GTC’s Emerging Companies Summit (ECS) this week showcased nearly three dozen startups from around the world using GPUs to disrupt markets and delight customers. After a day of machine-gun style back-to-back mini-presentations, the event was capped by the announcement of five “One to Watch” awards. Winners raked in more than $20,000 in prizes each.

Presenting companies spanned a range of industries – from BioDigital, which is using 3D visualization of the human body to transform how medical information is communicated, to Zoobe, which lets people quickly share personalized, voice-animated video messages.

The ECS judging panel

The companies shared a resolve to solve hard problems with sophisticated offerings, in many cases with NVIDIA GPUs. Cortexica Vision Systems’ GPU-based platform may put an end to the crossword puzzle-like QR codes using a new type of visual search. Fuzzy Logix aims to make the use of analytics pervasive by embedding it directly into business processes where data already resides.

Cloud computing emerged as a new theme of the event, now in its fourth year. Jeff Herbst, who runs the event for NVIDIA, said ECS’s goal is to build a support network for promising companies, so they can learn from others and be inspired by a wider group of potential customers, partners and investors.

Among the presenting companies were: Rocketick, which is harnessing GPUs to help semiconductor companies to accelerate the chip verification process; Unity Technologies, which makes it simple for anyone to construct their own games full of vivid 3D experiences; and MirriAd, which uses NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to place products in video content, such as TV shows and movies, that are tailored for local audiences and then analyzed for impact.

Winners of the “One to Watch” awards, in addition to BioDigital and Unity Technologies, were:

  • Elemental Technologies, which provides processing technology that uses GPUs to quickly optimize video and stream it over IP networks
  • Numira Biosciences, which is working to accelerate the drug development pipeline for pharmaceutical companies by shortening compound discovery and pre-clinical testing processes
  • Splashtop, which is a provider of a highly rated remote desktop app that streams a PC or Mac to a smartphone with smooth, high-resolution video and audio.