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Rain AI in the Spotlight as a Notable Challenger to Nvidia

Aug. 28, 2023, Repost from reporting on CNBC and The Information -- Rain AI, the artificial brain company building super low power AI chips for GenAI applications at device end, has increasingly been in the spotlight as a notable challenger to Nvidia.

Last week, on CNBC Power Lunch, Gene Munster, Managing Partner at Deepwater Asset Management, gave Rain AI a shoutout, while Nvidia seems to be the only game in town at this moment as the dominant AI chip player. A lot of attention has been on Nvidia's future growth and upcoming startup challengers lately. Nvidia's moat lies not only in its powerful GPUs, but also in its popular CUDA parallel computing platform and programming model, which enables developers around the globe to use its GPUs to build AI models.

Rain AI, a startup which just closed its A round in 2022, is building its moat in the same manner with integrated novel chip hardware and software. The company has been in close research collaborations with leading AI scientists such as Yoshua Bengio and AI researchers in Google and OpenAI. Rain AI team is expecting to have its 1st production chips coming to market by next summer.

Also last week, The Information identified 8 startup challengers to Nvidia including Rain AI as the lower power AI chip player aiming to reduce the costs of AI model training and running compared with Nvidia’s chips.

Rain Neuromorphics

Founded: 2017

Founders: Gordon Wilson (CEO), Jack Kendall (CTO), Juan Nino (chief scientific adviser)

Investors: FoundersX Ventures, Sam Altman, Daniel Gross, Airbus Ventures, Baidu Ventures

Equity funding: $33 million

Description: Rain Neuromorphics, which now goes by the name Rain AI, is taking aim at the high cost of training and running machine-learning models using traditional GPUs.

The costs stem in part from the heat that AI chips generate as they shuttle data from their memory and processing components. This requires GPUs to be constantly cooled, which drives up costs for data center electricity. Rain’s chips and software combine memory and processing—much in the same way human synapses function—enabling them to run cooler and in a more energy-efficient way, CEO Gordon Wilson said.

Three of the eight startups—Qyber, Modular and MatX—were founded by engineers who previously worked at Google. The other challengers include D-Matrix, Tiny Corp, LightMatter, and It's a great sign that ambitious tech entrepreneurs like the Rain AI founders feel that they can make a dent in the sector, despite the deep-pocketed competition.


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