Startups Venture

Last Week In Venture: AI Chips, ML Anywhere, And Spreadsheets As Backends For Apps

Hello and welcome back to Last Week In Venture, the weekly recap of interesting deals which may have flown under your radar.

Seed and early-stage deals struck today are a lens through which to view potential futures. So let’s take a quick look at a few interesting transactions from the week that was in venture-land.

The Silicon And Software Driving AI Insights

It was a busy week at the intersection of hardware and machine learning.

You may have already heard about Neural Magic, the Somerville, MA-based startup which lets data scientists and AI engineers run machine learning models on commodity CPUs using its own, proprietary inference engine. The company says it can deliver GPU performance on central processing units, which is a big deal, considering that upfront cost of acquiring specialized compute hardware remains a barrier to entry into large-scale machine learning projects. This week, the company announced $15 million in seed funding led by Comcast Ventures. NEA, Andreessen Horowitz, Pillar Ventures, and Amdocs participated in the transaction.

On the other side of the market is Untether AI. Instead of developing software that runs on generalized hardware, the Toronto-based company makes specialized, high-efficiency inference chips utilizing a design which places the processor very close to onboard memory, reducing latency and energy use. This week the company announced $20 million in Series A funding, which they technically closed back in May. The company closed $13 million from Intel Capital in April and the remainder from Radical Ventures. As part of the transaction, founding CEO Martin Snelgrove transitions to a CTO role as seasoned chipmaker executive Arun Iyengar steps up as CEO of the company and Radical Ventures founding partner Tomi Poutanen joins its board.

Glide

You know what’s actually pretty sweet? Spreadsheets. They’re, like, totally tabular. Which is great for stuff like accounting, displaying lots of rows of data, and some more whimsical applications.

But just because some information might live on a spreadsheet doesn’t mean it can’t get dressed up a little. Glide Apps is a San Francisco-based, Y Combinator-backed company which helps its users build mobile apps which display and interact with data stored in a Google Sheet, all without needing to write a single line of code. The company produced a set of templates showing how Glide Apps can be used for a range of application use cases, ranging from a city guide to an investor update app.

This week, the company announced a new pro pricing tier, alongside $3.6 million in additional seed financing led by First Round Capital, with participation from Idealab, SV Angel, and the chief executives of GitHub and Figma.

The company says that, since its inception in 2018, “tens of thousands of people” have built Glide apps which have, collectively, reached over one million users.

Image Credits: Last Week In Venture graphic created by JD Battles. Photo by Billy Huynh, via Unsplash.

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