money included Nu Quantum, a quantum networking startup; RoboK, which is constructing 3D sensing tech; and Perceptual Robotics, a supplier of automated wind turbine inspection tech.

Altogether, then, Arm poured cash into 10 startups in 2023. That’s a big uptick from 2022, when Arm invested in simply 4 corporations — a direct funding within the open supply {hardware} startup Arduino and three investments via Deeptech Labs (Waku Robotics, Xapien and SonicEdge).

One presumes Arm’s future investments will rope in AI in a extra apparent method, provided that the corporate’s betting on gross sales of each its knowledge heart and shopper AI chips to steeply improve this yr.


AMD has a VC org of its personal, AMD Ventures, via which it invests in startups. However for AMD, the offers come comparatively few and much between.

Final yr, AMD Ventures made a handful of investments, taking part within the Collection A for Ethernovia, a startup constructing a household of ethernet chips and software program, and investing in rounds for Important AI, which appears to be like to pioneer AI-powered software program automation tech; Moreh, an organization creating instruments to optimize AI fashions; and Hugging Face (alongside Intel and Nvidia). The yr earlier than, AMD inked a single take care of Radian Arc, an infrastructure-as-a-service platform for cloud gaming and AI — and made no different investments.

AMD’s deal whole in 2023 got here to 4 — on the conservative facet in comparison with rivals. However 2024 might look a bit totally different. Contacted for remark, AMD had this to share from Matthew Hein, the corporate’s chief technique officer of company improvement:

AMD Ventures has ramped up its funding exercise up to now yr and is trying to speed up additional in 2024, focusing on reaching a double-digit funding stage. We make investments throughout levels, supporting promising early startups poised to develop into market leaders, in addition to mature later stage corporations. Most of our new investments in 2024 might be focusing on the AI ecosystem, together with AI platforms, generative mannequin corporations and AI infrastructure choices.

2024 might be a pivotal yr for AMD in different respects. The corporate’s ramping up manufacturing of its MI300 AI chip, which is designed to deal with AI workloads in knowledge facilities, and launching Ryzen 8040, its cell AI-accelerated processors certain for laptops.

By the numbers

So it’s true: Nvidia isn’t the one chipmaker investing in early ventures. However it does look like outgunning the competitors. Within the first three quarters of 2023 alone, Nvidia funneled practically a billion {dollars} to “non-affiliated” corporations, per the sooner S&P International report — a determine even Intel Capital struggled to match.

Success within the AI chipmaking area needn’t entail fostering a strong startup ecosystem. However it’s clear that Nvidia, one of many world’s most beneficial corporations with management of about 95% of the marketplace for AI chips, is taking part in for retains — making an attempt to shore up dominance by spreading its monetary affect far and vast.

I’d say its rivals have their work minimize out for them.