citybiz+ Thunder Compute Raises $500K to Advance GPU Access for AI Developers

Thunder Compute, which helps AI developers access highly valued GPUs, or graphics processing units, has raised a seed round of $500,000 from Y Combinator, according to listings on Crunchbase and Atlanta Tech Hub.

Co-founded earlier this year by the duo of CEO Carl Peterson and chief technology officer Brian Model, the Atlanta, Ga., startup is still in stealth mode, according to the LinkedIn pages of the two entrepreneurs. However, the company’s own website is operational, offering some details of its service.

Founders Came from GeorgiaTech

Peterson has a BS in Industrial Engineering and MS in Analytics from GeorgiaTech. He previously worked at Bain and Company. As an undergraduate research assistant, Peterson built a tool that used mid-season standings to predict potential post-season outcomes, helping NFL team managers analyze playoff situations.

Model earned a BS in Computer Science from GeorgiaTech. He worked at Citadel Securities in New York for less than a year, working on low latency options, before turning an entrepreneur.

Typically, cloud GPUs require separate configuration and environments, creating a level of complexity and additional work for developers. Thunder Compute circumvents this problem by connecting developers to a global network of consumer GPUs, optimized for performance.

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‘Pioneering’ Approach
In an application to the U.S. Patents and Trademarks Office filed on July 1, Thunder Compute sought a patent on “providing virtual computer systems through cloud computing,” and “providing temporary use of on-line non-downloadable software development tools.” The company claims it is “pioneering” a new approach to “serverless GPU computing that connects a developer’s local environment to cloud GPUs.”

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Developers who sign up for Thunder Compute’s service can run their existing code on cloud-based, serverless GPUs. The set-up takes less than a minute, the company says, because it takes only a simple CLI, or command line interface, to get started.

Besides enabling access to scarce GPU resources, Thunder Compute touts its service as “cheaper than alternatives.” Also, developers who already have GPUs or credits on another platform can integrate with Thunder Compute.