NVIDIA throws in cash, support to encourage new companies to build on its platform

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Michael Feldman at HPCwire has written a feature on NVIDIA’s GPU Ventures Program, a new program designed to spur innovation in the marketplace of CPU-enabled products by supporting new companies with money, sales, and distribution support

nVidia logoThe main thrust of the program is to make it easier for undercapitalized companies to get off the ground in this tough economic climate. Because of the recession, right now venture capitalists (VCs) are scrutinizing their investment portfolios more carefully, and they want to make sure that any new companies they sink money into have enough capital to ride out the current downturn. In general, investments by corporations like NVIDIA would tend to tail off when the economy is booming. That’s because institutional investors are willing to take on more risk during economic expansions, so startups have a bigger window of opportunity to make a go of it. All that has changed.

…According to [Jeff Herbst, NVIDIA’s VP of Business Development], last year they put up between $4-6 million on just a handful of companies. Now that they’ve formalized the process, he expects the pace of investments to increase. No specific amount of money has been set aside; that will depend upon the opportunities out there and NVIDIA’s enthusiasm for the individual companies. There will also be companies that NVIDIA doesn’t invest in directly, but will be providing sales and marketing support. “The most strategic — the most loved — companies get investment from us, but we have developer support all the way up and down the line for the full range of companies,” says Herbst.

An interesting move for NVIDIA as they face increasing technology pressure from the mainstream CPU chipmakers.