A startup promising “universal AI compute” has joined France’s thriving artificial intelligence sector.

Paris-based FlexAI emerged from stealth today with a €28.5mn war chest and an ambitious plan to “unlock the future of machine intelligence.” To pick that lock, FlexAI is rearchitecting compute infrastructure.

The plan’s centrepiece is an on-demand cloud service. Set to launch later this year, the product will enable developers to build and train AI applications with heterogeneous compute architectures. A software layer in the service will abstract and orchestrate the workload to the optimal architecture. 

The service is designed to maximise efficiency and simplicity. By providing easy access to a wide range of workloads and compute, FlexAI aims to expand access to AI. 

The startup’s founders, Brijesh Tripathi and Dali Kilani, told TNW that their ultimate goal is enabling AI solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Their hope is that more access leads to more innovations.

“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 realise this vision,” said Tripathi, FlexAI’s CEO. “The availability of AI compute today is limited to a select few. Our vision is to unlock access to compute for the many.”

AI’s big compute problem

FlexAI arrives amid growing alarm about AI’s voracious appetite for computing power. As the field advances, the breakthroughs are becoming increasingly unaffordable, inaccessible, and unsustainable.

FlexAI promises solutions to all these problems. For startups, the service can cut the vast costs of compute, which can consume 80% of a company’s capital. By automatically assigning customers with the compute needed for a given workload, FlexAI could ensure that startups only pay for what they actually need. 

The approach would also reduce AI’s expanding carbon footprint. By 2030, artificial intelligence is set to consume more power of India, according to the CEO of chip giant Arm. As models increase in size and complexity, the need for greater energy efficiency will only grow.

The FlexAI co-founders: CTO Dali Kilani (left) and CEO Brijesh Tripathi