Intel continues to attract startups to build its AI and machine learning operations. In the latest move, TechCrunch has learned that the chip giant has acquired Cnvrg.io, an Israeli company that has built and operated a platform for data scientists to build and run models. machine learning, which can be used to train and track multiple models and run comparisons on them, build proposals, and more.
Intel confirmed the redemption to us with a short note. “We can confirm that we have acquired Cnvrg,” said a spokesperson. “Cnvrg will be an independent Intel company and will continue to serve its current and future customers.”; Those clients include Lightricks, ST Unitas and Playtika.
Intel did not disclose any financial terms of the deal, nor will anyone from the startup be joining Intel. Cnvrg, co-founded by Yochay Ettun (CEO) and Leah Forkosh Kolben, has raised $ 8 million from investors including Hanaco Venture Capital and Jerusalem Venture Partners, and PitchBook estimates that it is valued at around $ 17 million in the final round.
Just a week ago, Intel made another acquisition to boost its AI business, also in the field of machine learning models: they chose SigOpt, the company that developed an optimized platform. to run and simulate machine learning.
While SigOpt is headquartered in the Bay Area, Cnvrg is in Israel and is involved in a vast footprint that Intel has built in the country, specifically in the field of artificial intelligence research and development, Mobileye (which they acquired for more than $ 15 billion in 2017) and acquired AI chip maker Habana (which the company acquired for $ 2 billion by the end of 2019) .
Cnvrg.io’s platform works on on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments, and it has paid and free levels (we mentioned the launch of a free, Core branded service, last year). It competes with Databricks, Sagemaker, and Dataiku, as well as smaller operations like H2O.ai built on open source frameworks. The premise of Cnvrg is that it provides a user-friendly platform for data scientists so they can focus on creating algorithms and measuring how they work, not building or maintaining. maintain the foundation on which they run.
While Intel hasn’t talked much about the deal, it seems that some of the same logic behind last week’s acquisition of SigOpt applies here: Intel has been refocusing its business. around next-generation chips to better compete with Nvidia and smaller players like GraphCore. So it also makes sense to offer / invest in AI tools to customers, namely services to help load the computers they will run on those chips.
It’s worth noting that in our article on the free Core class last year, Frederic noted that cloud-based users could do so with Nvidia-optimized containers running on a single, Kubernetes cluster. It is not clear whether that will continue as that, or whether containers will be optimized instead for the Intel architecture or both. Other Cnvrg partners include Red Hat and NetApp.
Intel’s focus on the next generation of PCs was intended to offset the decline in its legacy operations. During the previous quarter, Intel reported a 3% drop in its revenue, leading to a drop in its data center business. They say they expect the AI silicon market to be larger than $ 25 billion by 2024, with the AI silicon in the data center going to be greater than $ 10 billion over that period.
In 2019, Intel reported around $ 3.8 billion in AI-generated revenue, but they expect tools like SigOpt to help drive more activity in that area of business, combined with promoting more AI applications in more business areas.