Innovation Inspiration: 5 Startup Stories From NVIDIA Inception in 2021

by Isha Salian

NVIDIA Inception is one of the largest startup ecosystems in the world — and its thousands of members achieved impressive feats in 2021, bringing AI and data science to an array of industries.

NVIDIA Inception nurtures cutting-edge AI, data science and HPC startups with go-to-market support, expertise and technology. This year, the program surpassed 9,000 members — about two-thirds of the total number of AI startups in the world, as estimated by Pitchbook.

Inception members worldwide are using AI to detect and monitor wildfires, power checkout-free refreshment stands at stadiums, predict car crashes, monitor utility poles and sort recyclables.

Here are some of the stories shared in 2021 by NVIDIA Inception companies doing breakthrough work in different industries:

Agriculture: Greeneye Cuts Chemicals, Costs for Farmers

Tel Aviv startup Greeneye is developing AI for precision spraying of crops, reducing use of herbicides by as much as 90 percent. Its system uses the NVIDIA Jetson platform to target herbicides on individual weeds in milliseconds, decreasing water and soil contamination. The company is working with corn and soybean farmers in the midwest U.S. to deploy its AI-driven smart sprayers on tractors.

Automotive: Plus Revs Up Autonomous Trucks

Self-driving truck company Plus, based in Silicon Valley, is building an autonomous vehicle platform that can be retrofitted to existing trucks or added to new vehicles by manufacturers. A software-defined system built on NVIDIA DRIVE Orin, the PlusDrive platform uses lidar, radar and cameras to gather data about a truck’s surroundings, plan its course and control the vehicle.

Healthcare: Peptone Powers Protein Engineering

U.K.-based Peptone has developed a protein drug discovery engine that helps scientists find protein variants with promising therapeutic properties. The startup uses generative AI models and complex simulations running on NVIDIA DGX A100 GPUs to model unstructured proteins, which are involved in cancer, inflammatory diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.

Public Sector: Fotokite Supports First Responders 

Fotokite, based in Zurich, used the NVIDIA Jetson platform to build an autonomous tethered drone that gives first responders an aerial perspective during fires, search-and-rescue missions or medical emergencies. The system’s thermal camera can help firefighters locate hotspots that need attention, find the safest location to enter or exit a structure, and guide firefighters on whether their hoses are targeting the right points.

Retail: Heartdub Drives Sustainable Fashion

Beijing-based Heartdub digitizes textiles and uses AI to simulate how clothes look on the human body, enabling creators to display and verify designs virtually. Its physics engine, which takes advantage of NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 GPUs and NVIDIA HDR InfiniBand networking, can lessen the number of physical samples needed, reduce waste from excess fabric and minimize unsold inventory.

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