(CTN News) – As part of its effort to compete with growing cloud rivals, Amazon.com announced Monday it would invest $4 billion in Anthropic, an artificial intelligence startup.
As part of the deal, Amazon’s employees and cloud customers will gain early access to technology from Anthropic. Additionally, the San Francisco-based startup committed to relying primarily on cloud services, including training its future AI models using the online retailer’s proprietary chips.
As part of their joint interview, the CEOs of cloud division and Anthropic said the initial investment would be $1.25 billion, with either party able to trigger another $2.75 billion in funding from Amazon.
The company declined to reveal how much Amazon would own of Anthropic or its updated valuation, last estimated at more than $4 billion. The company said it would not gain a board seat and that its stake amounted to a minority stake.
This announcement represents perhaps biggest response to Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google, smaller cloud rivals that have marketed or developed powerful AI this year. As part of the deal, cloud companies are also establishing ties with AI startups that are reshaping their industry.
Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in its partnership with ChatGPT creator OpenAI, giving its customers special access to the startup’s prose-writing and image-generating technology.
In May, Google invested in Anthropic’s $450-million fundraise, a relationship the startup said will continue.
With Monday’s deal, Amazon could experience an increase in demand, including for chips that power artificial intelligence. Among other things, Amazon agreed to work with Anthropic on developing technology for its in-house Trainium and Inferentia chips.
According to Web Services’ CEO Adam Selipsky, the agreement “will help make Anthropic’s models better, as well as our chip technology and AI infrastructure.”
CEO Dario Amodei said Anthropic “has obtained the money in a manner that prioritizes safety” and “allows us to continue to scale up our models.”
STILL TIERED TO GOOGLE
One of the companies building so-called generative AI is Anthropic, founded by former OpenAI executives including Amodei. Using AI to adhere to moral values has been an important aspect of Anthropic’s work.
It was not immediately clear whether Amodei’s latest financing was competitive.
A deal between Anthropic and Google was announced in February, he said. Google’s custom chips are being used by Anthropic, and the company plans to make its technology available through Google Cloud.
Anthropic is giving Amazon Bedrock a boost with Monday’s deal, a service that has attracted thousands of users.
Amazon’s customers will benefit from Anthropic’s AI customization features early on. Claude will be available on Amazon Bedrock for many years to come, according to Selipsky.
Anthropic’s Claude 2 is an AI model that can handle large prompts, making it perfect for analyzing documents.
“This deal allows us to work more closely to drive enterprise usage for Claude,” he said, which represents much of the demand on Bedrock so far.
Data analytics company LexisNexis is working with Anthropic and Amazon to make its own legal search more “intelligent,” Amodei said. Lonely Planet and Bridgewater Associates are also customers, he said.
OpenAI, the startup behind the GPT-4 model and ChatGPT, one of history’s fastest-growing software applications, has gotten more recognition and usage than Anthropic.
Cloud services from Amazon have a wide range of AI models, so customers don’t need to look elsewhere.
“I honestly don’t know what the future holds,” said Selipsky, when asked if would invest in more AI startups than Anthropic.