Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) continues to soar in popularity, and several startups in the crypto industry are leveraging the excitement surrounding machine learning to secure funding. One such startup, Giza, has recently emerged as a key player in this space.
Giza, founded in October by Cem Dagdelen, Fran Algaba, and Renç Korzay, announced a significant milestone on Tuesday—an impressive $3 million in pre-seed funding led by CoinFund. Other notable participants included StarkWare, TA Ventures, and Arrington Capital, the venture capital firm established by the renowned TechCrunch founder.
Although Giza’s implied valuation remains undisclosed, Algaba, the CEO of Giza, chose not to comment on the matter. The investment garnered praise from Einar Braathen, an investor at CoinFund, who stated that Giza is poised to become one of the pioneers in making A.I. accessible to smart contracts, thereby expanding their design capabilities significantly.
This funding injection arrives at a time when venture capital support for crypto startups is on the decline. While the A.I. sector experienced a slight downturn in VC funding, the figures are still impressive. According to Crunchbase, A.I. startups managed to raise nearly $58 billion in the second quarter of 2023, surpassing the approximately $2.3 billion generated by crypto firms. Consequently, A.I.-themed cryptocurrencies outperformed Bitcoin in the earlier part of the year, although the price gains have somewhat subsided as the initial enthusiasm for A.I. has cooled.
Algaba’s background lies in the realm of A.I., rather than crypto. Previously, he held the position of head of machine learning at Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, a multinational bank based in Spain, before assuming a similar role at the renowned sportswear giant, Adidas.
While Algaba initially dabbled in crypto as a hobby in 2019, his involvement took a more professional turn as he spearheaded Web3 events in Madrid and Barcelona. It was during these gatherings that he crossed paths with Dagdelen and Korzay, ultimately leading to their collaboration on the Giza project.
Running computationally intensive A.I. models on blockchains such as Ethereum is currently impractical due to the decentralized nature and inherent sluggishness of these systems. Algaba explained to Fortune that there is currently no clear solution to integrating A.I. into the blockchain space. To tackle this challenge, companies like Giza are exploring the use of zero-knowledge proofs, an innovative cryptographic technique widely adopted in the Web3 domain. By executing A.I. models on faster, conventional computers and providing proofs to verify the accuracy of computations on the blockchain, this approach significantly reduces the required computational power.
However, implementing zero-knowledge proofs is still a complex task, particularly for developers without prior knowledge of the technique. This is where Giza, which currently employs a team of 12, steps in. Algaba and his co-founders are building a platform that empowers A.I. developers to effortlessly generate zero-knowledge proofs for their models.
With the recent infusion of capital, Algaba shared with Fortune their ambitious plans for Giza. They intend to release the underlying infrastructure of their platform next week and aim for a full launch by the end of 2023.