Friday, April 19, 2024

IBM unveils $500-million venture fund to invest on enterprise AI

Tech titan IBM has announced that it is launching a $500-million venture fund to invest in a range of AI companies — from early-stage to hyper-growth startups — focused on accelerating generative AI technology and research for the enterprise.

Led by a team at IBM with decades of combined experience as successful investors and enterprise AI experts, the fund will provide each startup with opportunities to develop partnerships with IBM, while gaining operational expertise on product and engineering and go-to-market strategies.

IBM has a long history of bringing enterprise AI technology and capabilities to organizations around the world and is capitalizing on the latest wave of AI innovation in generative AI with watsonx, the company’s AI and data platform.

With the IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund, the company will grow its ecosystem of AI partnerships — including working with companies leveraging and building on watsonx — and create long-term value for AI leaders as well as new and existing clients.

 “AI is slated to unlock nearly $16 trillion in productivity by 2030. With the launch of the IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund, we’re opening another channel to harness the enormous potential of the AI revolution into tangible, positive outcomes for IBM and the companies we invest in,” said Rob Thomas, senior vice president, software and chief commercial officera t IBM.

“This fund is yet another way we’re doubling down on our commitment to responsible AI innovation through watsonx and helping organizations put this transformational technology to work.”

IBM has demonstrated its commitment to promoting AI for business through its recent investments in AI technology and companies.

For example, IBM announced in August that it is participating in the $235M Series D funding round of Hugging Face, the open-source collaboration platform for the machine learning community building the future of AI.

IBM has contributed hundreds of open models and datasets on Hugging Face, including the recent release of the Geospatial Foundation Model in partnership with NASA. It is the largest geospatial foundation model on Hugging Face and the first-ever open-source AI foundation model built in collaboration with NASA.

IBM also recently participated in HiddenLayer’s Series A funding to expand its talent base, increase go-to-market efforts, and further invest in its award-winning Machine Learning Security (MLSec) Platform.

HiddenLayer is a security provider for AI models and assets, and this funding round marks the largest Series A funding raised by a cybersecurity company focused on protecting AI this year.

The venture fund announcement builds on the momentum and market adoption of IBM’s watsonx and furthers the company’s strategy of leveraging both third-party and its own AI models to accelerate open innovation in AI.

In September, IBM announced the general availability of the first models in the watsonx Granite model series — a collection of generative AI models to advance the infusion of generative AI into business applications and workflows.

IBM also confirmed that the standard contractual intellectual property protections for IBM products will apply to IBM-developed watsonx AI models.

Earlier this year, IBM also announced plans to host Meta’s Llama 2-chat 70 billion parameter model within watsonx, furthering the company’s strategy of leveraging both third-party and its own AI models to maintain open innovation.

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