Nuvia, founded by ex-Apple execs, raises $240 mln for data center chips

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Nuvia, a startup founded by three former Apple Inc executives in charge of iPhone chips, said Thursday it raised $240 million in a funding round led by a venture capital firm co-founded by early Facebook Inc investor Peter Thiel.

The Santa Clara, California firm was established last year to design a data center processor chip that is faster and more power-efficient than current offerings, tapping the team’s experience building powerful chips for battery-powered devices.

Nuvia is targeting customers that run massive data centers and primarily use chips from Intel Corp and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Executives said the funding will help Nuvia finish development of its chips, the first of which they expect to reach customers by 2022.

The company has not disclosed prospective customers. It has said it is working with Dell Technologies Inc, whose venture capital unit has also invested in the firm.

The funding round, which brings Nuvia’s capital raised to date to $293 million, was led by Mithril Capital, co-founded by Facebook board member Thiel. Facebook is one of the world’s biggest buyers of data center chips.

Nuvia declined to say whether Thiel or anyone else from Mithril would join its board in connection with the round. Mithril did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nuvia is one of several firms developing server chips with technology from SoftBank Group Corp’s Arm Ltd, which Nvidia Corp has agreed to buy for $40 billion.

Chief Executive Gerard Williams III said Nuvia’s products will continue to use Arm technology but that the firm is evaluating options such as RISC-V, an open-source rival to Arm.

“Like any prudent company out there, we’re always exploring other architectures,” Williams said in an interview. RISC-V has “what I would call some growing up to do yet, but it’s something to definitely pay attention to.” (Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Christopher Cushing)