Cohere, an enterprise-focused generative artificial intelligence startup, has raised $270 million in a Series C round of venture capital that includes the AI giant Nvidia as an investor.
As big tech companies race to secure their positions at the top of AI ecosystems, corporate giants are making multiple investments in startups. In Cohere’s new round, Oracle and Salesforce were also investors. The $270 million round was more than Cohere, which is just four years old, has raised a total of $175 million to date. Cohere is one of the companies in which the new generative AI fund Salesforce Ventures is investing.
Microsoftwhich backs OpenAI with billions of dollars, recently agreed to spend billions on AI infrastructure from CoreWeave, in which Nvidia is already an investor.
OpenAI ranked No. 1 on CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list for 2023. Cohere ranked No. 44.
Cohere builds AI tools that can power copywriting, search and summarization, and sees an opportunity to grow in the market and differentiate itself from OpenAI by focusing on enterprise concerns about private data being fed into large language models. OpenAI is built on an open source platform that requires large amounts of data to train its model. OpenAI is working with enterprise customers to address these concerns, and is also signing deals with large firms to embed its next-generation AI engines in sectors from technology to financial services, while providing a firewall around corporate data. It is
Cohere says current customers include global streaming platforms, apparel companies and companies that use the platform to streamline customer service or improve content moderation capabilities. and they recently partnered with conversational commerce and AI software company LivePerson to offer customized large language models for businesses.
“We want to build this toolkit that’s accessible to every developer,” co-founder and CEO Aidan Gomez told CNBC in June 2022.
More recently, he told CNBC, “What you’re going to see is that people are going to become ten times more efficient at what they do,” he said, though he stressed that adopting AI and accelerating it in the workplace will take years. “The reality is that it’s going to be a slow process over the next half-decade and there will be time to adapt and change your own work,” he said.
A new U.S. workforce survey released Thursday by CNBC and SurveyMonkey shows that roughly a quarter of U.S. workers fear that artificial intelligence will soon make their jobs obsolete. Majorities say they are not using AI today, but many workers (43%) say they expect their jobs to change significantly in the next five years due to AI disruption.
Cohere’s founders have strong ties to Alphabetis google. Gomez and Nick Fross are former members of the Google Brain team (an artificial intelligence research team now under Google Research). Gomez, Cohere’s CEO, is working with others at Alphabet’s Google to develop Transformers, a new natural language processing method that improves contextual awareness and accuracy.
In November 2022, Cohere partnered with Google’s cloud platform to train its models.
Nvidia’s share price has risen more than 160% this year, buoyed by booming sales of AI chips, as investors view it as one of the tech giants likely to dominate the evolving AI landscape. Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang expressed confidence in Cohere, saying in a press release announcing the funding, “The Cohere team has made seminal contributions to generative AI. Their service will help businesses around the world take advantage of these opportunities to automate and accelerate.”
“We’re on the verge of real rollout, so I think the bottom line is all this work that’s being done to transform every product, every single company,” Gomez told CNBC in May.
The new funding round for Cohere was led by Inovia Capital and also included DTCP, Mirae Asset, Schroders Capital, a former Disruptor 50 SentinelOneThomvest Ventures and Index Ventures for returning investors.