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Nigel Toon

Co-founder, Chairman and CEO at Graphcore

Graphcore ( is a silicon and systems company based in Bristol-UK, that has developed a new type of processor, the Intelligence Processing Unit (IPU), to accelerate machine learning and AI applications. Since its founding in 2016, Nigel has secured over $700m in funding for the company from some of the world’s leading venture capital and financial firms including Atomico, Baillie Gifford, Fidelity, Jupiter, OTPP, Schroders, and Sequoia Capital, from major corporations including BMW, Bosch, Dell, Microsoft and Samsung and from eminent Artificial Intelligence innovators. At the company’s last funding round Graphcore was valued at $2.8Bn.

Nigel has a background as a technology business leader, entrepreneur and engineer having been CEO at two successful VC-backed processor companies XMOS and Picochip (sold to Nasdaq:MSPD, now Intel), a founder of Icera (sold to Nasdaq:NVDA) and VP/GM at Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR, sold to Intel for $17Bn) where he spent over 13 years and was responsible for establishing and building the European business unit that he grew from zero to over $500m in annual revenues.


Nigel has an extensive network of connections in the global technology industry spanning USA, China, Asia and Europe. He is often called upon to speak at major industry events and has been recognized with numerous industry awards including, icon of the Year at the Barclays Entrepreneurs Awards and ranked #1 on Business Insiders 100 most influential people shaping British technology.

Nigel has served as a Board Member and Chairman at a number of technology businesses including as non-executive director and head of the technical advisory board at Imagination Technologies PLC, a FTSE LSE listed business, until its acquisition in 2017. He currently sits as a non-executive director on the main board of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body of the UK Government that directs research and innovation funding for the UK. On the UKRI board, he chairs the Organizational Change Committee. Nigel has also been a member of the UK Prime Ministers Business Council and has advised the UK

Government on innovation policy. Nigel is the author on 3 granted patents. He lives in Somerset, UK with his wife and two boys. He has recently written a book titled ‘How AI Thinks’ which is being published by Transworld/Penguin Random House.

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