Inflection lands $1.3B investment to build more ‘personal’ AI

There’s still plenty of cash to go around in the generative AI space, apparently.

As first reported by Forbes, Inflection AI, an AI startup aiming to create “personal AI for everyone,” has closed a $1.3 billion funding round led by Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt and new investor Nvidia. A source familiar with the matter tells TechCrunch the tranche, which brings the company’s total raised to $1.525 billion, values Inflection at $4 billion.

CEO Mustafa Suleyman, who previously co-founded the Google-owned AI lab DeepMind, says that the new capital will support Inflection’s work to build and design its first product, an AI-powered assistant called Pi.

“Personal AI is going to be the most transformational tool of our lifetimes. This is truly an inflection point,” Suleyman said in a canned statement. “We’re excited to collaborate with Nvidia, Microsoft, and CoreWeave as well as Eric, Bill and many others to bring this vision to life.”

Palo Alto, California-based Inflection, which has a small team of around 35 employees, has kept a relatively low profile to date, granting few interviews to the media. But in May, Inflection launched the aforementioned Pi, which is designed to provide knowledge based on a person’s interests and needs. Available to test via a messaging app or online, Pi’s intended to be a “kind” and “supportive” companion, Inflection says — offering “friendly” advice and info in a “natural, flowing” style.

Inflection sample shown on smartphone screen

Inflection’s personal AI assistant, which offers “friendly” advice. Image Credits: Inflection

Inflection recently peeled back the curtains on Inflection-1, the AI model powering Pi, asserting that it’s competitive or superior with other models in its tier — namely OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 and Google’s PaLM-540B. According to results from the company, Inflection-1 indeed performs well on various measures, like middle- and high school-level exam tasks and “common sense” benchmarks. But it falls behind on coding, where GPT-3.5 beats it handily and, for comparison, OpenAI’s GPT-4 smokes the competition.

In pursuit of larger and more capable models, Inflection says it’s working with Nvidia and CoreWeave, a GPU cloud provider, to build what it claims is one of the largest AI training clusters in the world, comprising 22,000 Nvidia H100 GPUs.

It has the cash to do so now, one would presume. With the closing of the latest tranche, Inflection sits behind OpenAI (which has raised $11.3 billion to date) as the second-best-funded generative AI startup — edging out Anthropic ($1.5 billion). Well behind it are Cohere ($445 million), Adept ($415 million), Runway ($237 million), ($150 million) and Stability AI (~$100 million).

Despite the difficult macroeconomic environment, money’s still pouring into generative AI startups, indeed. According to PitchBook, roughly $1.7 billion was generated across 46 deals in Q1 2023, with an additional $10.68 billion worth of deals announced sometime in the quarter but not yet completed.