sourcegraph
June 6, 2023

Toronto-based artificial intelligence startup Cohere has raised $250 million in new funding, two people familiar with the matter said, in another sign of frenzied interest in a new type of artificial intelligence technology.

The deal values ​​Cohere at about $2 billion, the people said. Investors include Internet software giant Salesforce, chipmaker Nvidia, Toronto venture capital firm Inovia Capital and Silicon Valley firm Index Ventures.

Founded in 2019, the startup previously raised $170 million from investors including Index, Tiger Global and prominent AI researchers Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li and Pieter Abbeel.

The technology Cohere builds can be used by other businesses to deploy chatbots, search engines and other artificial intelligence-driven products. It’s a small group of companies — including tech industry titans and a handful of startups — that are building technology comparable to the systems being developed by OpenAI, a San Francisco startup that turned on artificial intelligence last November. The generation boom came with the release of the chatbot ChatGPT.

Cohere was founded by Aidan Gomez and Nick Frosst, two Canadian researchers who worked on artificial intelligence at Google, and Toronto entrepreneur Ivan Zhang. Mr. Gomez is one of the Google researchers who published a major research paper that helped develop ChatGPT and similar technologies.

ChatGPT has captured the imagination of millions with its ability to answer questions, write term papers and poems, and generate computer code. As chatbots grow in popularity, the tech industry is turning to generative artificial intelligence — technology that can generate text, images and other media based on short prompts.

Many companies are exploring the fringes of this new field, but only a few have the resources to build the technology from the ground up. These companies have an unusual blend of experienced researchers, ambition and a lot of money.

While investors have been reluctant to fund other startups, they have been pouring money into the handful of companies at the forefront of generative artificial intelligence

In February, Microsoft invested $10 billion in OpenAI, bringing its total investment in the company to $13 billion. In March, Character.ai, another startup building online chatbots, raised $150 million in a funding round that valued the company at $1 billion.

The result of more than a decade of research inside companies like OpenAI, generative AI companies are poised to reinvent everything from internet search engines like Microsoft Bing to digital tutors.



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