Intel Bets on Multiple Horses With $1 Billion Chip Fund

The world’s largest chip seller is freeing up $1 billion to invest in young and established companies developing disruptive chip technology. At the same time, it is not limited to X86 but also looks at Arm and RISC-V architectures.


The billion will go to startups that still need to grow and to established companies to lay the foundations for modular products with an open chiplet platform, for Intel’s own X86 instruction set, as well as ARM and RISC-V.

“With this new investment fund and open chiplet platform, we are driving the ecosystem forward to develop disruptive technology across the entire spectrum of chip architectures,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger.

Intel speaks of financial investments in startups as well as strategic investments for accelerating scale-ups, as well as investments in the ecosystem around IFS customers. That stands for Intel Foundry Services, the relatively new business unit of Intel where it will make chips for others for the first time. Until now, Intel only produced chips for its own sale.

At the same time, Intel is announcing that it will become a member of RISC-V International, a nonprofit that supports the open RISC-V instruction set and extensions.

Intel has been trying to reposition itself for a year, first with Pat Gelsinger as CEO. Later, the company announced that it would invest billions in new chip factories in the US and Europe, among others, and made several management changes.

At the same time, the chip market itself is also evolving towards three-dimensional design where chips are stacked in layers and chiplets, where multiple modular pieces of chip are put together depending on their end purpose. As a result, Intel expects the data centre market to be one of the first to embrace modular architecture.

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