As part of a series of announcements made today by the software developer Salesforce, the company doubled the amount it is pledging to invest in startups that are developing generative AI technologies.
The fund, which was launched originally on 7 March this year, aims to “bolster the startup ecosystem and spark the development of responsible generative AI”. The initiative is backed by Salesforce Ventures – the company’s venture capital arm.
Salesforce is expanding the number of companies that will be receiving funding from this program to incorporate Humane and Tribble. The initial recipients were Anthropic, the company behind the AI model Claude, Cohere, Hearth.AI, and You.com.
“This transformative partnership through investment with Salesforce gives us the opportunity to bridge the gap between consumers and enterprise, fueled by the remarkable capabilities of AI”, commented the head of Humane, Bethany Borgiorno.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Tribble, Sunil Rao, said: “Working with Salesforce Ventures and a company like Salesforce that embodies innovation is a critical step in recognizing our vision”.
Back in March, John Somorjai, the Executive VP of Salesforce Ventures and the company’s head of Corporate Development commented that the firm is “these initial investments from the fund in generative AI companies fit squarely into that strategy”.
“This fund will accelerate our commitment to fostering the next generation of innovation and we’re excited to see how these companies reinvent how the world works”, Somorjai added.
Companies within the up-and-coming AI industry have received billions of dollars in the past year, primarily due to the undisputed success of the generative AI solution ChatGPT from OpenAI – which attracted over 100 million users in just a couple of months.
Anthropic, one of the firms benefitted by Salesforce Ventures’ funding program, recently received a total of $450 million during its Series C funding round from a group of investors led by Spark Capital.
Similarly, Cohere raised $270 million just a few days ago during its Series C funding round led by Inovia Capital. Prominent tech companies including NVIDIA and Oracle participated in the round.
Salesforce Launches the AI Cloud for Enterprise
The announcement comes on the same day that Salesforce shared a new solution called AI Cloud that allows enterprises to integrate generative AI into the firm’s flagship customer relationship management (CRM).
With AI cloud, companies can enable users to tap on this groundbreaking technology to fully automate tasks that are regularly time-consuming and tedious like drafting e-mails, summarizing the most relevant topics discussed in a meeting, creating personalized responses to customers, generating drafts for code, and even suggesting fixes for existing coding.
Salesforce’s research indicates that over two-thirds of business leaders are considering the implementation of generative AI within the next 18 months. However, they also think that the technology comes with significant security risks that need to be tackled before it can be fully deployed. Some of those risks include hallucinations, bias, access and management of sensitive data, and privacy issues.
Salesforce is responding to these concerns by introducing a new solution called the Einstein GPT Trust Layer, which is a protocol that prevents the company’s large language model (LLM) from retaining sensitive data.
“AI Cloud, built on the #1 CRM, is the fastest and easiest way for our customers to unleash the incredible power of AI, with trust at the center driven by our new Einstein GPT Trust Layer. AI Cloud will unlock incredible innovation, productivity, and efficiency for every company”, commented the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce, Marc Benioff in regards to this new product.
Salesforce will allow enterprise customers to use third-party LLMs including those offered by companies such as Amazon (AMZN) and Cohere along with the company’s own LLMs – i.e. CodeGen, CodeT5+, and other similar solutions. Developers will also be able to connect their own LLMs.