Chiplet Connection Start-Up Eliyan Secures USD 40M in Funding

Highlight:

  • T Eliyan designed NuLink to be compatible with an emerging chip industry standard known as UCIe.
  • According to the startup, NuLink is much faster and uses less power than other technologies.

Eliyan Corp, a Santa Clara, CA-based semiconductor and chiplet interconnect firm, recently announced that it had closed a USD 40 million investment round.

Tracker Capital led the Series A round. Other firms such as Intel Capital and, Micron Ventures, Celesta Capital also took part.

Eliyan is creating a new technology, NuLink, that enables the construction of chiplet-based CPUs. These processors have a modular design that streamlines the manufacturing process and offers a variety of additional advantages.

The conventional method of producing a chip calls for integrating all chip elements onto a single silicon piece. However, in recent times, Intel Corp. and other players in the market have started using a different manufacturing process.

Rather than producing a processor at once, chipmakers are increasingly choosing to build a processor’s components separately and assemble them later.

Eliyan co-founder and CEO Ramin Farjadrad said, “Technology scaling using the conventional system on chip (SoC) architectures is hitting the wall, requiring a new approach in how we integrate and manufacture silicon.”

The modular processor manufacturing approach used by chipmakers is termed a chiplet architecture. It offers several benefits over conventional production techniques.

A manufacturing error can make the whole process unusable when a processor is built from a single piece of silicon. Manufacturing the processor’s parts individually with a technique based on chiplets minimizes the effects of manufacturing errors. If one of the parts of the processor develops an issue, the remaining can still be utilized.

The chiplet technology also simplifies manufacturing in other aspects. The technology enables one to assemble a processor from computing modules produced using several semiconductor fabrication techniques. With this, chip manufacturers enjoy greater flexibility in designing their products.

Eliyan’s core product, NuLink, is a chiplet interconnect. It can connect the chiplets or computing modules that make up a processor. According to the startup, NuLink is much faster and uses less power than other technologies.

Eliyan just taped out NuLink with the help of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd’s five-nanometer chip manufacturing process. A tapeout is one of the last quality breakthroughs in the product development cycle before a new chip technology is ready for mass production. Eliyan claims that NuLink’s five-nanometer iteration showed that the technology could deliver twice the bandwidth of rival interconnects while utilizing less than half the power.

According to the startup, NuLink eliminates the requirement for silicon interposers. A silicon interposer is a part that facilitates the transfer of data between computing devices, such as the various processor-building computing modules. By eliminating the technology, NuLink guarantees to streamline chip production and lower prices.

Eliyan developed NuLink to be compatible with a growing chip industry standard known as UCle. The March-released standard seeks to create a standardized set of technical best practices for chiplet interconnects. A group of leading IT companies, including Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Arm Ltd., Intel Corp., and others, are working together to build UCIe.

NuLink is expected to become generally accessible in the first quarter of 2023. Eliyan will use the funds raised to boost the startup’s commercialization ambitions.

Farjadrad said, “Our approach supports and is compliant with the overall industry move toward chiplet-optimized interconnect protocols, including the UCIe standard as well as High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) protocols. This financial investment by industry leaders and the successful implementation of our design in 5nm validates our strategy and prepares us for broader commercialization efforts.”