How many years have you been a Founder?
Are you a first-time or serial Founder:
What's your backstory. How did you come to be a Founder?:
My first ‘entrepreneurial’ experience was when I was 12 and selling my own artwork on eBay. Later, after my postgrad, and when scaling the data team at an insurance risk prediction start-up, it became clear to me that there were huge compute problems associated with centralised ML workflows that run at scale ($ per unit of compute begins to increase; or enormous capex is required to purchase bare metal hardware). Given how core the training of complex AI systems is to our future (and how cool I find it): I wanted to find a solution. I also wanted a CTO with even deeper knowledge than me and so, after being accepted onto the Entrepreneur First accelerator, I teamed up with my co-founder (Ben Fielding).
What has been your highlight as a Founder?
Getting to work on our vision. Unifying all of the world’s computing resources to persistently and efficiently train ML modes at zettascale will unlock so many opportunities. Imagine if everyone had access to the scale of compute that OpenAI did when they were training GPT-3?
What has been your lowlight as a Founder?
Navigating early technical decisions pre-release. Our product relies on huge decentralisation and networking of machine learning nodes. Like other deep tech companies, feedback loops on technical decisions can be quite long as significant portions of the product must be built before meaningful testing and feedback can be collected.
How did you come across Landscape?
On the Entrepreneur First accelerator just as we secured our first venture capital funding. It was highly recommended and gave us great context on the ecosystem.
Biggest challenge right now/thing you need help on:
Transitioning to building our product in public. We’ll soon be releasing our whitepaper and have opened a public Discord where we will discuss our technical decision and provide early access.
What's the biggest mistake you’ve made so far and what did you learn from it?
Similar to the lowlight point, we discarded a couple of technical routes for architecting our product’s network early on. At the time, I don’t think this was necessarily unjustified, but in hindsight it was the wrong decision. To avoid this happening in the future, we’ve now engaged our future users in a community where we can build in public alongside them.
What piece of advice would you give to other Founders?
Apply a discount to advice from people with no skin in the game and/or no direct experience in your space.
What is the most frustrating thing you find about the startup fundraising ecosystem?
The Matthew Effect.
What you would like to see change in the startup fundraising ecosystem within the next 5 years?:
Less (unhealthy) scepticism around crypto. Notwithstanding funds which cannot invest in crypto start-ups due to the terms from their LPs, the reluctance by many to invest in the space is quite peculiar. Not least because it feels like the exact type of asymmetric environment in which VCs have had the ability to return entire funds (personal computing in the 70s, internet infrastructure in the 90s, social in the 2000s etc).
His email address is also firstname.lastname@example.org and he is happy to be contacted.
Gensyn's Discord can also be found here.