We’re Helping Entrepreneurs Like You Get Money, Get GPUs, and Get Going – Here’s How

by Alain Tiquet

With a new baby, a new product launch months away and a funding round in the works, MapD’s Todd Mostak has been a busy man.

The company’s 32-year-old co-founder and CEO won our first Early Stage Challenge last year with an idea that has caused a sensation in the GPU community. He and his team have taken the parallel computing capabilities of GPUs and applied them to big data problems in the business world.

The result: the ability to crank through huge datasets and turn them into stunning visualizations with unprecedented speed. Mostak has been moving at lightspeed ever since.

Helping our customers — and partners — move fast, of course, is what we’re all about. Our Early Stage Challenge brings that kind of metabolic boost to startups who are building innovative products with GPUs.

artomatixJust talk to Artomatix CTO Eric Risser. Since winning a $100,000 investment on the spot from NVIDIA in a Shark Tank-like round of presentations last March, Artomatix has won key endorsements from some of the gaming and visual effects industry’s biggest names.

Risser set up offices in Dublin and is busy recruiting a team — and additional investors. “We’ve got NVIDIA saying ‘you’re the next big thing,’ which is really just unbelievable validation for us,” Risser says.

Got a Great Idea? Jump In Now

Now we’re looking for a dozen more entrepreneurs using GPUs to do amazing things for our 2016 Early Stage Challenge, part of our Emerging Companies Summit. The top startup will win a $100,000 prize from our expert panel. Our next Emerging Companies Summit will take place at at our annual GPU Technology Conference, on April 6, 2016, in Silicon Valley.

If your startup has raised less than $1 million in capital and uses GPUs for AI, visualization, robotics, automotive technology, entertainment, cloud or mobile computing, you need to fill out our application. It’s due by Jan. 12, 2016.

Plugged Into the Visual Computing Community

So what’s it like to win our Early Stage Challenge?

For Artomatix, being able to talk about what it’s doing with GPUs, in front of an audience full of visual computing leaders made a real difference. Our Emerging Companies Summit is a highlight of our annual GPU Technology Conference — which drew more than 4,500 attendees from 40-plus countries earlier this year.  

Every visual effects company, of course, uses GPUs. What makes Artomatix different is that it’s harnessing GPUs to power a deep learning system that helps automate the creation of digital effects based on just a few key examples. So artists can move far faster than ever before.

That’s a pitch that’s easier to make for companies like MapD and Artomatix at our Emerging Companies Summit, where they’re surrounded by people who “get it” when they talk about the potential of GPUs.  

“I told my team we’re here to get exposure on a much grander scale than ever before because these are really the leaders in our industry,” Risser says of his experience.

Artomatix released a beta product at TechCrunch Disrupt in September, and plans to release version 1.0 of its product in January. The six-person company has been working with an iconic AAA game franchise for about a year now, Risser says, with other studios now trialing its offering as a beta product. Artomatix is also in “advanced discussions” with other companies that build tools for game developers about integrating its product with their offerings.  

MapD: Bringing GPUs to Big Data

mapdlogoOur Early Stage Challenge also provided a key catalyst for MapD. In addition to the $100,000 investment we awarded, MapD has won early backing from Google Ventures and Vanedge Capital in Vancouver.

Now MapD’s Mostak is readying the launch of his company’s first product early next year — an appliance that will allow companies to turn the terabytes of data they’ve gathered into instant visual intelligence. (We’ve been following Mostak for a while, see our 2013 profile of MapD “Juicing Big Data: Startup Builds GPU Database to Visualize the World on Twitter.”) Early customers already include a major social media company, a telecommunications giant, a government research lab and a major retailer.

The 10-person company — which moved last year to San Francisco from Boston — is also closing another funding round and bringing in more key hires. “It’s really nice to be in the middle of all this technological innovation and have our investors and a lot of our early customers in driving distance,” Mostak says. “It allows the cycle of iteration to be accelerated.”

And that’s what our Emerging Companies Summit is all about.