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CoreWeave came ‘out of nowhere.’ Now it’s poised to make billions off AI with its GPU cloud

CoreWeave came ‘out of nowhere.’ Now it’s poised to make billions off AI with its GPU cloud
August 1, 2023 9:20 AM |

A few months ago, few had heard of CoreWeave, a cloud startup specializing in GPU-accelerated workloads, according to Brannin McBee, the company’s co-founder and chief strategy officer. Now, CoreWeave is poised to make billions off of the generative AI boom with its GPU cloud.

“We’ve come out of nowhere,” he told VentureBeat in an interview last week. With over $400 million in new funding; a new $1.6 billion data center in Plano, Texas; and the world’s fastest AI supercomputer built in partnership with Nvidia unveiled last month, the company’s fortunes have shifted dramatically — thanks, in no small part, to Nvidia. 

CoreWeave: from crypto mining to GPU acceleration at scale

CoreWeave was founded in 2017 by three commodities traders who turned their cryptocurrency mining hobby into an Ethereum mining company, using GPUs to verify blockchain transactions — doing business out of a New Jersey data center. By 2019, the founders had pivoted — fortuitously, in hindsight — to building a specialized cloud infrastructure spanning seven facilities that offered GPU acceleration at scale. 

Suddenly, everyone was talking about CoreWeave, which led to an investment “tide shift” in March of this year, said McBee. “People were still able to access GPUs last year, but when it became extremely tight, all of a sudden it was like, where do we get these things?” he explained. AI companies that were using CoreWeave spread the word to VCs, he added, who suddenly saw a gold mine: “They said, ‘Why aren’t we speaking to these guys’?”

That led to a massive $221 million Series B funding round in April, which included an investment from Nvidia, and one month later, CoreWeave secured another $200 million. 

McBee said CoreWeave did $30 million in revenue last year, will score $500 million this year and has nearly $2 billion already contracted for next year. CNBC reported in June that Microsoft “has agreed to spend potentially billions of dollars over multiple years on cloud computing infrastructure from startup CoreWeave.”

“It’s happening very, very quickly,” he said. “We have a massive backlog of client demand we’re trying to build for. We’re also building at 12 different data centers right now. I’m engaged in something like one of the largest builds of this infrastructure on the planet today, at a company that you had never heard of three months ago.”

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