Amazon.com Inc. will invest as much as $4 billion in Anthropic, giving the startup a boost in its quest to become a major player in generative artificial intelligence.
Anthropic will use Amazon Web Services’ homegrown chips to train the models it uses to power chatbots and other applications under the deal, which involves moving most of its software to Amazon Web Services data centers. Aside from access to Amazon’s computing power, Anthropic will receive a financial infusion that will allow it to pay for the training and operation of massive AI models. Anthropic and Amazon said on Monday that Amazon would hold a minority stake.
The e-commerce and cloud computing leader has a history of investing in strategic partners, such as cargo airlines, grocery distributors, and electric truck manufacturers. While Amazon often choose to develop their own products, rather than making big purchases from others, the potential to invest $4 billion in Anthropic would be the largest corporate deal involving AWS. In a market of exaggerated billion-dollar valuations, Amazon’s approach is more conservative with modest acquisitions. According to Amazon, both AWS engineers and those outside of the unit will have access to Anthropic’s models.
The world’s largest seller of data storage and computing power on-demand is Amazon Web Services. Due to the lack of a hit product and an exclusive partner in the emerging field of computer models trained to generate text, images and other content, it has been widely viewed as a laggard. OpenAI runs its software on Microsoft Corp.’s data centers, a $13 billion deal that has sparked a renewal for Amazon’s neighbor in Seattle.
According to Amazon, generative artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, and it has already been used by more than 100,000 customers. Anthropic’s foundational model, called Claude, was already available as part of an Amazon service called Bedrock, still in early release,
Through our deeper collaboration, we believe we can help improve many customer experiences, short- and long-term,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said.
As part of the deal, Amazon will also be able to build and train machine-learning processors called Trainium and Inferentia, which are designed in-house. Anthropic will use Amazon Web Services chips to build and train its future foundational model, according to the companies. The companies said most cutting-edge artificial intelligence applications depend on Nvidia Corp. chips, which are hard to come by.
Founded by OpenAI veterans, Anthropic has raised more than $1 billion to date with a pitch to create a safer type of chatbot for tasks such as summarizing, searching, answering questions, and coding. Anthropic’s backers include Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which invested almost $400 million in the company in February, according to Bloomberg. Google also builds models used in generative AI.
AWS’s leading cloud technology and Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems can unlock new possibilities for organizations of all sizes,” said Anthropic co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei.