Well, it's about time. Reality TV (well, theater) has finally come to Silicon Valley, courtesy of NVidia.
During the Emerging Companies Summit held at NVidia's annual GPU Technology Conference scheduled in March, 2014, the graphic chip giant is staging a brand new event called "The Early Stage Challenge," where 12 rising tech stars will compete for a single $100,000 award in front a live audience, according to NVidia.
The stage is San Jose, Calif., where the American Idols will be propeller-heads and the panel of judges will include veteran tech and venture-capital experts. The date is March 26, 2014. Mark your calendar.
Each startup's CEO will briefly describe his or her business onstage, and the jury and audience will select a winner who "gets a $100,000 check, right on the spot," said NVidia.
Not everyone need apply, however.
The Early Stage Challenge is open to "seed-funded companies that have raised no more than $1 million in total capital," according to rules stipulated by NVidia. More importantly, "To be eligible, companies must use, or plan to use, GPU technologies related to games, visualization, computing, cloud or mobile."
Herein lies the connection between the Early Stage Challenge exercise and NVidia's graphics business.
Even given its restrictions, the event promises to be, at least, suspenseful, with that $100,000 check hanging in the balance. More importantly, the audience will witness the rare spectacle of VCs asking $64,000 questions, and seeing in real-time how each startup CEO stumbles, triumphs, or just misses.
NVidia said that all accepted candidates will receive free booth space at the GTC exhibition.
NVidia has been holding its Summit for six years, to showcase promising companies with disruptive GPU-based technologies who either use or plan to use NVIDIA processors. NVidia claims the Summit is a highlight of GTC, which attracts thousands of attendees from more than 50 countries. The Early Stage Challenge is a new addition to the Summit's agenda.
For more details or to register to participate, NVidia wants you to check out www.gputechconf.com/ecs.