We’ve Got $100,000 for the Right GPU-Powered Startup

by Alain Tiquet

The welcome mat’s out.

We’re looking for a dozen would-be competitors for the Early Stage Challenge – where hot young startups using GPUs vie for a single $100,000 on-the-spot prize.

Here’s how it works: CEOs get four minutes to pitch their company to a panel of venture capitalists, and then another four minutes to handle questions. The VCs, together with the audience, immediately choose a winner. To raucous applause, the beaming CEO lopes back on stage to an outsized $100,000 check.

It will all take place in a furious two hours at our sixth annual GPU Technology Conference, on March 17-20, in Silicon Valley, which last year drew some 3,400 attendees from 40-plus countries.

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Winning our Early Stage Challenge helped GPU-powered startup Map-D bring interactivity to big data in vivid ways.

Last year’s winner, Map-D, will be a tough act to follow. The San Francisco-based startup uses a high-speed GPU in-memory database to bring interactivity to big data in vivid ways. It can, for example, process billions of tweets in just a few milliseconds and provide real-time visual analysis of the data.

Winning the Early Stage Challenge helped create momentum for it to launch and close its first round of funding of $1.5 million from NVIDIA, Google Ventures, and a number of angel investors.

“The Early Stage Challenge helped us turn the corner in terms of visibility and external credibility,” said Todd Mostak, co-founder of Map-D, which is using the new funds to develop the first release of the Map-D big-data analytics and visualization platform. “It was a bit nerve wracking but a great experience for us.”

Map-D isn’t the first startup to get a huge boost from participating at GTC. More than a dozen of those featured have gone on to be acquired – or to grow their business exponentially.

The list includes Oculus Rift (from our 2013 event), acquired by Facebook for $2 billion; Gaikai (our 2012 event), acquired by Sony for $380 million; and Natural Motion (our 2008 event), which was acquired by Zynga for $527 million.

Considering applying? We’re looking for seed-funded companies, which have raised no more than $1 million and use GPU technologies in such areas as computing, visualization, analytics, entertainment, automotive, cloud or mobile

To apply, complete the form here.