Ex-Nvidia, Apple And Intel Engineers Launch AI Startup FlexAI With $30M Backing

Artificial intelligence startup FlexAI launched out of stealth mode on Wednesday with $30 million in funding. Here’s what to know about the company’s AI goals.

Former engineers and architects from Nvidia, Apple and Intel have launched a new AI startup company called FlexAI with the goal of building innovative AI compute infrastructure to meet the needs of developers.

“At FlexAI, we are aiming to build the first universal AI compute infrastructure,” said Brijesh Tripathi, CEO and co-founder of FlexAI, in a LinkedIn post Wednesday morning.

The AI startup has raised $30 million in seed funding led by Alpha Intelligence Capital, Elaia Partners, and Heartcore Capital for its goal of rearchitecting compute infrastructure to accelerate artificial intelligence breakthroughs.

“Our unique solution runs on any cloud, any architecture, and any hardware and is accessible to anyone,” said Tripathi, who recently left Intel as general manager and chief architect of Intel’s AI and Super Compute Platforms. “This is a new class of AI compute that is required to support the growth of AI, opening up infrastructure for a larger set of developers whose needs are not met today.”

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FlexAI Works With AWS, AMD, Nvidia, Intel and Google Cloud

FlexAI is working with hardware and cloud providers across the AI ecosystem, including AMD, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Intel, and Nvidia, as well as companies developing AI models and products. All five of those companies made CRN’s 2024 AI 100 list.

Later this year, the startup plans to unveil its first commercial product: an on-demand cloud service that connects developers to virtual heterogeneous compute resources, enabling them to run their workloads on a variety of architectures to build and deploy AI models more efficiently.

FlexAI’s Founders And Purpose

The France-based startup was co-founded by Tripathi and Dali Kilani, both of whom were engineers for years at Nvidia through the 2000s.

“To truly harness AI’s potential to change the world, we must fundamentally transform the infrastructure it relies upon,” said Kilani, who most recently was chief technology officer for healthcare software provider Lifen.

“As we emerge from stealth mode, our vision with FlexAI is clear: to build universal AI compute capable of operating on any cloud, with any architecture, on any hardware, accessible to everyone,” Kilani said. “This revolutionary approach aims to democratize AI development, addressing the unmet needs of a broad spectrum of developers.”

Kilani’s IT career spans over 20 years. He is currently a board member and angel investor for various tech companies such as Epigene Labs, Swiver and Go My Code.

Tripathi’s tech career also spans over two decades, including working at Apple for eight years as a platform architect, as well as a hardware engineering leader at Tesla. He left Intel in September to form FlexAI.

FlexAI aims to unlock access to more compute capabilities and increased efficiency, with less complexity for developers. Delivered as an on-demand cloud service, FlexAI’s universal AI compute will allow developers to seamlessly build and train AI applications with heterogeneous compute architectures.

FlexAI Building A New Software Layer For AI

The AI startup is building an entirely new layer of software intelligence, abstraction, and orchestration into the AI compute stack, enabling developers to utilize multiple hardware configurations without arduous code changes.

This will expand access to compute resources, efficiently run AI workloads at lower costs than traditional GPU clusters, and make it easier to build AI applications, said Tripathi.

“We believe in AI's transformative power to solve some of humanity’s biggest problems, but it will require a 1000x magnitude more compute to be able to realize this vision,” Tripathi said. “The availability of AI compute today is limited to a select few. Our vision is to unlock access to compute for the many.”