A new GamesBeat event is around the corner! Learn more about what comes next. 

(Reuters) — Three of Apple’s former top semiconductor executives in charge of iPhone chips have founded a startup to design processors for datacenters, aiming to take on current industry leaders Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

Nuvia was founded by Gerard Williams III, Manu Gulati, and John Bruno in early 2019 and is developing a processor code-named Phoenix. The company on Friday said it raised $53 million from Dell Technologies Capital and several Silicon Valley firms, which will help it expand from 60 employees to about 100 by the end of this year.

The company’s founders, backers, and plans have not been previously reported.

Williams left Apple this spring after more than nine years as chief architect for all Apple central processors and systems-on-a-chip. Gulati spent eight years at Apple working on mobile systems-on-a-chip, and Bruno spent five years in Apple’s platform architecture group. Gulati and Burno also worked for Alphabet’s Google before coming to Nuvia.

At Nuvia, the group’s goal is to take the lessons learned designing powerful chips for small, battery-powered devices such as iPhones and apply them to large, electricity-hungry datacenter servers. The founders aim to make a chip that is faster, more power-efficient, and more secure than existing datacenter processors, Williams told Reuters.

“We want to bring all these aspects that we have developed over time through our careers to this new market and really exploit them in this market, because it’s an area ripe for innovation and advancement,” Williams told Reuters in an interview.

Chip suppliers Qualcomm, Marvell Technology Group and Ampere Computing, a startup founded by Intel’s former president, are all also trying to take on Intel and AMD in the server market with chip technology previously used in mobile phones.

But Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategies, said Nuvia could prove a formidable new entrant based on its founding team’s track record. He said the team made “unprecedented” performance gains with each new generation of chips at Apple.

“I’ve been in and around semiconductor companies for 30 years. There are never any guarantees, but one thread that I’ve seen is that the most successful chip companies have rock star architects and developers,” Moorhead said.

Among Nuvia’s investors is Dell Technologies’ venture arm. Dell is one of Intel’s biggest customers. Scott Darling, president of the venture group and himself a veteran of Apple and Intel, said he could not comment on whether Dell will use Nuvia’s chips.

“The silicon industry is relentless. It pounds forward,” he told Reuters. “You have to have a world-class team to do something disruptive enough that it will prevail despite the response of competitors. At Nuvia, we think we have found one.”


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member