OpenAI Unveils $10M Startup Accelerator ‘Converge’
OpenAI has introduced a new accelerator program for AI-focused startups called Converge. The GPT-3 and DALL-E developer has begun accepting applications for the approximately ten spots in the five-week program workshops, events, and a $1 million equity investment each via the $100 million OpenAI Startup Fund.
Converge will bring the chosen startups together for five weeks worth of events, office hours, and workshops from Dec. 5 to Jan. 27, with a couple of weeks off for the holidays. The cohort will be granted special early access to OpenAI’s latest models and its software specially adapted for their kind of business model. Though most of the program can be done remotely, OpenAI plans to bring everyone together in person for the last week of the accelerator. The $100 million OpenAI Startup Fund launched last year with Microsoft’s backing will provide the money for the $1 million each company will get in equity investment.
“The OpenAI Startup Fund was founded on the belief that powerful AI systems will spark a Cambrian explosion of new products, services, and applications. We also believe that the most enduring and impactful of these companies will use emerging AI capabilities to revolutionize existing markets and create entirely new ones, rather than simply enhance what’s already possible,” OpenAI explained in announcing the program. “Our aim is to share a glimpse into the future of powerful AI, give early access to the newest systems, and empower you to build transformative applications.”
An AI-centered startup accelerator makes sense in light of OpenAI’s burgeoning success and the general uptick of interest in synthetic media and generative AI tools. The adoption of Open AI’s DALL-E text-to-image engine by Shutterstock, integration into Microsoft consumer products, and the accelerating proliferation of startups relying on its GPT-3 models suggests there are far more business opportunities than OpenAI could ever hope to take the reins without partners. Investing early in companies that build directly or indirectly on its technology could net OpenAI a lot of large revenue streams down the line, even if only a few of the accelerator’s graduates find any kind of success.