Word on the virtual street is that Wave Computing is closing down. The company has reportedly let all employees go and will file for Chapter 11. As one of the many promising new companies in the field of AI, Wave Computing was founded in 2008 with the mission “to revolutionize deep learning with real-time AI solutions that scale from the edge to the datacenter.” Classified as a late stage venture, the company was founded by Dado Banatao and Pete Foley. Mr. Banatao serves as chairman of Wave Computing and is also a managing partner at Tallwood Venture Capital. Sanjai Kohli is the current CEO. Mr Kohli took the helm at Wave Computing in September 2019 from Art Swift, who held the position for only four months. The story was reported in EE Times here.
The story speculated that there were performance issues with Wave’s AI dataflow processor. Did that contribute to their early exit? At present, the reasons for their exit are speculative. Wave Computing offered a broad product line. Billed as a “scalable, unified, AI platform,” Wave Computing utilized MIPS processors to offer dataflow processing technology that scaled “from the edge to the datacenter.”
To make things more interesting, MIPS Technologies is owned by Wave Computing, who acquired it from Tallwood MIPS Inc., a company indirectly owned by Tallwood Venture Capital. What now happens to MIPS?
In December of 2018 Wave announced the MIPS Open Initiative to expand adoption of MIPS via open (free) licensing only to close it one year later:
“Wave Computing, Inc. and its subsidiaries (‘Wave’) regretfully announce the closing of the MIPS Open Initiative (‘MIPS Open’), and hereby give Notice of the same effective November 14, 2019 (‘Effective Date’),” the company’s brief email to registered MIPS Open users reads. “Effective immediately, Wave will no longer be offering free downloads of MIPS Open components, including the MIPS architecture, cores, tools, IDE, simulators, FPGA packages, and/or any software code or computer hardware related thereto, licensed under any of the (i) MIPS Open Architecture License Agreement (ver. 1.0), (ii) MIPS Open Core License Agreement ver. 1.0 For the microAptiv UC Core, (iii) MIPS Open Core License Agreement ver. 1.0 For the microAptiv UP Core, and/or (iv) MIPS Open FPGA License Agreement ver. 1.0 (collectively, ‘MIPS Open Components’. In addition, all MIPS Open accounts will be closed as of the Effective Date.”
Was Wave trying to do too much at once? Is narrower focus a better strategy in the emerging AI market? Again, speculation that will likely be brought into focus in the coming days and weeks. Did the current pandemic play a role? I believe those stories are yet to be told, it is likely too early for that.
The AI and deep learning market is exploding with many new companies offering novel approaches. Any new market typically experiences this growth, followed by a consolidation phase. Does the news from Wave Computing signal we are already entering the consolidation phase? Time will tell.
About Wave Computing
Wave Computing, Inc. is revolutionizing artificial intelligence (AI) with its dataflow-based solutions. The company’s vision is to bring deep learning to customers’ data wherever it may be—from the datacenter to the edge—helping accelerate time-to-insight. Wave Computing is powering the next generation of AI by combining its dataflow architecture with its MIPS embedded RISC multithreaded CPU cores and IP. More information about Wave Computing can be found at https://wavecomp.ai.