Startup News: Anthropic receives $4 billion investment from Amazon

In the world of generative artificial intelligence, Anthropic is currently overshadowed by OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT.

Last week, Anthropic and Amazon announced that Amazon is investing up to $4 billion in Anthropic in exchange for a minority stake in the San Francisco-based AI company.

In the press release announcing the investment, Anthropic said that Amazon Web Services will become Anthropic’s primary cloud provider for mission-critical workloads. “Our frontier safety research and products, together with Amazon Web Services’ expertise in running secure, reliable infrastructure, will make Anthropic’s safe and steerable AI widely accessible to AWS customers,” the company said.

Amazon’s stake in Anthropic is the latest effort by Big Tech to partner with leading private AI companies. In 2019, Microsoft invested $1 billion in OpenAI, which was followed up earlier this year with an additional $10 billion investment. As part of the growing relationship between the two companies, OpenAI’s chatbot technology is being used to improve Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

And in February 2023, Alphabet’s Google made a $400 million investment in Anthropic. Founded in 2017, Anthropic is known for Claude, a chatbot that in the words of the company is “capable of a wide variety of conversational and text processing tasks.” The company has also gained a reputation for seeking to develop AI technology that is guided by ethical considerations.

While Anthropic hasn’t released a valuation publicly, the company, according to sources quoted in The Information, was valued at $4.1 billion on a pre-investment basis in March 2023 prior to a $300 million investment round..

OpenAI in talks to selling existing shares at triple their recent valuation

Meanwhile, Anthropic competitor, OpenAI, made some big news of its own last week.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the AI startup is talking to investors about a sale of shares that would value the company at $80 billion to $90 billion, roughly triple its level set earlier this year.

The Journal article states that the company officials have told investors that it expects to reach $1 billion in revenue this year and generate billions more next year, according to people familiar with the share-sale discussions.

“The deal is expected to allow employees to sell their existing shares as opposed to the company issuing new ones to raise additional capital,” added The Journal.

Agility Robotics building its first line of humanoid robots

While both Anthropic and OpenAI have developed bots that mimic human thought, their inventions don’t resemble humans in physical form.

That’s where Agility Robotics enters the picture. A recent article on the CNBC website reports that the company is finishing construction on a factory in Salem, Oregon that will begin mass-producing a line of humanoid robots, called Digit. “Each robot has two legs and two arms and is engineered to maneuver freely and work alongside humans in warehouses and factories,” the article says.

By developing a prototype of a humanoid robot and setting up a factory where it can be mass-produced, Agility Robotics has currently surpassed would-be competitors including Tesla with its Optimus initiative, CNBC reports.

About the Author

John Kimelman is a veteran journalist who has worked at Barron’s and CNBC covering such topics as investing and commercial banking. Mr. Kimelman has received compensation from Forge Global, Inc. for authoring this article. Read more from John.

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