Cohere, a Toronto-based AI startup has secured $250 million in fresh funding from investors, including Nvidia, Salesforce, Inovia Capital, and Index Ventures.
The deal values the Canadian firm at around $2 billion, according to the reports. The funding round is a sign of continued growth for the generative AI sector, which has boomed since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT last year.
With this funding round, Cohere is looking to bolster its position in the crowded AI sector, where it faces competition from deep-pocketed companies such as Microsoft.
In 2019, the company raised $170 million from investors including Index, Tiger Global, and the well-known AI researchers Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, and Pieter Abbeel.
Helping businesses deploy AI-driven products
Founded in 2019 by two Canadian ex-Google researchers — Aidan Gomez and Nick Frosst, Cohere has been building technology that businesses can use to deploy chatbots, search engines, and other AI-driven products.
The company is competing with tech industry giants and a handful of other start-ups in building technology that could rival systems under development at OpenAI.
ChatGPT has captured the attention of millions of people with its ability to write term papers and poetry, generate computer code, and answer questions.
As the chatbot’s popularity has grown, the tech industry has shifted its focus to generative AI technologies.
While many companies are exploring this new area of AI, only a few have the resources to build the technologies from the ground up.
These companies, which have an unusual blend of experienced researchers, large amounts of money, and enormous ambition, have been the focus of investors pouring money into the few companies leading the way in generative AI.
Cohere’s success is due in part to the fact that the company lets partner companies use its models without having access to their data.
The company’s co-founder and CEO, Aidan Gomez, said Cohere would not compete directly with OpenAI. “We won’t offer a consumer offering, we won’t compete with ChatGPT in that sense. They are very focused on consumer deployment and we’re much more focused on the enterprise,” he said.
The company has already teamed up with Spotify to improve podcast recommendations and search, and AI copywriting company, Jasper.
Cohere is building a large language model capable of conversing with users, but it is focusing its efforts on the enterprise, rather than individual consumers.