BOSTON – October 30, 2023 – zeroRISC today formally launched with $5 million in seed funding led by Cambridge Angels, a leading network of U.K. angel investors, including Hermann Hauser, director at Amadeus Capital Partners, and Pete Hutton, former Arm President of Product Groups, with participation by other private investors. Rajat Malhotra of Wren Capital and Pete Hutton co-led the deal on behalf of Cambridge Angels. The funding will be used to deliver the first commercial cloud security service for silicon built on the OpenTitan® open-source silicon root of trust (RoT) project. The company also announced that it joined the OpenTitan project.
Founded in April 2023 and comprised of original OpenTitan project team members from Google, including founder and CEO Dominic Rizzo, zeroRISC will provide a cloud security service for silicon that delivers transparency and trustworthiness for data centers and ICS/OT, IoT and edge devices. The zeroRISC platform is the only all-in-one, drop-in silicon, software and services solution that delivers trustworthy, cloud-based secure device management below the operating system while making secure ownership transfer straightforward. The company is working with multiple commercial integration partners, including Nuvoton.
OpenTitan is the world’s first open-source digital design for silicon RoT to include commercial-grade design verification, top-level testing and continuous integration (CI). The silicon RoT ensures that the hardware infrastructure and the software that runs on it remain in their intended, trustworthy state by verifying that the critical system components boot securely using only authorized and verifiable code. As the latest official member of the OpenTitan project, the zeroRISC team played a critical role in the first discrete silicon tapeout and is driving efforts to validate that first chip and bring it to commercial production.
“With cybersecurity liability shifting from end users to manufacturers, truly trustworthy security leveraging the OpenTitan drop-in design represents a massive commercial opportunity,” said Pete Hutton, zeroRISC investor. “The team at zeroRISC is unmatched and we immediately recognized its potential to significantly disrupt a highly proprietary industry. We look forward to supporting the team in realizing long-term success through commercial utility and broad adoption.”
With this funding, zeroRISC is focused on open-source development of production-quality discrete and integrated RoTs from OpenTitan ecosystem components, a proprietary integration kit for the integrated RoT, a secure-by-default and secure-by-design embedded operating system (OS), and a set of proprietary cloud-based services that tie into the secure OS and secure silicon designs. The first discrete open market chip from zeroRISC is hardened against physical attacks, supports post-quantum secure boot and has been designed from the beginning to meet commercially relevant certification guidelines.
“No system can be secure at the operating system level. The safest and most secure systems start with open secure silicon and provide assurances upon that trustworthy foundation,” said Dominic Rizzo, founder and CEO of zeroRISC. “Our mission is to advance the incredible work of the OpenTitan project by delivering a set of secure cloud-based services for device security and management built upon a transparent, trustworthy, secure silicon platform that makes secure transfer of ownership a reality. In doing so, we’re extending zero trust principles below the operating system and back into the supply chain.”
“As a leader in the market of secured computing, we see demand for silicon RoT solutions significantly increasing,” said Erez Naory, VP of Client and Security Products at Nuvoton. “While OpenTitan has proven itself as the most transparent silicon foundation, we believe the key to adoption, on top of Nuvoton’s robust and secure implementation, is value-multiplying software and services. We’re excited to partner with zeroRISC to deliver the first concrete demonstration of OpenTitan’s potential through a complete end-to-end solution to address today’s most complex security problems.”
About Cambridge Angels
Cambridge Angels is a group of more than 60 high-net-worth investors who have proven experience as successful entrepreneurs. Members invest in and mentor high-quality start-up and early-stage companies in Cambridge, London, Oxford and throughout the UK. Typical funding requirements that Cambridge Angels meet are in the range of £150k to £1.5m – although it is worth noting that several of our portfolio companies have raised significant follow-on funding from our Members and our venture capital partners over several funding rounds.
Built on the OpenTitan open-source silicon root of trust project, zeroRISC is the first commercial cloud security service for silicon that delivers transparency and reliability for data centers and ICS/OT, IoT and edge devices. The zeroRISC platform is the only all-in-one drop-in silicon, software and services solution that delivers trustworthy, cloud-based secure device management below the operating system, while making secure ownership transfer straightforward. Headquartered in Boston, MA, zeroRISC is backed by Cambridge Angels and is a member of the OpenTitan project.