Startup Anthropic is considered the strongest OpenAI competitor next to Google. Now it has raised another $450 million investment.
The money comes from venture capitalist Spark Capital and includes Google, Salesforce, and Zoom. The latter recently announced AI applications for Zoom based on Anthropic’s language models, such as managing the Zoom contact center.
According to Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei, the money will be invested in research and product development. In announcing the investment, Anthropic talks about improvements to its APIs as well as “chat products”. The company’s valuation is estimated at four billion US dollars.
Technically, Anthropic is already on par with OpenAI: A benchmark by Chatbot Arena shows that Anthropic’s chat model Claude is almost as popular with users as GPT-4.
In addition, Anthropic offers a larger context window for Claude than OpenAI has announced for GPT-4. With a large context window, a language model or chatbot can incorporate more context into a response or text generation.
Anthropic’s focus on AI safety
Transparency and security are a particular focus for Anthropic. Co-founder Amodei was the head of security at OpenAI before starting Anthropic in 2021. In addition to Amodei, other former OpenAI employees founded the project.
“The funding will support our continued work developing helpful, harmless, and honest AI systems,” the blog post announcing the investment reads.
For its own language model, Claude, Anthropic is taking a different approach to alignment – adapting an AI model to human needs – than OpenAI: The startup is eschewing learning from human feedback (RLHF), which OpenAI uses, and instead letting the AI generate its own feedback. It has also given Claude a set of rules, a constitution, as Anthropic calls it. OpenAI is likewise working on AI alignment.
But even with a new investment of $450 million and total capital of about $1.5 billion, Anthropic is significantly less well funded than OpenAI, which has at least a $10 billion investment from Microsoft behind it.
Anthropic expects to need another $5 billion in capital over the next two years. In addition to Anthropic, Inflection AI ($225) and Adept ($415) recently closed significant investment rounds.
The size of these investments is notable against a backdrop of general market fatigue: Rising interest rates are reducing risk appetite, and a series of tech stock collapses have added to the sector’s caution. For now, it seems, the only thing that can get tech investors excited is artificial intelligence.