Jen-Hsun Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, is the main shareholder with 3.50% of ownership, valued at around $20 billion by 2023. Through its GPUs and A100 Chip, NVIDIA is surfing the AI revolution by powering up massive AI supercomputers used for pre-training large language models; on top of that, tools like ChatGPT have been created.
With a master’s degree in electric engineering from Stanford University, Huang started his professional career in 1984 at Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Little is known about his time there, but one of his main duties involved the design and engineering of microprocessors.
In 1984, Huang moved to the semiconductor design and software engineering company LSI Logic. The company was still in its infancy but had set a record two years prior for the most valuable IPO in history at $153 million.
Huang spent the next eight years climbing the ranks and eventually became the company’s director. But in the same year that Sony asked LSI to build a chip for the PlayStation CPU, he left to start a career as an entrepreneur.
Huang co-founded Nvidia on his 30th birthday in 1993 with former Sun Microsystems employees Curtis Prem and Chris Malachowsky. The founders started the company because they believed that the PC would one day become a consumer device for games and multimedia.
“We observed that video games were simultaneously one of the most computationally challenging problems and would have incredibly high sales volume. Video games was our killer app – a flywheel to reach large markets funding huge R&D to solve massive computational problems”, Huang explained.
Nvidia was founded with just $40,000 between the three founders.
Competition and vision
When the company entered the market, there were already 24 similar companies in existence. This swelled to over 70 three years later, but by 2006, Nvidia was the only independent company left.
In a later interview with the BBC, Huang described Nvidia as “the world’s last computer graphics company” that succeeded because “it didn’t matter to us whether people believed in us. We believed in ourselves. We had the courage to follow our own path.”
Early Nvidia successes included the NV1 chip for Sega arcade games in 1995 and a collaboration with Microsoft in 1996 that saw it develop the API used to render 3D graphics. In 1999, the company also invented the world’s first GPU to revolutionize computing.
Philanthropy and accolades
Huang pledged to donate $200 million to his alma mater, Oregon State University, to fund the construction of a supercomputing institute.
He also donated $30 million to Stanford University, with that money used to construct the Jen-Hsun Huang School of Engineering Center.
In 2017, Fortune named him Businessperson of the Year and four years later, he became one of Time’s most influential people. Huang also won the Robert N. Noyce Award for his contributions to computer hardware and artificial intelligence.
Under Huang’s stewardship, Nvidia has moved well beyond video games with its products now the brains of robots and self-driving vehicles, among others.
- Jensen Huang is a billionaire business magnate and electrical engineer who was born in Taiwan and moved to the United States in 1972. Huang is currently the president and CEO of Nvidia Corporation – a company that he also co-founded.
- With a master’s degree in electric engineering from Stanford University, Huang started his professional career in 1984 at Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. He also worked at the semiconductor design and software engineering company LSI Logic where he became director.
- Huang co-founded Nvidia in 1993 with former Sun Microsystems employees Curtis Prem and Chris Malachowsky. The founders started the company because they believed PCs would become consumer devices for games and multimedia and thus require tech that could provide advanced graphics.
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