Ahren Backs Machine Learning Pioneer, Graphcore

21 March, 2019

LONDON & BRISTOL, UK: Ahren today revealed its position in Graphcore.

Graphcore, developer of the world’s first intelligence processing unit (IPU), is in the sweet-spot of an Ahren portfolio company: a leading company of the future at the intersection of deep tech and deep science,with the potential to penetrate, and create, a very large market. Graphcore attacks the problem of making AI operations more efficient and faster, accelerating the advance of machine learning.

Ahren co-Founder and Science Partner, Zoubin Ghahramani, also Chief Scientist of Uber, has been an advisor to, and backer of, Graphcore for a number of years. Ahren is delighted to announce it also backed the company at their Series D financing, which saw Graphcore become a unicorn at a $1.7BN post-money valuation.

This new capital will enable Graphcore to rapidly scale the company and ramp up production. With its world-leading experts in machine learning and deep tech, Ahren is well placed to back Graphcore’s vast potential and mission of helping innovators create new breakthroughs in machine intelligence.

Zoubin Gharahmani, Ahren Founding Science Partner, said “The machine learning hardware market is ripe for disruption, with speed, compute, and memory being bottlenecks to progress in machine learning and AI applications. Graphcore’s technology is truly impressive and the potential for the company is great.”

Nigel Toon, Graphcore CEO, said “This new, fast growing market creates the opportunity for Graphcore to build a major global technology company that can help innovators in AI achieve important breakthroughs. It is valuable for us to have the backing of a group such as Ahren with rare, deep expertise in the space. We are happy to have Ahren along with us for our journey.”

Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Ahren Founding and Managing Partner, said “Graphcore has a clear edge with an intelligent microprocessor that does both training and inference on the chip. We have been immensely impressed by the Graphcore management team and support their vision and ambition in the space. We are delighted to see them achieve Unicorn status and expect them to go from strength to strength.”

About Graphcore

Graphcore’s Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU) hardware and software lets innovators create next generation machine intelligence solutions. The IPU is the first processor to be designed specifically for Machine Intelligence and delivers between 10x to 100x speed up compared to today’s hardware. Graphcore has raised over $300m in funding from leading financial and strategic investors and is headquartered in Bristol UK, with offices in London UK, Oslo Norway, Palo Alto USA and Beijing China.

About Ahren LP

Ahren LP is an investment institution that supports transformational companies at the intersection of deep tech and deep science that will penetrate, or create, massive markets. Ahren is a unique partnership of investment talent and best-in-class commercial scientists whose technologies are today valued in excess of $100BN combined.

Ahren believes in taking asymmetric, considered, risk that will deliver superior rewards – capturing a generational opportunity to provide smart capital to deep technology.

With a philosophy espousing the importance of relationships and trust, Ahren provides both patient and active capital to exceptional founders and teams, empowering them to succeed.

Ahren’s Founding Partners include:

Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Founder & CEO, formerly an investor at TPG Capital and Lansdowne Partners, Double First Class degree in Mathematics and Master’s in Maths & Physics from the University of Cambridge; Fulbright and Baker Scholar at Harvard Business School.

Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, principal inventor of the leading next generation human genome sequencing technology core to all Illumina sequencing platforms, estimated worth >$30BN.

Professor John Daugman, Head of Artificial Intelligence Group of Cambridge University, inventor of IRIS (eye) recognition technology used to register 1.5BN citizens worldwide.

Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, world leader in machine learning, co-founder of Geometric Intelligence, sold to Uber for an undisclosed amount.

Professor Steve Jackson, founder/co-founder of three companies and originator of Olaparib/Lynparza, recently partnered by AstraZeneca with Merck and valued as an asset at up to $17BN.

Professor Andy Parker, CERN leader, Head of the Cavendish Laboratory (Physics Department) of Cambridge University.

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, Nobel prize laureate and President of the Royal Society, the UK’s premier science body.

Lord Martin Rees, world-renowned astrophysicist, Astronomer Royal, founder of CSER, former President of the Royal Society and former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Sir Gregory Winter, 2018 Nobel laureate, inventor of technology leading to Humira ($18BN sales in 2017, the world’s greatest grossing drug) and founder of three companies. Master of Trinity College, Cambridge University.


This press release does not constitute an offer of interests in any Ahren fund. Any offer of an Ahren fund will be made through separate offering documents and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. This press release may contain forward looking statements. These statements include, but are not limited to, discussions related to Ahren’s expectations regarding the performance of its business, its liquidity and capital resources and the other statements contained herein. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs, as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to, management. When used in this press release, the words “believe,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Although management believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct. These statements are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Ahren gives no undertaking or assumes any obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

Ahren believes that selected case studies should be considered as a reflection of Ahren’s investment process, and references to these particular portfolio companies should not be considered as recommendations of any particular security, investment or portfolio company. The information provided about these portfolio companies is intended to be illustrative, and is not intended to be used as an indication of the current or future performance of the portfolio companies of the fund that Ahren manages.

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