Anthropic was founded by a group of former OpenAI employees, led by Dario Amodei after differences emerged in the direction of the firm following Microsoft’s $1 billion investment in 2019.
Amazon has entered into a major $4 billion investment deal with the AI startup Anthropic. This partnership marks Amazon’s effort to compete with tech giants like Microsoft, Meta, Google, and Nvidia in the rapidly growing AI sector. The investment includes an initial sum of $1.25 billion for a minority stake in Anthropic, with the potential for up to $4 billion in total.
Amazon’s aim is to establish a robust collaboration with Anthropic, similar to Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI, the force behind ChatGPT. In this venture, Anthropic will make use of Amazon’s cloud computing platform and dedicated AI chips to advance its AI models. Amazon, with its deep financial resources, will also provide computing power to assist in the development and distribution of AI products to cloud customers.
In the competitive landscape of AI, startups are vying for essential resources, such as expensive chips and data centre infrastructure, to build cutting-edge AI systems, including large language models. Anthropic, recently valued at nearly $5 billion in a funding round, is a prominent player in this wave of AI startups securing funding. Other notable examples include Inflection AI, which received $1.3 billion from Microsoft and NVIDIA, and Cohere in Toronto, which secured $270 million in investment from NVIDIA and others.
For Amazon, this deal represents its latest endeavour to tap into the growing excitement surrounding generative AI, a technology capable of generating human-like text and realistic images. Amazon is positioning its Trainium and Inferentia chips as alternatives to NVIDIA’s processors for training and running generative AI models. Anthropic’s Claude chatbot competes with ChatGPT and is already available on AWS’s Bedrock service, allowing customers to create generative AI applications in the cloud.
Anthropic was founded by a group of former OpenAI employees, led by Dario Amodei after differences emerged in the direction of the firm following Microsoft‘s $1 billion investment in 2019. Amodei has expressed confidence in the safety measures of the Amazon deal. The specific valuation and ownership stake held by Amazon will be determined in a subsequent funding round. Insiders familiar with the deal suggest that Amazon’s stake will be less than the 49% ownership sought by Microsoft in its investment in OpenAI.
As part of the investment agreement, Anthropic will primarily use Amazon’s cloud service, AWS, for essential workloads, including safety research and the development of future foundational AI models. Anthropic will also utilise AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips to create, train, and deploy its upcoming AI models.
Furthermore, Anthropic will offer AWS customers early access to distinctive features for model customisation and fine-tuning, though this will necessitate a billion-dollar investment over the next 18 months.
Anthropic, backed by Spark Capital, Salesforce, Sound Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Zoom, has raised a total of $2.7 billion thus far. The startup was valued at approximately $5 billion in May of this year when it secured $450 million in a funding round.