In 2005, Ali Dixon, then a final-year student at the University of Bristol, founded fabless semiconductor company XMOS alongside former CEO of Oxford Semiconductor James Foster, former Inmos chief architect David May, Hitech Mehta of Acacia Capital Partners, and Noel Hurley. With seed funding from the University of Bristol enterprise fund and the Wyvern seed fund as well as Amadeus Capital Partners, DJF Espirit, and Foundation Capital, the startup set about developing processor technology for voice, microphone arrays, audio, LED tiles, communications, and robotics products, with the goal of commercializing low-cost and efficient chipsets for internet of things devices.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Bristol-based XMOS was in a place to make real progress, shortly after securing $15 million and spinning off its Graphcore division focused on server-side AI. The following three years…

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