Microsoft to Provide Startups with Free Access to Azure AI Infrastructure for Running LLMs

Microsoft Azure

Key Takeways:

  • Microsoft is offering high-growth startups free access to Azure AI services, providing them with the resources to accelerate the development of large language models and deep learning models.
  • Startups will gain exclusive access to high-end GPU virtual machine clusters, allowing them to train and run generative AI models.
  • Microsoft’s time-limited access to virtual machine clusters encourages startups to experiment and test their AI operations.

Microsoft has announced plans to support the growth of select startups by providing free access to its Azure AI services. This move will enable these companies to access high-end GPU virtual machine clusters, accelerating the training and deployment of large language models (LLMs) and deep learning models (DLMs).

Microsoft has updated its startup program to let Y Combinator startups use high-end GPU virtual machine clusters in order to train and run generative AI models. It will allow a limited number of companies to gain access to the clusters in private preview.

“Microsoft Azure offers cloud-based scalable AI infrastructure, built for and with the world’s most sophisticated AI workloads, from delivering the largest and most complex AI models including GPT-4 and ChatGPT through Azure OpenAI Service to developers to infuse AI capabilities into many apps,” said Charlotte Yarkoni, Microsoft’s president of commerce and ecosystems for cloud and AI.

Microsoft explained that startups will also be able to access features and tools through Azure Machine Learning. The platform also makes it easier for companies to train low-code and code-based training of custom models. It’s also possible to fine-tune both proprietary and open-source models.

Microsoft sets time limit for free Azure AI access to support startups

Microsoft has clarified that startups will not be able to run their AI models on virtual machine clusters for free indefinitely. There will be a time restriction in place, which is intended to assist startups in experimenting and testing their ongoing operations.

Last year, Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub launched to let qualified tech startups gain free access to GitHub and the Microsoft Cloud. It also provides 1:1 consultation services with Microsoft’s AI experts, access to $2,500 in OpenAI credits, and up to $150,000 in Azure credits that can be applied to Azure OpenAI Service.