* Plans to invest $0.5-5 mln in promising technology
* Aims to boost applications that use its chips
"Nvidia (NVDA.O) plans to launch a program to invest in and spur development of up-and-coming graphics technologies and start-ups globally, hoping to shore up the firm's lead in a highly competitive graphics card arena.
The firm's worldwide GPU Ventures Program will fund and advise start-ups developing businesses around graphics processing, said Jeff Herbst, Nvidia's vice president of business development. Nvidia, which competes with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD.N)
subsidiary ATI, has funded start-ups before. Now, executives say they want to formalize and expand the process with a full-scale program.