London-based machine learning training and hosting platform Tromero has raised £1.5 million in a seed funding round led by BlueYard Capital. The startup will use the investment to assemble a team that will deliver a functioning beta version of the platform within the next 12 months.
Launched by AI Ph.D. researchers Sophia Kalanovska and Charles Higgins while participating in London’s deeptech venture programme Conception X, Tromero is aiming to kill two birds with one stone (figuratively, not literally). In leveraging blockchain technology, the platform is offering proof of work, a computationally expensive by design service, and AI training, a computationally challenging, expensive, and ubiquitous process.
Tromero is a blockchain built on a consensus protocol where the proof of work is machine learning training and hosting. The proof of work provides the keystone of consensus of the blockchain, and a trained ML model, a service the startup refers to as ‘Proof of Useful Work’. Two birds for the cost of one.
As for the crunchers of the data, Tromero is offering crypto rewards for miners, as well as payments in fiat money per job completed in exchange for their efforts.
“In an industry that struggles to keep pace with the soaring demand for machine learning training, our new way of mining cryptocurrency ensures that GPUs are no longer wasted on meaningless hashing, like they are currently, but are utilised to solve meaningful problems requiring AI solutions,” explained Tromero co-founder Sophia Kalanovska. “Our system breaks down some of the barriers that inhibit the creation of impressive AI models, fostering a future where AI is created by everyone for everyone.”
Needless to say, Tromero’s approach flies directly in the face of industry incumbents including Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft’s Azure, and Google Cloud, and according to the startup, substantially undercuts the fees that these giants levy for the same outcome of services.
“Web3 has an inherent drive towards and offers a suite of tools for decentralisation, democratisation, and privacy – eliminating the reliance upon institutional players for daily transactions,” added Tromero co–founder Charles Higgins. “As AI becomes an integral part of everyday life, we believe it’s necessary to ensure the AI ecosystem can be just that: decentralised, democratic and private. This offers a clear route by which AI can be cost-effective and easy to use for all.”