Sapeon, a spin-off of SK Telecom, sk Hynix, and SK Square, has successfully raised $380 million in Series A funding to expand their AI services and develop next-generation chips. The funding round was led by Ascent Equity Partners, with participation from GS affiliates, Daebo Information & Communication, Hana Financial Group, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, We Ventures, and E1. This investment values Sapeon at KRW500bn ($380m).
Sapeon aims to provide AI services using a comprehensive AI full-stack strategy, covering everything from AI semiconductor hardware to AI algorithms and software to AI-based services. They have already developed the X220 chip, which boasts a deep learning computation speed of 6.7 Kframes per second, enabling it to process a remarkable 6,700 images per second. This chip is designed for 16, 8, and 4-bit inference.
In the second half of this year, Sapeon plans to release their next-generation X330 chip, which is expected to deliver four times the performance of the X220. The X330 chip will feature GDDR6 memories and enhanced self-learning capabilities. Sapeon also has plans to launch the X340 and X350 versions later this year. Looking further ahead, their third-generation chip, the X430, is slated for 2025 and will leverage high-speed HBM3 memory.
Sapeon has already integrated the X220 chip into two PCI Express 3.0 cards with processing capabilities ranging from 65 to 174TOPS. The company is working closely with Hana Financial Group to conduct stability testing on an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) model that utilizes their AI semiconductors. This model is particularly valuable for improving document recognition within the banking sector, and the tests have confirmed the effective operation of Sapeon’s X220 chip.
Collaboration between Sapeon and the GS Group has resulted in the development of SK Telecom’s AI-based image/video quality improvement solution called SUPERNOVA. This partnership aims to enhance Content Delivery Network (CDN) services in the media industry. Additionally, Sapeon is engaged in joint efforts with Daebo Information & Communication to create smart transportation applications. They also have plans to expand their presence in smart factories, retail, and the Internet of Things (IoT) domain.
Ryu Su-jeong, the CEO of Sapeon, expressed gratitude for the investments made by Ascent Equity Partners, Hana Financial Group, GS Group affiliates, Mirae Asset Venture Investment, We Ventures, and E1. He highlighted the significance of this funding as a testament to Sapeon’s technological capabilities and their commitment to applying them across various business sectors. Ryu affirmed that Sapeon will leverage their accumulated technology and experience to deliver top-notch AI services across diverse fields, emphasizing their dedication to quality.
With their innovative chips and AI services, Sapeon is carving its path in the AI industry. With the successful Series A funding, they are well-equipped to expand and further establish themselves as leaders in this field. As the demand for AI technologies continues to grow across industries, Sapeon’s comprehensive AI full-stack strategy positions them to meet the evolving needs of their customers effectively.