South Korean AI startup Rebellions aims to disrupt the AI chip market dominated by industry leader Nvidia. CEO Park Sunghyun revealed that within the next one to two years, Rebellions plans to identify specific applications where it can offer alternative AI chips to Nvidia's products. The startup's primary objective is to capture market share from Nvidia's A100 and L40 chips in the inference sector.

Rebellions CEO Park Sunghyun Image: TheElec
Rebellions CEO Park Sunghyun

Established in 2020, Rebellions currently employs around 90 individuals, with engineers comprising 90% of its workforce. Despite being a relatively young company of three years, Rebellions has already achieved an impressive feat by completing two tape outs. This process involves sending the chip design to a contract manufacturer, positioning Rebellions as a fabless chip company.

Rebellions' initial AI chip, named Atom, is scheduled for production next year. Designed for data centers, it will be supplied to South Korean carrier KT. Park acknowledged Nvidia's strategic segmentation of its AI chip portfolio to avoid cannibalization. Most companies face challenges in differentiating their high-end and low-end products, but Nvidia has successfully circumvented this issue.

Nvidia boasts a diverse range of products including the A100, H100, L4, L40, A2, A10, A16, A30, and A40, allowing customers to select the most suitable option for their specific applications. However, these chips are primarily designed for general purposes, leading to concerns regarding their high power consumption and cost.

Rebellions seeks to fill a gap in the low-power inference sector by offering efficient chips tailored for this specific use case, an area where major players like Nvidia might overlook opportunities. The startup is actively developing its upcoming server chip, Rebel. Park drew parallels between the current transition to AI semiconductors and the shift to electric vehicles, expecting a wave of AI chip startups challenging Nvidia's dominance in the near future.