April 17, 2024
AI chip startup Groq forms new business unit, acquires Definitive Intelligence

Groq, a startup developing chips to run generative AI models faster than conventional hardware, has an eye toward the enterprise — and public sector.

Today, Groq announced that it’s forming a new division — Groq Systems — focused on greatly expanding its customer and developer ecosystem. Within Groq Systems’ purview is serving organizations, including government agencies, that wish to add Groq’s chips to existing data centers or build new data centers using Groq processors.

In forming the new unit, Groq has acquired Definitive Intelligence, a Palo Alto–based firm offering a range of business-oriented AI solutions, including chatbots, data analytics tools and documentation builders. Definitive Intelligence CEO Sunny Madra is now leading GroqCloud, Groq’s cloud platform that provides Groq hardware documentation, code samples and self-serve API access to the company’s cloud-hosted accelerators.

“At Groq, we’re committed to creating an AI economy that’s accessible and affordable for anyone with a brilliant idea,” Groq co-founder and CEO Jonathan Ross said in a press release. “We’re excited to welcome Sunny and his team from Definitive Intelligence to help us achieve this mission … The Definitive team has expertise in AI solutions and go-to-market strategies, as well as a proven dedication to sharing knowledge with the community.”

Madra co-founded Definitive Intelligence in 2022 with Gavin Sherry, ex-director of engineering at EMC. Prior to launching Definitive Intelligence, Madra and Sherry co-launched Autonomic, a cloud-based platform for connecting mobility systems that Ford acquired in  2018.

Definitive Intelligence offers several business-oriented GenAI products, including OpenAssistants (a collection of open source libraries for developing AI chatbots) and Advisor (a visualization generator that connects to both enterprise and public databases). One of Definitive’s premier tools is Pioneer, an “autonomous data science agent” designed to handle various data analytics tasks, including predictive modeling.

Prior to the acquisition, Definitive Intelligence had raised $25.5 million in venture capital.

“The world is just now realizing how important high-speed inference is to generative AI,” Madra said in an emailed statement. “At Groq, we’re giving developers the speed, low latency, and efficiency they need to deliver on the generative AI promise. I’ve been a big fan of Groq since I first met Jonathan in 2016 and I am thrilled to join him and the Groq team in their quest to bring the fastest inference engine to the world.”

Groq, which emerged from stealth in 2016, is creating what it calls an LPU (language processing unit) inference engine. The company claims that its LPU can run existing large language models similar in architecture to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GPT-4 at 10x the speed.

Ross’ claim to fame is helping to invent the tensor processing unit (TPU), Google’s custom AI accelerator chip used to train and run models.

Definitive Intelligence is Groq’s second acquisition after Maxeler Technologies, a high-performance compute and AI infrastructure solutions firm, in 2022. It might not be its last. The market for custom AI chips is a highly competitive one, and — to the extent the Definitive purchase telegraphs Groq’s plans — Groq is clearly intent on establishing a foothold before its rivals have a chance.

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