Yesterday, ventureLAB's VP of the Hardware Catalyst Initiative, Avinash Persaud, took on the role of moderator for a thought-provoking panel discussion "Sustainable Semiconductor Solutions with AI" at Elevate Festival 2023.
Alongside industry leaders Jay Dawani, Co-Founder & CEO at Lemurian Labs, and Raymond Chik, Co-founder & Consultant at Untether AI, the panelists took a deep dive into the intersection of AI and semiconductors. The discussion highlighted the complex nature of AI, a force that presents both opportunities and challenges, shaping the hardware and deeptech landscape in Canada.
Kicking off the discussion, Dawani emphasized the importance of AI-specific semiconductors for sustainable solutions. He noted that as the rapid growth in AI demands outpaces the capabilities of current hardware, power consumption skyrockets - leading to a significant gap between computational requirements and available resources.
As the need for innovative semiconductor designed to optimize energy efficiency and computing power becomes evident, both Dawani and Chik agreed that AI hardware solutions, including semiconductor chips for AI computing and energy management, present opportunities to alleviate the increasing strain. With the escalating energy demands of AI, this signifies the potential to attract funding and investment through developing innovative eco-friendly solutions.
The panellists also shared insights into the challenges of Canadian semiconductor startups when looking for funding, emphasizing the capital-intensive nature of hardware development in the early stage, and the importance of investor confidence in hardware startups, given their potential to create strong competitive advantage in the long run.
Dawani noted that risk aversion and a desire for quick exit time among investors often hinder long-term, capital-intensive projects. He emphasized the need for a change in incentives and structures to support Canadian deep tech ventures, highlighting the dire fact that Canadian startups often look to migrate to the US where support for deeptech is more abundant.
“It was truly enlightening to engage in the Elevate dialogue about AI, semiconductors, and sustainability. It was refreshing to exchange insights and discuss varying perspectives. I left feeling inspired and optimistic about the potential for innovative and eco-friendly advancements in the near future!”
The panel discussion on sustainable semiconductor solutions and AI provided audiences with deep insights into the rapidly changing landscape of AI and semiconductors. While there are still roadblocks ahead, they are certain that the intersection of AI and hardware presents exciting opportunities for Canadian deeptech startups.
As Avinash acknowledged the hurdles in funding and finding investment, Avinash was optimistic about the potential for Canada to become a significant player in the semiconductor field.
“I’d love to see us play to win in semiconductors, the same way I want to see Canadians play to win in hockey.”
- Avinash Persaud
As ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative continues to support Canadian deeptech startups and facilitate collaboration within the startup ecosystem, the program aims to nurture Canadian deep tech startups to play a more substantial role in the global AI and semiconductor arena.
About Hardware Catalyst Initiative
ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative is Canada’s only lab and incubator for founders building hardware and semiconductor-focused products, enabling the creation of transformative technologies that will power our products of tomorrow. Funded in part by the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), the Hardware Catalyst helps tech companies accelerate their time to market in a sector that normally incurs lengthy entry and scale times, enabling Canadian hardware and semiconductor companies to grow and scale locally, and compete globally.
ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 5,000 jobs and raise more than $340 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets.