Kaspersky has invested tens of millions in Russian neuromorphic processors

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Kaspersky Lab became a shareholder of the Motiv NT startup, a developer of neuromorphic processors that mimic the work of the human brain. Such processors are more productive and more energy efficient than conventional CPUs. The share of “Laboratory” was 15%, the amount of the transaction is not disclosed by the parties. According to experts, it could amount to tens of millions of rubles.

Kaspersky Lab is interested in neuromorphic processors

Kaspersky Lab has acquired a 15% stake in the Russian company Motiv Neuromorphic Technologies (Motiv NT), RBC reported. This is a startup founded in 2017 and developing neuromorphic processors.

One of the developments of “Motive NT” is the neuromorphic processor “Altai”. Such processors got their name because they are able to imitate the work of the human brain. Due to this, they work faster than conventional processors and consume noticeably less energy. Target industries for neuromorphic processors are machine learning and artificial intelligence.

CNews wrote that “Altai” was the first such development in Russia.

Representatives of Kaspersky Lab could not answer the question of CNews about the amount of the transaction at the time of publication of the material. It is only known that the 15% share was formed from two equal parts – the company bought back 7.5% of the shares of Motiv NT from two co-founders of the company Valery Kanglera and Konstantin Panchenko.

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After the deal, Kangler and Panchenko ceased to be the largest shareholders of their company. Their shares were reduced to 27.5%. Another 30% of “Motive NT” is in the hands of the third co-founder of the startup – Mikhail Katomin.

Vice President of Advance Capital Artur Shubaev suggested in a conversation with RBC that the parties to the transaction valued 15% in Motive NT at “several tens of millions of rubles.” An unnamed representative of Kaspersky Lab emphasized that the terms of the partnership also included a clause on investments in the development of Motive NT.

The goals that Kaspersky Lab pursued when acquiring a stake in a startup remain unknown. Artur Shubaev suggests that this is due to “the demand for the development of high-tech products within the country.”

New acquisition of “Laboratory”

Motiv NT LLC was founded in early April 2017 in Moscow with an authorized capital of 12 thousand rubles. (statistics “Contour. focus”). She is a resident of the Skolkovo technopark and the Novosibirsk Academpark.

Until March 1, 2018, the three co-founders of the startup owned equal shares of the company (33.33%). From March 1, 2022, their shares decreased to 30% each, and the released 10% was received by Tiltech JSC. The authorized capital of the company has grown to 15 thousand rubles.

On April 28, 2022, she withdrew from Motiv NT shareholders, after which the shares of Valery Kangler and Konstantin Panchenko increased to 35%. Mikhail Katomin retained a 30% stake in the company.

The structure of shareholders “Motive NT”

The company has five types of activities, the main among which is “other scientific research and development in the field of natural and technical sciences” (OKVED code 72.19). The list also includes “manufacture of elements of electronic apparatus” (26.11), “manufacture of computers and peripheral equipment” (26.20), “manufacture of aircraft, including spacecraft, and related equipment” (30.30) and “development of computer software” (62.01) .

Over the five years of its existence, Motiv NT has never received a net profit based on the results of the calendar year. So, it ended 2021 with a net loss of 809 thousand rubles.

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When asked by CNews about the purpose of buying a stake in Motiv NT, representatives of Kaspersky Lab replied: “The acquisition of a stake in Motiv NT is a natural continuation of Kaspersky Lab’s many years of activity in developing products and technologies using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Research work on neuromorphic solutions based on impulse neural networks has been carried out in the company since 2013. Networks of this type are used in the Kaspersky MLAD solution, where they are used to process the flow of events from industrial and information systems.

The company also added that this acquisition is “a new milestone in the cooperation between the two companies, opening up the prospect of creating integrated hardware and software neuromorphic solutions that are characterized by high speed and energy efficiency.”

Longtime collaboration

At the time of publication of the material, it was not known whether Kaspersky Lab plans to increase its stake in the Motive NT startup. The CNews editors have sent a request to the company and are awaiting a response.

Meanwhile, it is known that the companies have been cooperating for at least two and a half years. The corresponding agreement, as reported by CNews, they signed at the end of December 2019.

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From that moment on, Motiv NT managed to release the first batch of Altai neuromorphic processors. As the director of the department of advanced technologies of Kaspersky Lab told RBC Andrey Duhvalovthe company also developed a set of programs for working with this processor, and also “experimentally confirmed the calculated characteristics of speed and energy efficiency.”

Future plans

Having released a pilot batch of its neuromorphic processors, Motiv NT began searching for customers interested in using them in their projects. The company is also working on the second generation of the processor, but the timing of its release has not yet been specified.

As expected, the processor demonstrates the highest energy efficiency – according to Andrey Dukhvalov, it consumes approximately 1000 times less energy compared to graphics accelerators. Such a comparison is not accidental – at present, it is GPUs that are used to process artificial intelligence algorithms.

Andrey Dukhvalov added that by purchasing a stake in Motiv NT, Kaspersky Lab will gain access to neuromorphic technologies in order to “form a global technological ecosystem of Kaspersky Lab.” This ecosystem will also include the KasperskyOS operating system, access to which was opened by Kaspersky Lab in November 2021, My Office software, and software to combat cyber threats.

In the future, the volume of Kaspersky Lab’s investments in Motive NT may increase. “Kaspersky Lab is interested in expanding access to neuromorphic technologies and does not exclude the possibility of additional investments in Motiv NT,” company representatives told CNews.




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