the investment amounts of Nvidia’s competitors in startup companies.

Nvidia’s chief rivals in the AI chip space — AMD, Arm and Intel — have been investing aggressively in startups, too, looking to make up ground in markets inclusive of the especially frothy generative AI segment. IntelOf Nvidia’s competitors, Intel far and away has the biggest startup investment operation thanks to Intel Capital, its long-running VC. Curiously, AI startups — despite their strategic importance to the chip industry these days — make up a relatively small portion of Intel’s venture portfolio. According to Crunchbase, Intel’s holdings in software, IT and enterprise SaaS companies far outnumber its AI startup holdings by deal volume. AMDLike Intel and Arm, AMD invests in startups both directly and through a VC org, AMD Ventures.

Over the past couple of years, Nvidia, by far the largest AI chipmaker, has ramped up its investments in startups that propel it deeper into the AI space. According to S&P Global and Crunchbase, the funding and investment database, Nvidia’s startup investments jumped 280% year-over-year from 2022 to 2023, with the company and its VC arm, Nvidia Ventures, participating in approximately 46 deals last year.

It’s not the only one. Nvidia’s chief rivals in the AI chip space – AMD, Arm and Intel – have been investing aggressively in startups as well, in an effort to make up ground in markets, including the particularly hot generative AI segment.

We at TechCrunch were curious to see how the investments stacked up between the top AI chipmakers – Nvidia, AMD, Arm, and Intel. So we delved into Crunchbase data, with a focus on recent activity from each chipmaker and their VC divisions.


Of Nvidia’s competitors, Intel has by far the biggest startup investment operation, thanks to Intel Capital, its long-running VC arm. In 2023, Intel Capital allocated over $350 million towards its investments, which includes AI21 Labs, a rival of OpenAI, Twelve Labs, a threat-hunting platform,, an app delivery network, and TuMeke, a workplace safety company.

While Crunchbase data isn’t exhaustive, it does show that Intel Capital participated in 32 startup deals in 2023, a decrease from 47 in 2022. Additionally, Intel directly invested in four startups last year (including Aleph Alpha, a GenAI vendor and Hugging Face), and just one in 2022 (Vanguard Semiconductor), according to Crunchbase. This brings its total number of deals to 36 in 2023 and 48 in 2022.

Curiously, although AI startups are increasingly important to the chip industry, they only make up a small portion of Intel’s venture portfolio. According to Crunchbase, Intel’s holdings in software, IT, and enterprise SaaS companies are significantly higher than its investments in AI startups.

This could change as Intel looks to launch new software products and services, including products powered by GenAI, that make its hardware more attractive for a range of AI applications. In fact, in January, Intel spun out Articul8 AI, a company that specializes in building GenAI solutions that run on Intel chips, catering to enterprises in industries such as aerospace, financial services, telecommunications, and semiconductors.


Although Arm may not be as active as an AI startup investor as Intel, the company, which primarily generates its revenue from licensing chipsets to customers, has made several direct investments as well as investments through Deeptech Labs, a VC fund and accelerator co-founded by Arm, the University of Cambridge, Cambridge Innovation Capital, and Martlet Capital.

Last year, Arm made four direct investments (in SiPearl, a microprocessor venture, Kigen, an eSIM security company, Raspberry Pi and the Raspberry Pi Foundation) and six investments through Deeptech Labs, which included companies such as Nu Quantum (a quantum networking startup), RoboK (a 3D sensing tech company), and Perceptual Robotics (a provider of automated wind turbine inspection tech).

Overall, Arm invested in 10 startups in 2023, a significant increase from 2022, when the company only invested in four companies – one direct investment in Arduino (an open source hardware startup) and three investments through Deeptech Labs (in Waku Robotics, Xapien, and SonicEdge).

It can be assumed that Arm’s future investments will be more explicitly focused on AI, given that the company’s sales of both its data center and consumer AI chips are expected to significantly increase this year.


Like Intel and Arm, AMD invests in startups both directly and through its corporate VC division, AMD Ventures. However, in the case of AMD, these investments have been relatively infrequent.

For example, last year, AMD Ventures only made one investment – participating in the Series A for Ethernovia, a startup that is developing a range of ethernet chips and software. The year before, AMD Ventures invested in Radian Arc, a platform that offers infrastructure-as-a-service for cloud gaming and AI – and no other companies.

Interestingly, AMD’s direct investments outnumbered its corporate VC investments, at least in 2023. That year, AMD invested in Essential AI (a company that focuses on pioneering AI-powered software automation), Moreh (a company that creates tools to optimize AI models), and Hugging Face, alongside Intel and Nvidia.

While AMD’s total number of deals in 2023 amounted to just four – on the conservative side compared to its rivals – it is expected that 2024 will be a different story. AMD has stated that it plans to significantly increase its investment activity in the coming year, with a goal to reach double-digit investment levels. The company intends to focus on the AI ecosystem, including platforms, generative model companies, and AI infrastructure offerings.

Additionally, 2024 will be a pivotal year for AMD, as it ramps up production of its MI300 AI chip, designed to handle AI workloads in data centers, and launches its Ryzen 8040, a mobile processor with AI acceleration capabilities specifically designed for laptops.

By the Numbers

So while it’s true that Nvidia is not the only chipmaker investing in early ventures, it does appear to be outpacing the competition. In just the first three quarters of 2023, Nvidia funneled nearly a billion dollars into “non-affiliated” companies, as reported by S&P Global – a figure that even Intel Capital struggled to match.

Success in the AI chipmaking industry does not necessarily require a robust startup ecosystem. However, it is clear that Nvidia, one of the world’s most valuable companies with control of approximately 95% of the AI chip market, is in it for the long haul – using its financial influence to solidify its dominance. It seems that its rivals certainly have their work cut out for them.

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Zara Khan

Zara Khan is a seasoned investigative journalist with a focus on social justice issues. She has won numerous awards for her groundbreaking reporting and has a reputation for fearlessly exposing wrongdoing.

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