Smart Money investors are backing semiconductor companies working on communication chips, photonics, application-specific integrated circuits, and more.
With semiconductor fabrication dominated by large foundries like TSMC, top VC investors are turning to AI chips and “fabless” semiconductor companies — players selling designs for chips as opposed to manufacturing them — for investment opportunities.
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CB Insights Smart Money VCs, a list of the top-performing 25 venture capital firms, are betting that the semiconductor market has plenty of space to grow as chips become even more critical to a broad range of emerging tech, including driverless cars and machine learning.
Modern AI chips, for example, can be much faster and more energy-efficient than typical CPUs at specific AI-related tasks, demonstrating the potential value of specialized chips. More broadly, global semiconductor sales increased to $439B in 2020, up 6% from the year before, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association.
Below, we use CB Insights data to identify where Smart Money VCs — including New Enterprise Associates, Norwest Venture Partners, and Spark Capital — are placing their bets in the semiconductor space.
A complete list of the CB Insights Smart Money VCs is provided at the end of this brief.
KLEINER PERKINS IS THE MOST ACTIVE SMART MONEY VC IN SEMICONDUCTORS
Smart Money VCs have participated in 58 deals to semiconductor companies since the start of 2017. Kleiner Perkins is the most active, participating in 8 rounds since 2017. Bessemer Venture Partners participated in the next most with 7 deals, followed by Battery Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures with 6 deals apiece.