Amazon Plans to Invest Up to $4 Billion in AI Startup Anthropic

Amazon has entered into a strategic investment in San Francisco-based Anthropic, founded by former members of OpenAI. The AI startup will train and deploy future models using AWS Trainium and Inferentia chips to train and deploy future foundation models with AWS as its primary cloud provider. In turn, Amazon says it will invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic, as it strives to compete with other technology firms in the race to develop generative AI, seeding growth for what is shaping up to be an entirely new economic and social landscape.

“The e-commerce group said it will initially invest $1.25 billion for a minority stake in Anthropic” with an “option to increase that to a total of $4 billion,” according to TechCrunch, which says Anthropic plans to raise $5 billion in the next two years.

Google and billionaire Peter Thiel have also invested in Anthropic. The New York Times says Microsoft has invested $13 billion in OpenAI, the firm behind ChatGPT and DALL-E. (CNBC and Computerworld have reported that Microsoft is taking up to 75 percent of OpenAI’s profits until recoups, at which point it will have a 49 percent stake.)

Earlier this year Anthropic debuted its large language model AI chatbot Claude, which it says is designed to be “helpful, honest, and harmless.” Claude 2 was widely made available to consumers this summer, including as a premium subscription, Time explains, comparing it to competitors.

Anthropic “plans to build a ‘frontier model’ — tentatively called ‘Claude-Next’ — that is 10 times more capable than today’s most powerful AI,” TechCrunch reports, based on information it obtained through a 2023 investor deck that explains that next step “will require a billion dollars in spending over the next 18 months.”

“The tech giants have been partnering with up-and-coming AI startups by providing them with computing power and cash to help them develop new models and applications,” writes NYT, adding that generative AI is enabling tools “seen as possessing the potential to automate many tasks, reshaping aspects of the global economy.”

NYT suggests that “partnering with Anthropic is a win for Amazon, which is competing against Microsoft and Google in cloud computing and has been trying to establish itself more deeply in AI,” while also making it more competitive against Nvidia “as a provider of the chips needed to run complex AI systems.”

“Anthropic deepens its commitment to AWS, making its future foundation models accessible to millions of developers and providing AWS customers early access to unique features for model customization, using their proprietary data, and fine-tuning capabilities, all through Amazon Bedrock,” according to an Amazon news release that indicates the company’s cloud will be used for “the majority” of Anthropic’s workload, including that deemed “mission critical.”

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