AI Investment Frenzy Continues: Covert Startup Bags $40M

Essential AI Raises $40M as AI Investment Frenzy Persists

Essential AI is the latest startup to attract strong interest amid the artificial intelligence boom. The startup raised $40 million in new funding in a deal that underscores the frenzy around AI invention and innovation. The new funding round comes just months after the startup raised $8 million in a funding round led by Thrive Capital.

Essential AI LLM Push

A brainchild of Ashish Vaswani and Niki Parmar, the startup works on large language model (LLM) software. LLM is the technology that powers the popular chatbots led by ChatGPT that generate new content by ingesting immense amounts of information. The fact that the startup is raising close to $40 million while still in stealth mode without raising any products underscores strong confidence about its technology and prospects.

The $40 million raised came after Vaswani and Parmar left Adept AI, a company they helped co-found with former Google director David Luan. Adept is one of the companies focused on training neural networks to perform general tasks for enterprise clients. The startup has already risen close to $415 million. The two join a number of high-profile researchers who have left Google to start startups and attracted millions in investments.

AI Investment Frenzy

While the venture capital market has slowed in recent months, AI startups have contended to draw lots of investments as investors eye the opportunity in a segment in the initial stages of growth. In June, three startups raised more than $1.5 billion, underscoring the strong interest in AI startups. AI startup Inflection AI spearheaded the funding round, raising $1.3 billion.

The $1.3 billion investment in Inflection AI was led by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, and Nvidia in a deal that valued the startup at $4 billion. The startup has already raised more than $1.5 billion. The startup is building what it says will be the biggest AI cluster in the world. Like Essential AI, it also works on large language models that will allow people to interact with AI-powered assistants.

New York-based Runaway is another AI startup that has raised $141 million, and an extension to $50 million Series C funding from Google, Nvidia, and Salesforce rose late last year. The startup is the brain behind AI image generator Stable Diffusion, having also unveiled its video-to-video generative AI app.

Cohere, an AI startup that competes with open AI, has also raised $270 million this year from investors led by Nvidia, Oracle, and Salesforce. The startup is focusing on developing AI models for enterprise customers. The company seeks to be a neutral provider for enterprises that use models not tied to cloud providers. It is also led by former top AI startups that left Google to plot their way in the industry.

Microsoft Impact

Microsoft investing close to $10 billion in OpenAI, the parent company behind ChatGPT, triggered the investment frenzy around artificial intelligence startups. With ChatGPT sending shockwaves and showing signs of revolutionizing various sectors, it underscored the pivotal role AI is poised to play, therefore attracting massive investments.

The investment drive underscores how startups with exposure to artificial intelligence have become a bright spot in an otherwise subdued market of venture capital funding. Most of the startups continue to receive funding from big tech companies that seek exposure to game-changing innovations.

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