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IBM launches $500 million fund to develop generative AI for businesses

IBM announced on November 7 the launch of a $500 million Enterprise AI Venture Fund that the company said will focus on “accelerating generative AI technology and research for the enterprise “.

Generative AI products aimed at the consumer market, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard, have dominated the news in 2023.

IBM focuses primarily on enterprise solutions for its generative AI products such as its Watson X platform and numerous cloud offerings.

According to Rob Thomas, senior vice president at IBM, generative AI technologies will drive productivity and profitability throughout the next decade:

“AI is expected to generate nearly $16 trillion in productivity by 2030. With the launch of the IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund, we are opening another channel to harness the enormous potential of the AI ​​revolution and generate tangible, positive results for IBM and businesses. in which we invest.

Details remain scarce on exactly how IBM intends to invest its new $500 million AI Venture Fund. According to a company blog post, the fund will primarily focus on generative AI technology and will be used “to invest in a range of AI companies – from early-stage to hyper-startups.” growth”.

The fund follows IBM’s participation in a $235 million Series D funding round in August for generative AI company Hugging Face, a company known for its extensive transformer libraries – foundational technology building blocks for Generative Pretrained Transformer (GPT) AI models.

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With the recent round of investments, including participation in the A round of machine learning security platform Hidden Layer, IBM continues its current trend of investing in enterprise AI startups while actively supporting the development of open source platforms, models and protocols.

“With hundreds of models open on the Hugging Face hub, they significantly strengthen the open source ecosystem,” said Clem Delangue, co-founder and CEO of Hugging Face, in an IBM press release. “This is why we wanted them to join our Series D,” he continued, adding “I am confident that they will be able to accelerate their impact on AI with the IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund.”