Former Tinder Research Scientist Marcus Gomez has just seen his latest venture receive a significant investment from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Gomez left his position at the dating app in 2018 to focus on Luminous, a startup company that produces AI hardware chips. It has now raised a total of $9 million from a variety of sources, including VC funds NEO and Third Kind, as well as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.
Luminous is effectively trying to build a supercomputer on a small chip. The technology would train a new AI system in just a few minutes and use photonics to instantaneously move a large amount of data.
While the process is currently considered to be impossible, the amount of high-profile investors shows suggests there is legitimate belief in the idea. Further, Gomez has revealed his business already has a working prototype.
The funding is initially set to help grow the seven-person team based in Palo Alto.
Head of NEO Ali Partovi said in a statement: “I always prefer to bet on a talented young team over a big established company. While there’s certainly a ton of risk, that’s what makes it worth investing now: if the race was already over, it would be too late to invest.
“While many photonics research efforts focus on general-purpose data movement, Luminous appropriately targets the AI compute market, which is where the demand is.”
The New York Times reported in 2018 that there were 45 startups working on similar chips, with demand from major global companies such as Apple, Amazon and Facebook.
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