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CASE STUDY
Habana Labs, maker of specialized processors to power AI training and inference

Habana Labs develops processors and related disruptive solutions to shape the future of AI and deep-learning computing.

Background:

The rise machine learning and artificial intelligence has revealed a performance gap for the existing generation of computing processors; current datacenter chips simply can’t handle these new, more-demanding workloads. Recent Battery research found the total addressable market for datacenter AI hardware was around $12 billion in 2017 but was expected to grow to around $109 billion by 2025. This is a theme Battery has tracked closely and one that drove our investment in Habana Labs, an innovative company based in Israel that makes processors to support AI, including both an inference solution (its current Dali product) and a separate training solution (called Gaudi).

Habana was founded in 2016 by Avigdor Willenz, David Dahan and Ran Halutz, all veterans of fabless semiconductor companies. Israel-based Battery General Partner Scott Tobin built a relationship with Willenz, who previously sold his communications-chip company Galileo Technologies to Marvell Technology Group in 2001. Willenz was also involved with Annapurna Labs, an Israeli microelectronics company acquired by Amazon in 2015. The relationship forged by Tobin and the Battery team allowed Battery to invest in Habana’s Series B round in 2018.

Battery’s Impact:

Battery helped fuel Habana’s growth in a number of ways, including:

  • Introducing Habana to multiple web-scale and enterprise customers
  • Working with management on fundraising and M&A strategy
  • Assisting with go-to-market strategy and execution.

Outcome:

In December 2019, Intel announced it would acquire Habana for approximately $2 billion. This experience also cemented Battery’s relationship with Avigdor Willenz, and Battery subsequently made an investment in his next company, Xsight Labs.

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The presented case study investment was made in particular economic and market conditions. There can be no assurance that Battery Venture would elect, or be able, to exploit similar opportunities in a similar manner under similar or different economic and market conditions. More generally, there can be no assurances that the Battery vehicles will have comparable investment opportunities in the future. No assumptions should be made that any investments identified above were profitable. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or comparable to the portfolio company described in this case study. For a full list of all Battery Ventures investments, please click here.

Details
Focus area
Infrastructure Software
INVESTED
2018
STATUS
Acquired by Intel
Location
Caesarea, Israel
STAGE
Early
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