US chip giant Nvidia snaps up Israeli AI workload management startup

Run:ai is estimated to be Nvidia’s biggest acquisition in Israel since it bought Mellanox Technologies Ltd. in 2020 for $6.9 billion

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

An Nvidia building in Israel. (Nvidia)
An Nvidia building in Israel. (Nvidia)

US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia announced on Wednesday that it is buying Run:ai, an Israeli startup that has built software to help developers and businesses manage complex AI workloads and computing resources on a single platform.

The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the value is said to be between $600 million to $700 million, according to reports in the Hebrew press. The deal is estimated to be Nvidia’s biggest acquisition in Israel since the US chipmaker bought Mellanox Technologies Ltd. in 2020 for $6.9 billion.

Run:ai’s employees are set to join Nvidia’s growing operations in Israel, where the chipmaker employs about 4,000 workers in seven R&D centers, including Yokne’am, Mellanox’s headquarters, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Ra’anana, and Beersheba in the south.

The Tel Aviv-based startup was founded in 2018 by Omri Geller, CEO, and Ronen Dar, CTO, who met as postgraduate students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at Tel Aviv University, taught by Professor Meir Feder, who together sought to build a foundational layer for running any AI workload.

Since then, Run:ai has developed a single and unified platform to simplify AI infrastructure and workload management to help businesses and organizations run their AI and machine learning projects while accommodating the growing needs of generative AI and large language models.

To date, the startup has raised a total of $118 million in funds from investors including Tiger Global Management and Insight Partners, as well as TLV Partners and S Capital VC. Commenting on the deal, Geller said Run:ai has already collaborated with Nvidia since 2020.

Nvidia headquarters in Santa Clara, California. (Courtesy)

Alexis Bjorlin, Nvidia’s VP of DGX Cloud, wrote in a blog post that the US chipmaker is acquiring the startup to help “customers make more efficient use of their AI computing resources.”

“Customer AI deployments are becoming increasingly complex, with workloads distributed across cloud, edge and on-premises data center infrastructure,” Bjorlin remarked. “Run:ai enables enterprise customers to manage and optimize their computer infrastructure, whether on premises, in the cloud or in hybrid environments.”

Bjorlin said that Nvidia will continue to market Run:ai’s products under the same business model and invest in the startup’s product roadmap.

Nvidia is among the international tech giants that have expanded their presence in Israel since launching its first operations in the country in 2016 and opening an AI research center two years later. Nvidia’s R&D activities in Israel are already the firm’s largest outside of the US.

Alongside its R&D operations, Nvidia also runs the Nvidia Inception Program for Startups, an accelerator that works with hundreds of early-stage companies, including 1,000 Israeli startups, and the Nvidia Developer Program, which allows free access to Nvidia’s offerings for developers.

Back in March 2022, Nvidia bought Israeli company Excelero, a provider of enterprise data storage and block storage solutions for an undisclosed sum.

In May last year, Nvidia announced that it is developing and building the nation’s most powerful generative AI cloud supercomputer, called Israel-1, which is based on a new locally developed high-performance Ethernet platform.

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