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Google agreed to invest up to $2 billion in Anthropic, the artificial intelligence startup founded by ex-OpenAI executives, CNBC has confirmed.
The commitment involves a $500 million upfront cash infusion and an additional $1.5 billion to be invested over time, an Anthropic spokesperson told CNBC. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on the planned financing.
A Google spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.
Anthropic is the developer of Claude 2, a rival chatbot to OpenAI’s ChatGPT that’s used by companies including Slack, Notion and Quora. The company was founded in 2021 and, in addition to Google, has received funding from Salesforce and Zoom and was valued earlier this year at $4.1 billion.
Claude 2 has the ability to summarize up to about 75,000 words, which could be the length of a book. Users can input large data sets and ask for summaries in the form of a memo, letter or story. ChatGPT, by contrast, can handle about 3,000 words.
Research by Arthur AI, a machine learning monitoring platform, found Claude 2 to be most reliable chatbot in terms of “self-awareness,” meaning accurately gauging what it does and doesn’t know, and answering only questions it had training data to support. Arthur AI tested chatbots from Meta, Cohere and OpenAI.
In April, Google invested $300 million in the company, taking a 10% stake. That same month, Anthropic was one of four companies invited to a meeting at the White House to discuss responsible AI development with Vice President Kamala Harris. Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and OpenAI were the others.
Anthropic quickly turned around and raised a $450 million round in May. At the time, it marked the largest funding round for an AI company since Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI in January, according to PitchBook data.
Anthropic was founded by Dario Amodei, OpenAI’s former vice president of research, and his sister, Daniela Amodei, who was OpenAI’s vice president of safety and policy. Several other OpenAI research alumni were also on Anthropic’s founding team.
Amodei told CNBC in July that Anthropic invested at least two months in developing its newest chatbot, with a team of 30 to 35 people working directly on the AI model and a total of 150 people supporting it. She said the market is growing so rapidly that there’s plenty of room for multiple players to succeed.
“It’s a really unusual time from a business perspective because there’s just so much demand for large language models and really more demand than the industry can currently provide,” Amodei said at the time. “The landscape is just very wide, and there’s really quite a lot of room for many different users and types of users to make use of these systems.”
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