BrainChip Holdings (ASX:BRN) Akida development agreement

Interviews

by Katrina Bullock

BrainChip Holdings Limited (ASX:BRN) President & CEO Louis DiNardo provides an update on collaboration and partnerships for the company's AI chip, Akida.

Katrina Bullock:
Hello, Katrina Bullock for the Finance News Network. Joining me today from BrainChip Holdings is President and CEO Lou DiNardo. Lou, welcome back.

Lou DiNardo: Good morning. It's a pleasure to be here.

Katrina Bullock: Now, BrainChip is a global technology company producing a ground-breaking chip with AI capabilities. Could you tell us more?

Lou DiNardo: Certainly. BrainChip's developing a neuromorphic processor, which is a completely different architecture from what's historically been considered compute. The device is called Akida, and we really address a wide variety of applications targeted primarily at the far edge devices, surveillance cameras, automobiles, devices at the edge, not in the cloud, not in the data centre.

Katrina Bullock: Thanks, Lou. Now, BrainChip's recently announced collaborations and partnership agreements for that Akida chip. Could you tell us more about those, starting with VORAGO Technologies?

Lou DiNardo: Sure. VORAGO is an interesting company. They take existing designs such as we have with Akida and they radiation harden them so they're fit for space flight and aerospace applications. They work closely with NASA, and in turn, we will work closely with NASA. So it's an exciting opportunity for us to get Akida into spacecraft and into space.
 
That agreement exercises our early access program. As Akida is now in test and ready to deliver shortly to customers on the early access program, they'll have access to both the devices, evaluation boards, as well as dedicated support.

Katrina Bullock: Can you tell us about your venture with Magik Eye, Incorporated?

Lou DiNardo: Yes. Magik Eye is an interesting company. They have a proprietary technology to do what's called 3D point cloud. Primarily, people expect 3D point cloud to be used in LiDAR applications for automotive, their driver assistance systems, as well as autonomous vehicles.

This opportunity with Magik Eye, they use an off-the-shelf CMOS sensor, and use some proprietary technology. They're coupling that with Akida to do everything from video gaming to automobiles. They open up or are a gateway for us into the Japanese market. They're a well-known entity in Japan. So we're looking forward to working with them and very excited about the applications that they serve.

Katrina Bullock: The Akida Chip has been available for testing as a software development kit for some time now. What difference do you think it makes having the physical chip?

Lou DiNardo: It's very significant. There's a lot of noise in the marketplace around artificial intelligence. You read the newspaper every day, everybody's claiming to be in artificial intelligence. We have a full simulation package and customers or potential customers have been working with that for many months, but having silicon validation, where they can see it working in hardware, makes a big difference. It helps build confidence.

Katrina Bullock: Now to finances and your share price, which has been on a bullish run of late. Could you provide an update on your funding agreement with the LDA Capital?

Lou DiNardo: Yes, again, you're right. The share price has taken a very nice step up. If you'd look back just a few months ago, we were in single digits, and yesterday, we tipped well over 50 cents a share, so give or take a thousand percent increase in a few months. So we have a loyal Australian shareholder base. They're building confidence in the company and they demonstrate that with the demand for our equity.

The agreement we have with a US-based investor, LDA, is it gives us access to 29 million Aussie dollars. But as a put option, it's at our discretion when and if we choose to put the shares, we can raise the capital. So it's very flexible and somewhat favorable to the company, which is very nice.

Katrina Bullock: And Lou, shareholders would no doubt be thrilled with the share price over recent months. Where is the stock sitting today, and what value does that put on the company?

Lou DiNardo: Your market is just open, so I haven't checked yet this morning since I've been on with you. Yesterday, we had a very nice ride. I think we, for the height of the day, was 59 cents Aussie. I think we closed at 50, and again, well up from single digits just several months ago.

Katrina Bullock: Lou, what's ahead for the next couple of quarters?

Lou DiNardo: The next couple of quarters, as we finish out this year, we will go through the validation process of each of the functional blocks on the IC, manufacture the evaluation boards, get them in the hands of customers. As we get into the first and second quarter of next year, that'll be reduced to practice, hopefully by our customers as we expect. And we'll start to see things go into end equipment, where they'll do their testing and validation of the entire system.

Katrina Bullock: Lou, before we let you go, anything else you'd like to add?

Lou DiNardo: You asked some very good questions. I think it's an extremely exciting time for BrainChip. We've worked for the better part of four or five years in developing and designing this integrated circuit. As an engineering team, a management team, sales and marketing, it really is rewarding to have silicon in hand and be able to deliver that to customers.

Katrina Bullock: Lou DiNardo, thanks for the update and congratulations again on the progress and the market's response.

Lou DiNardo: Thank you very much.


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