OpenAI rival Anthropic raised $450 million from Google and others



Dario Amodei of Anthropic, right, arrives to the White House for a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris on artificial intelligence, Thursday, May 4, 2023, in Washington.

Evan Vucci | AP

Anthropic, an artificial intelligence startup founded in 2021 by former OpenAI research execs, is taking full advantage of the market hype.

The company on Tuesday said it raised $450 million, which marks the largest AI funding round this year since Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI in January, according to PitchBook data. 

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Despite a dramatic slowdown in the market for startup financing since early 2022, venture investors are still pouring cash into companies with a compelling story in generative AI, as Microsoft, Google and others race to embed new AI models into their core products.

Google is among the lead investors in Anthropic’s latest funding round, alongside Salesforce Ventures, Zoom Ventures and Spark Capital. The announcement comes two months after Anthropic raised $300 million in funding at a $4.1 billion valuation.

A month before that, Google invested $300 million in the company, taking a 10% stake. Notably, the backer is listed as Google and not one of the Alphabet’s investment arms, GV or CapitalG.

Anthropic is the company behind Claude, a rival chatbot to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. It 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. 

“This is definitely a big deal in the generative AI space,” said Ali Javaheri, an associate research analyst at PitchBook. It “shows that OpenAI is not the only player in the game, that it’s still a very competitive space,” he said.

Earlier this 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 other tech names. 

And in March, Anthropic announced that Claude would be available in Slack via a chatbot app. Early customers of Claude include Notion, DuckDuckGo and Quora.

The company declined to name additional customers besides Slack.

Sandy Banerjee, a representative for Anthropic, told CNBC the funding will be used “to continue training safer models, including future versions of Claude.”

“Our team is focused on AI alignment techniques that allow AI systems to better handle adversarial conversations, follow precise instructions and generally be more transparent about their behaviors and limitations,” Anthropic’s blog post said. 

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