Amazon’s $4BN investment in AI startup Anthropic

Amazon has confirmed its plans to invest up to $4 billion into AI safety and research startup Anthropic. Anthropic is currently seen as OpenAI’s main rival, and was even founded by former OpenAI employees.

Amazon will initially be putting in a stake of $1.25 billion, and will raise the stake to $4 billion over time. Part of the deal also means that Anthropic will be deploying Amazon’s AWS custom chips to develop its AI software, as well as using AWS as its primary cloud provider.

Anthropic’s official statement claims that: “The agreement is part of a broader collaboration to develop the most reliable and high-performing foundation models in the industry. Our frontier safety research and products, together with Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) expertise in running secure, reliable infrastructure, will make Anthropic’s safe and steerable AI widely accessible to AWS customers.”

There’s no doubting the hype that surrounds AI, and massive corporations are itching to jump at the opportunity to invest in it. It was only a matter of time before Amazon would enter the AI race, and this investment was its way in.

This move from Amazon ensures that it is able to keep pace with other tech competitors, including Microsoft, as OpenAI has an exclusive deal with Microsoft, as well as the likes of Google and Meta.

Anthropic was founded back in 2021 after a group of OpenAI employees left over differences in their approach to AI safety. Since then, it has become one of the leading foundation model developers. The company has recently debuted its new AI chatbot called Claude 2. Anthropic has also received backing from Google (a $450 million investment), Spark Capital, Salesforce, Zoom and Sam Bankman-Fried, the founder of FTX. To date, the startup has raised $2.7 billion. In May this year, the startup was valued at around $5 billion when it secured a $450 million funding round.

The collaboration between the two companies is harmonious, as they have both publicly committed to the safe training and deployment of advanced foundation models. Both companies are engaged across a number of organisations to promote the responsible development and deployment of AI technologies, including the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI), the Partnership on AI (PAI), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In July 2023, Amazon and Anthropic independently supported a set of voluntary safety commitments led by the White House to ensure that the future of transformative AI is guided by safety, security, and trust.

Anthropic closed its official statement with this note: “Training state-of-the-art models requires extensive resources including compute power and research programs. Amazon’s investment and supply of AWS Trainium and Inferentia technology will ensure we’re equipped to continue advancing the frontier of AI safety and research. We look forward to working closely with Amazon to responsibly scale adoption of Claude and deliver safe AI cloud technologies to organizations around the world.”