European VCs Rescue Mythic; Fick Becomes CEO

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Dave Fick (Source: Mythic)

AI chip startup Mythic, which underwent a radical restructure and downsizing in November after reportedly “running out of runway with investors”, according to a LinkedIn post by Ty Garibay, former VP of engineering at Mythic, has announced a $13 million investment from existing and new investors. Co-founder Dave Fick has moved into the CEO position; he was previously CTO. Former CEO Mike Henry has left the business, the company told the press today.

Mythic’s technology is based on analog compute-in-memory technology, using an array of Flash transistors. The idea is to use the Flash transistors as variable resistors in an analog computing scheme, which requires driving the transistors at 265 sub-threshold levels (for 8-bit compute). This requires significant calibration and compensation schemes, which is where a large part of Mythic’s secret sauce is. Analog compute is appealing since it can offer very low power, fast computation for matrix multiplication in AI inference at the edge.

The company previously released two products, the M1108 and the M1076. The M1076 is a 25 TOPS (INT8) edge chip with a power envelope of 3 W, designed for video analytics. Latency for YOLOv5 was 33 ms. At the time of launch, Mythic told EE Times that the M1076 was getting traction in video surveillance, industrial machine vision, drones and AR/VR applications.

“Mythic has already seen strong demand for the M1076, so we’re confident that our next-generation processor will be widely adopted in computer vision applications like smart robots, security cameras, drones, and AR headsets,” Mythic’s CEO Dave Fick said in prepared remarks released today. “The potential for analog computing is truly limitless.”

Mythic also said today that the M1076 had been shipping to customers, including Lockheed Martin.

Mythic M1076
Mythic’s second product, the M1076, on an M.2 card (Source: Mythic)

“At Lockheed Martin Ventures, we want to take smart risks by investing in advanced computing capabilities that our customers can adopt and expand to outpace complex threats within a rapidly evolving landscape,” Chris Moran, VP and general manager of Lockheed Martin Ventures, said in prepared remarks. “As geopolitical tensions continue to rise, it is imperative that we continue to work with our customers in identifying their needs and supporting companies that can scale technologies that keep the U.S. and its allies in front of those threats.”

Fick plans to bring to market a next-gen product, the M2000. While details are scarce so far, Mythic has said the M2000 will build on the legacy of its first-gen products and it is planned for production next year. Fick has restructured the company and plans to remain capital efficient by keeping development in-house with a “tight-knit team,” according to the company.

Mythic was founded in 2012 by Fick and Henry as a spin out of the University of Michigan.

Mythic previously raised $165.2 million. Today’s $13 million round of investment came from existing investors Atreides Management, DCVC and Lux Capital, plus the British VC firm Catapult Ventures and the Austrian firm Hermann Hauser Investment.

CORRECTION: This article was changed to add context to events that took place in November.

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