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Index Ventures leads the AI ​​GPU race


Founders’ Desperation for Secure Computing Energy for AI Startups

Earlier this week, The New York Instances highlighted the challenges founders of AI startups face as they attempt to safe computing energy for his or her firms. Demand for graphics rendering fashions (GPUs), important to the development of AI, has skyrocketed. Large firms and even rich nations are racing to take over GPUs, leaving many founders decided to get in. The state of affairs led a founder to check GPUs to uncommon earth metals.

The hunt for GPUs

In response to the New York Instances article, the founders are utilizing a number of measures to purchase GPUs, together with calling favors with companions of main pc distributors and exploring a shadowy US authorities program referred to as Entrada. Index Ventures, a worldwide finance firm, has adopted a selected method. They took care of Oracle to supply their portfolio firms the specified chips. This partnership goals to stop your startups from being hampered by GPU shortages.

A dialogue with Erin Value-Wright

To seek out out extra about this partnership, we spoke to Erin Value-Wright, an affiliate at Index Ventures who focuses on enterprise software program and synthetic intelligence. Value-Wright joined the corporate in 2019 after serving as a lead product for Palantir’s machine analytics and information analytics platform. The following excerpts from our dialogue make clear the challenges going through AI startups and the way the partnership with Oracle seeks to handle them.

The issue of entry to computing power

: Inform us about this partnership with Oracle.

Erin Value-Wright: Coming into the pc trade might be one of many largest challenges going through AI firms, particularly for early-stage startups. The issue shouldn’t solely be with the value, but additionally with the shortage of GPU capabilities. Greater than 95% of GPU capability is already allotted to massive in-house avid gamers who’ve pre-committed to cloud distributors. This leaves early-stage firms with few selections to safe GPUs and start their teaching or mannequin tuning. The wait time between when GPUs turn out to be out there and when new firms can entry them can vary from a number of months to a yr. This lag makes it tough for early-stage firms, but to know their product and workload wants, to get began. By partnering with Oracle, we purpose to take away this barrier to entry and allow our portfolio firms to handle their core aims from day one.

The intention of the affiliation

: What’s the long-term purpose of supplying GPUs by way of this partnership?

Erin Value-Wright: Our purpose is to assist these firms transition to managing their very own GPU clusters. Whereas we’re not introducing large GPU clusters, we do wish to give our startups a head begin in constructing their AI capabilities. By eradicating preliminary hurdles to computing power, we stage participation within the topic and permit our founders to deal with growing their merchandise and selections.

The origins of the negotiation

: How did the partnership with Oracle come about?

Erin Value-Wright: We have seen a case amongst early-stage AI firms the place they needed to fluctuate their enterprise fashions or fundraising methods simply to realize entry to GPUs. We realized that as a fund, Index Ventures had a brand new space of ​​focus and leverage to handle this subject. We may pool demand from a variety of firms and use {{{our relationships}}} and {the market} to ship worth to our founders. The partnership with Oracle was born from this recognition.

Constructing financing and liaising with Oracle

: How does development finance work on this partnership? Is it a singular relationship?

Erin Value-Wright: We do not purchase chips on the fly. As a substitute, Index Ventures pre-pledges on behalf of our startups and covers the cloud invoice. Oracle manages the GPU cluster and our portfolio firms have full entry to it without charge. This partnership permits us to pay the cloud invoice upfront. So far as exclusivity is worried, there isn’t any distinctive relationship with Oracle. Fully completely different company companies could uncover associated partnerships. The benefit for Oracle is the flexibility to companion with promising early-stage firms and construct relationships with them.

The that means of connections and sources

: How does Index Ventures assist its portfolio firms break down GPUs?

Erin Value-Wright: We anticipate to hyperlink our portfolio firms with the appropriate sources on the proper time. It consists of introducing them to companions and related patrons. For instance, Cohere, positively certainly one of our portfolio firms, has each Oracle and Nvidia as sponsors. We attempt to facilitate these connections to confirm that our founders have the help and sources they need to achieve success.

One of the simplest ways to put money into synthetic intelligence

a settling interval

: Are we seeing Generative AI overfunded or is it nonetheless the principle supply of progress?

Erin Value-Wright: We’re nonetheless within the early halves. Nonetheless, we anticipate a cooling vary in investor sentiment, significantly for giant funding rounds and conventional enterprise capitalists. There’s nonetheless an enormous hole between the promise and profitable use of AI know-how beneath varied enterprise utilization circumstances. Closing this infrastructure hole will take time, and we’re relying on firms to prioritize utilization circumstances, analyze ROI, and begin constructing clever features past prototyping. This era of exploration and progress will pave the best way for the infrastructure wanted to help AI at scale.

: How do you handle the adversaries between the various firms in your AI portfolio?

Erin Value-Wright: We cope with adversaries inside the home of AI the identical manner we cope with them in lots of industries. Whereas AI is generally seen as a category of its personal, we predict ultimately each software program program may have AI as a core element. It can’t be seen as a separate entity. Since not all SaaS firms are created equal, AI firms can have distinctive strengths and variations. Our purpose is to make sure that our portfolio firms have the important sources, connections and steerage to thrive on this altering panorama.


The shortage of GPU computing energy poses main challenges for AI startup founders. Nonetheless, partnerships like Index Ventures and Oracle present a lifeline for early-stage firms. By granting entry to GPUs and minimizing roadblocks, these partnerships allow founders to handle their core objectives and speed up the occasion of AI selections. Because the AI ​​commerce continues to evolve, discovering progressive methods to help startups and shut infrastructure gaps is probably going changing into vital to drive development and innovation.

Frequent questions

1. What’s the significance of GPUs within the development of AI?

GPUs, or graphics rendering fashions, play an important position in teaching and optimizing AI fashions. These high-performance processors are important to deal with the superior computations required by AI algorithms.

2. Why are founders stopping you from securing cyber power for his or her AI startups?

Demand for GPUs has elevated, with main firms and nations racing to produce them. This leaves early-stage startups with restricted entry, as a lot of the GPU energy is already allotted to the largest avid avid gamers. The shortage of GPUs and the lengthy wait time it takes to stockpile them creates main hurdles for founders.

3. How does the partnership between Index Ventures and Oracle deal with GPU shortage?

Index Ventures has partnered with Oracle to provide GPUs for its first portfolio firms. By pre-commitment and bill masking inside the cloud, Index Ventures permits startups entry to GPU clusters managed by Oracle. This partnership lowers the barrier to entry for founders, enabling them to deal with their AI progress from day one.

4. Can utterly completely different enterprise firms replicate the partnership with Oracle?

Constructive, a number of enterprise firms could uncover associated partnerships with Oracle or different cloud distributors. The purpose is to assist early-stage firms set up relationships with cloud distributors and ultimately signal their very own cloud vendor contracts.

5. How does Index Ventures assist its AI portfolio firms break up GPUs?

Index Ventures leverages its proximity and relationships to attach portfolio firms with related sources, companions and patrons. By facilitating these connections, Index Ventures goals to supply ongoing help and steerage to its founders.

6. Are we seeing overinvestment in Generative AI?

Whereas there was very vital funding in Generative AI, we’re nonetheless within the early phases of progress. Nonetheless, there could also be rising recognition that bridging the infrastructure hole and demonstrating clever use circumstances are important steps to the widespread adoption and use of AI expertise.

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