Artificial intelligence Startups Venture

Sapphire Ventures Commits $1B-Plus To AI-Powered Tech Startups

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No venture capital firm wants to be left behind when it comes to the exploding world of AI.

On the same day San Francisco-based Anthropic released its newest version of its AI bot Claude, Sapphire Ventures said it will commit more than $1 billion to investing in AI-powered enterprise technology startups — including those in the generative AI space.

Sapphire is not new to the AI world. The firm said it has deployed $2.4 billion across 60 AI-focused companies to date, including startups ThoughtSpot, DataRobot and Clari.

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The new commitment will encompass all areas of the AI tech stack, including foundation models, middleware and AI applications.

“Sapphire has been backing AI startups for more than a decade, so we’ve seen many evolutions of the technology,” Jai Das, the firm’s president, partner and co-founder, said in a release. “Most recently, we’ve experienced a huge paradigm shift driven by GenAI and LLMs, which is transforming how we work and live. This next AI wave will replace task-specific models that have dominated the AI landscape to-date.”

More money

Of course, Sapphire is far from the only firm looking to put more cash into the AI space, which has seen tens of billions invested since with OpenAI’s unveiling of artificial intelligence tools ChatGPT late last year.

Just last month, SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son told investors the firm will shift from “defense mode” to “offense mode” and is looking at being the leader in the AI revolution.

The AI space is not a cheap one, however. Generative AI companies have raised huge rounds, starting in January with OpenAI’s reportedly $10 billion deal with Microsoft.

Others have followed since, including San Francisco-based Adept AI, which raised a $350 million Series B at a reported post-money valuation of at least $1 billion in March. In May, Anthropic raised a $450 million Series C that reportedly valued the company at $5 billion.

In late June “personal AI” startup Inflection AI nabbed a huge $1.3 billion round led by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and new investor Nvidia. The round valued Inflection AI at $4 billion, according to Forbes.

That is only a small sampling of the dozens of deals that have occurred — with more on the way.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman


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