AI21 nabs $53 million more to challenge OpenAI in enterprise generative AI

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AI21, an organization that competes with OpenAI to serve enterprise firms with generative AI programs, has chosen an opportune time to announce extra funding.

Whereas competitor OpenAI is reeling from inner chaos and revolt, and will collapse after the vast majority of its workers have supported a letter calling upon that firm’s board to resign, AI21 has raised $53 million extra for its sequence C spherical of funding, at a valuation of $1.4 billion, and brings the spherical to a complete of $208 million. The corporate has now raised $336 million.

OpenAI is certainly one of a handful of different firms, together with Cohere and Anthropic, that provide massive language mannequin (LLM)-driven AI programs to the enterprise that compete with OpenAI, however which aren’t open-sourced. 

And with OpenAI wanting very unstable, enterprise firms searching for security could we resolve to hesitate earlier than persevering with with OpenAI merchandise, and take into account different choices.

Corporations want alternative, robustness and security, stated Yoav Shoham, co-founder and co-CEO in an interview with VentureBeat. He stated A121 works intently with enterprise firms, providing a form of “white-glove” service to them to make sure they’ve what they want, and that’s not one thing OpenAI can do.

The corporate has 250 workers, and relies in Tel Aviv. The most recent traders embrace Intel Capital and Comcast Ventures. These traders be a part of quite a few different traders, together with large names like Nvidia and Google.

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My preliminary interview with Shoham befell a number of days earlier than the weekend’s occasions that threw OpenAI into turmoil. He declined to touch upon what the OpenAI mess means for his firm after I closed the loop with him yesterday. However in his feedback even earlier than the OpenAI blowup occurred, Shoham expressed confidence about his firm’s place available in the market versus OpenAI.

AI21 additionally stated it had appointed the previous US Ambassador to Israel and former chief of Morgan Stanely, Tom Nides, as a board member. 

OpenAI is the primary firm AI21 sees when competing for offers, Shoham stated, however it’s usually not seeing anybody else. His firm does properly in opposition to OpenAI when it does see them, he added.

OpenAI did properly by creating pleasure with its general-purpose LLMs like ChatGPT, which carry out properly in chat format, and make it simple for a whole lot of thousands and thousands of individuals to play with. However the chat interface is often not one of the best ways to work with massive language fashions, Shoham stated.

ChatGPT for the enterprise ChatGPT is just not a mannequin, he stated. It’s an software below which there’s a mannequin that requires a chat modality. “It’s generally proper, generally completely not what you need.”

By sticking with common goal providing, OpenAI is “betting on brute drive” and lags at doing particular duties very properly, however that specificity is often what enterprise firms want. He stated OpenAI is just not arrange business-wise to work intently with firms: “It’s simply not their mannequin,” Shoham stated. OpenAI works at scale, serving greater than 100 million customers, he stated.

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As a substitute, enterprise firms require robustly programmed functions for deployment, which requires much more work. He stated scripting instruments like Langchain that builders have adopted to tug in OpenAI’s LLMs by way of an API “level in the suitable path, however true enterprise AI requires full packages to be written.” He added: “In two years, I guess we received’t be speaking about LLMs, however about ‘AI programs,’ Shoham stated. 

He stated OpenAI’s large value drop for its companies was probably the most important announcement from OpenAI’s DevDay occasion two weeks in the past. It confirmed the corporate’s willingness to lose cash to seize market share — which isn’t essentially a foul technique, Shoham stated.

AI21, against this, is constructing each general-purpose LLMs and task-specific massive language fashions, with algorithms round them that make them strong for these duties, Shoham stated. A121’s summarization mannequin, for instance, was ranked higher than GPT-4, ChatGPT and Claude by a big margin, when examined by a big monetary establishment, Shoham stated, declining to call the corporate. 

The problem of working with LLMs within the enterprise has meant that these firms have been slower to undertake generative AI. Nevertheless, enterprise curiosity “has exploded over the past six months,” he stated. “Corporations have moved from sporadic experimentation to mass experimentation….Inside a yr you’re going to see actual cash.”

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