New companies looking to get started in the technology industry today are finding that venture capital (VC) funds are harder to come by than they were only six months ago thanks to the worsening economy. That means that some new startups that need VC to launch won't be able to get started and some companies operating on VC funds will be forced out of business.
Startups looking to design and build applications that run on the GPU may find it a bit easier to get the VC funds needed to operate with a program that NVIDIA has announced called the GPU Ventures Program. The program is looking to provide new startups with up to $5 million in VC to develop applications and technology that take advantage of the GPU.
NVIDIA says that investments of between $500,000 and $5 million are available for new companies that are developing GPU technology for the consumer and scientific market. According to NVIDIA's Jeff Herbst, the GPU maker has been making this sort of investment in companies working with technology for GPUs for years.
Herbst told eWeek, "We have been making investments in this space, and we deiced that these companies need our help more than ever. VC [venture capital] funding is still there, but it’s not as liquid as it was six to 12 months ago. The companies themselves are trying operate on a leaner and meaner basis, so we think we can be really helpful being a distribution channel and give them marketing support and visibility."
EWeek reports that NVIDIA also plans to work with some venture capital firms to get them to invest in these companies as well. Big Green says that it will invest in between three to five companies each year depending on the current economy and its financial outlook. NVIDIA is meeting its goal of investing in new companies and GPU technology despite the poor economy.
The ultimate goal of NVIDIA is to use the program to build an ecosystem of technology that works on its GPUs in the same way Intel has built an ecosystem that operates on its CPUs and x86 architecture. NVIDIA wants to show that the GPU is as important as the CPU inside today's computers and that the GPU is as capable of running applications as the CPU is. Intel and NVIDIA are currently fighting in court over license agreements for chipsets.
Herbst told eWeek, "This is really about building up ecosystems around the GPU. It’s also about how the GPU platform is going to become the heart and soul of the new PC, as our CEO Jen Hsun-Huang calls it. There has never been a better time to amp our investment around it. If you think about it, the GPU using our CUDA [Compute Unified Device Architecture] architecture and other technologies allows people to do things with graphics processors that could not have been envisioned or executed just a few years ago."
Interestingly, NVIDIA says that it will still invest in companies who are working on GPU technology even if the firm is working with ATI GPUs. NVIDIA is also planning to launch a website called Venture Zone to highlight the technology created by the companies it invests in.