Inception: Exploring the AI Startup Ecosystem with NVIDIA’s Jeff Herbst

by Lauren Finkle

Jeff Herbst is a fixture of the AI startup ecosystem. Which makes sense since he’s the VP of business development at NVIDIA and head of NVIDIA Inception, a virtual accelerator that currently has over 6,000 members in a wide range of industries.

Ahead of the GPU Technology Conference, taking place Oct. 5-9, Herbst joined AI Podcast host Noah Kravitz to talk about what opportunities are available to startups at the conference, and how NVIDIA Inception is accelerating startups in every industry.

Herbst, who now has almost two decades at NVIDIA under his belt, studied computer graphics at Brown University and later became a partner at a Silicon Valley premier technology law firm. He’s served as a board member and observer for dozens of startups over his career.

On the podcast, he provides his perspective on the future of the NVIDIA Inception program. As AI continues to expand into every industry, Herbst predicts that more and more startups will incorporate GPU computing.

Those interested can learn more through NVIDIA Inception programming at GTC, which will bring together the world’s leading AI startups and venture capitalists. They’ll participate in activities such as the NVIDIA Inception Premier Showcase, where some of the most innovative AI startups in North America will present, and a fireside chat with Herbst, NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang, and several CEOs of AI startups.

You can learn more about Inception at

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Herbst’s interest in supporting an AI startup ecosystem began in 2008 at the NVISION Conference — the precursor to GTC. The conference held an Emerging Company Summit, which brought together startups, reporters and VCs, and made Herbst realize that there were many young companies using GPU computing that could benefit from NVIDIA’s support.
  • Herbst provides listeners with an insider’s perspective on how NVIDIA expanded from computer graphics to the cutting edge of AI and accelerated computing, describing how it was clear from his first days at the company that NVIDIA envisioned a future where GPUs were essential to all industries.


“We love startups. Startups are the future, especially when you’re working with a new technology like GPU computing and AI” — Jeff Herbst @jeffatNvdia [14:06]

“NVIDIA is a horizontal platform company — we build this amazing platform on which other companies, particularly software companies, can build their businesses” — Jeff Herbst @jeffatNvdia [27:49]

Follow Jeff Herbst at @jeffatNvdia

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