Nvidia’s Success Spurs AI Startup Revolution

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Nvidia’s Success Spurs AI Startup Revolution

For a fleeting moment, AI chip giant Nvidia held the title of the world’s biggest company. Its unprecedented success has sparked questions about whether new players can carve out their own piece of the artificial intelligence boom.

Nvidia, the go-to provider of processors for training generative AI’s large language models, has cemented its status in Big Tech. This market surge has also boosted the stock valuations of companies like Oracle, Broadcom, and HP, despite their mixed earnings.

As Nvidia celebrates, start-ups aiming for Silicon Valley’s venture capital are being urged to innovate—without a clear path forward in the AI landscape. Skepticism lingers over what opportunities remain for companies outside the realm of established AI model makers, such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI, Google, and Anthropic.

“I don’t think that there’s a great opportunity to start a foundational AI company at this point in time,” said Mike Myer, CEO of tech firm Quiq, at the Collision technology conference in Toronto.

Some start-ups have attempted to create applications leveraging the capabilities of existing AI models, but these efforts are often overshadowed by tech giants. Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla cautioned against such ventures, predicting they won’t stand the test of time.

Khosla, an early investor in OpenAI, singled out companies like Grammarly, which he believes merely add a superficial layer to AI models, labeling them as unsustainable.

However, the demand for specialized processors in AI presents a notable opportunity. Rebecca Parsons, CTO at Thoughtworks, highlighted the shift towards more specific chip designs to meet AI’s diverse needs. Groq, a rising star in the chip industry, focuses on AI deployment rather than training, a niche where Nvidia’s dominance is less assured.

“Nvidia and (its CEO) Jensen Huang are like Michael Jordan… the greatest of all time in basketball. But inference is baseball, and we try and forget the time where Michael Jordan tried to play baseball and wasn’t very good at it,” said Groq CEO Jonathan Ross.

Moreover, highly specialized AI applications based on proprietary data offer another promising avenue. Khosla noted that big players like OpenAI and Google are unlikely to develop niche products such as structural engineering tools or specialized healthcare applications.

Cohere, a start-up creating bespoke AI models for businesses wary of losing control, exemplifies this approach. “Enterprises are skeptical of technology, and they’re risk-averse, so we need to win their trust and prove that there’s a way to adopt this technology that’s reliable, trustworthy, and secure,” said Cohere CEO Aidan Gomez.

Gomez, who co-authored the influential paper “Attention Is All You Need” while at Google, has secured significant funding from Nvidia and Salesforce Ventures, pushing Cohere’s valuation into the billions.

Yasir Monon
Yasir Monon
Online Editor, Business Mirror

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