Intel has acquired Israel-based artificial intelligence (AI) agency Habana Labs for around $2 billion, the chip manufacturer declared Monday, seeking to expand its AI portfolio to reinforce its data-center business.
Intel predicts the fast-growing AI chip market to surpass $25 billion by 2024, with its AI-driven revenues this year seen increasing 20% from 2018 to over $3.5 billion.
Intel has increasingly been relying on sales to data facilities as PC sales deteriorate.
Habana, an AI processor agency, was started in 2016 and had offices in Tel Aviv, San Jose, Beijing, and Gdansk, Poland. It has raised $120 million so far, along with $75 million in a funding round led by Intel Capital in 2018.
The acquisition follows a series of AI-related purchases by Intel in recent years, including Movidius, Nervana, Altera, and Mobileye.
Navin Shenoy, who manages Intel’s data facility group, said in an interview that each set of chips is engineered to solve a distinct problem, whether it’s helping cars drive themselves or training machine-learning algorithms in data facilities.
Shenoy stated Habana’s chips are aimed at so-called deep learning, a subset of machine learning, being carried out in data facilities.
Habana revealed its new Gaudi AI training processor in June that it said will offer faster processing speeds to stand similar offerings from Intel’s competitor Nvidia.
Nvidia beat Intel last March to buy Israeli chip manufacturer Mellanox for $6.9 billion, boosting its data facility chip business.
Habana will stay an independent business subsidiary led by its current team of administrators and report back to Intel’s data platforms group.
The agency will still be based in Israel, and its Chairman Avigdor Willenz will serve as a senior adviser to Intel, the businesses mentioned.