In an effort to support startups in developing AI models, Microsoft is collaborating with venture capital firms to provide free access to AI chip infrastructure. The tech giant recently announced an update to its startup program, Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, which now includes a no-cost option for high-end Azure AI infrastructure. This infrastructure encompasses Nvidia-based GPU virtual machine clusters that are specifically designed for training and running generative models, including large language models such as ChatGPT.
Microsoft has partnered with venture capital firms to offer select startups free access to high-end Azure AI infrastructure, including GPU clusters. This program aims to support startups in training and running AI models, with a focus on innovation and accelerating AI advancements. Although access is time-bound, it provides an opportunity for startups to utilize Microsoft’s resources and drive AI innovation forward.
Y Combinator as an initial partner
The first batch of startups to gain access to the GPU clusters in a private preview will be those associated with Y Combinator, a well-known startup accelerator. Microsoft’s choice of Y Combinator as an initial partner stems from its reputation for working with startups at the earliest stages. Annie Pearl, VP of Growth and Ecosystems at Microsoft, expressed how they are working closely with Y Combinator to address the needs of their current cohort and alumni, focusing on tasks like training and fine-tuning to unblock innovation.
Expanding access to other startups
While Y Combinator startups will be the first to benefit from this initiative, Microsoft has plans to expand access to the GPU clusters to startups within its venture fund, M12, and its portfolio companies. Additionally, Microsoft aims to establish partnerships with other startup investors and accelerators to lower the barrier for any promising startup to train and run AI models. The goal is to make Microsoft’s Azure cloud the premier choice for building AI solutions.
Time-bound access for startups
Although Microsoft acknowledges that this initiative is aimed at startups, it is not a free pass indefinitely. The access to run AI models on the GPU clusters will be time-bound, allowing startups to test and trial their operations. It is crucial for the startups to make the most of this opportunity to train their AI models and drive the next wave of AI innovation.