Founded by Alphabet alums, Canadian-led AI hardware startup Extropic secures over $14 million

Run by @BasedBeffJezos, Extropic’s backers include Tobias Lütke, Cohere co-founders.

Canadian-led, United States-based Extropic has closed $14.1 million in seed funding to build “physics-based computing” hardware for generative artificial intelligence (AI).

This summer, The Information reported that Extropic—which was previously known as Qyber—was working on a chip designed to run large language models.

Extropic is developing “a novel full-stack paradigm of physics-based computing” for generative AI.

In a cryptic December 4 blog post announcing the startup’s latest funding news, Extropic founder and CEO Guillaume Verdon described the technology that Extropic is developing as “a novel full-stack paradigm of physics-based computing” capable of scaling generative AI. The post was light on details regarding what that solution might look like from a technical standpoint. 

“As the timelines to scalability for quantum physics-based computers grew endlessly longer and longer, many of our team sought a different path to practical physics-based computing,” wrote Verdon. “One that is not reliant on quantum mechanics, one where noise is an asset rather than a liability, one where a miracle in device physics is not required to reach industrial scale.”

Extropic’s seed round was led by Kindred Ventures, with support from Buckley Ventures, HOF Capital, Julian Capital, Marque VC, OSS Capital, Valor Equity Partners, and Weekend Fund. 

The company’s angel investors include Tobias Lütke (the CEO of Canadian e-commerce giant Shopify), Aidan Gomez and Ivan Zhang (the co-founders of Toronto-based OpenAI rival Cohere), Replit founder and CEO Amjad Masad, former Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan, Braintree founder and biohacker Bryan Johnson, Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan, and Breather alum and Not Boring founder Packy McCormick.

RELATED: Google and Nvidia-backed CentML secures $37 million CAD to help companies deploy AI amid chip shortages

Extropic was founded in 2022 by Verdon, a Canadian who studied mathematics, physics, and quantum information at McGill University, the University of Waterloo, and Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute. Also known as @BasedBeffJezos on X (formerly Twitter), Verdon previously worked as the quantum tech lead within the physics and AI team at X, Alphabet’s “moonshot factory,” where he helped found Google’s TensorFlow Quantum project, a library that could be used to run AI models on quantum computing chips.

Earlier this month, Verdon was outed by Forbes as the person behind the X account @BasedBeffJezos, one of the leaders of the “effective accelerationism” or ‘e/acc’ movement within the tech community, which wants to speed up technological progress, especially in AI. Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen has described @BasedBeffJezos as one of the “patron saints of techno-optimism.”

In addition to Verdon, Extropic’s leadership includes fellow University of Waterloo grads CTO Trevor McCourt and principal architect Christopher Chamberland, formerly of Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM, and Microsoft. McCourt, originally a mechanical engineer, also spent time as a researcher at Alphabet, where he worked on TensorFlow Quantum alongside Verdon.

This trio has been joined by scientists and engineers with backgrounds in physics and AI and experience working at AWS, Meta, IBM, Nvidia, Toronto-based quantum computing unicorn Xanadu, and various academic institutions.

Feature image courtesy Pixabay. Photo by Gerd Altmann.

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh Scott is a BetaKit reporter focused on telling in-depth Canadian tech stories and breaking news. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.

0 replies on “Founded by Alphabet alums, Canadian-led AI hardware startup Extropic secures over $14 million”