Top AI startup news of the week: Anthropic hits the Google jackpot | VentureBeat

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All other AI startup news got blown out of the water this morning, when word got out that Google will invest over $300 million into AI lab Anthropic, one of the buzziest AI startups in recent memory (partly thanks to its massive early investment by Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX) and one of OpenAI’s biggest rivals for the LLM (large language model) space.

But, there were a few other startups that made news as well — from those in autonomous driving to retail self-checkout. Here are the headlines:

1. Anthropic to get $300 million from Google for generative AI

According to new reporting from the Financial Times, Google has invested $300 million in one of the most buzzy OpenAI rivals, AI lab startup Anthropic, whose recently-debuted generative AI model Claude is considered competitive with ChatGPT.

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According to the reporting, Google will take a stake of around 10% and Anthropic will be required to use the money to buy computing resources from Google Cloud. The new funding will value the San Francisco-based company at around $5 billion.

2. Phantom AI raises fresh $36 million for autonomous driving platform

Silicon Valley’s Phantom AI offers a comprehensive autonomous driving platform featuring computer vision, sensor fusion and control capabilities. Founders Hyunggi Cho and Chan Kyu Lee, formerly from Tesla and Hyundai, seek to democratize technologies including automatic emergency braking and emergency lane support as the better way to build autonomous vehicles and advance the future of smart cars. 

The new round of funding will be used to accelerate the current series production development with major automobile manufacturers. The company has raised a total of $80.2 million since its 2017 founding. 

3. Standard AI acquires Skip to combine retail self-checkout and autonomous checkout

San Francisco-based Standard AI offers an AI-powered, cloud-based autonomous checkout solution that allows shoppers to shop and go without waiting in line or stopping to scan and pay. It announced it will acquire Skip, which offers a self-checkout solution with a cloud-based point of sale, integrations and a kiosk.

With the acquisition, Standard AI says it will become “the only company to connect self-checkout with AI-powered autonomous checkout into one integrated experience.” It will also integrate Skips technology with Standard’s back office ecosystem to “streamline operations and give greater control over price, discounts, promotions, and more.” 

4. BridgeWise snags $13 million for generative AI investment research tools

Tel Aviv-based BridgeWise, formerly known as Deshe Analytics, announced a $13M round to further the firm’s mission to make high-end investment research tools accessible to global investors using generative AI.

Fintech BridgeWise was founded in 2019 and developed an AI-based equity research-as-a-service and insight platform. “We bridge the gap to enable any kind of investor — institutional or retail — to understand their position in the market, on any stock, in any language, in a professional yet simplified manner,” Dor Eligula, cofounder and chief business officer at BridgeWise, told Traders Magazine.

5. Lavender brings in $13 million in funding for AI-powered sales-email coaching

New York City-based Lavender, an AI-powered sales email coaching platform, announced it has raised $13.2 million in funding. The tool integrates with email providers to offer context on sales prospects and suggest ways to optimize messages.

“Lavender’s platform goes beyond basic AI-generated writing to augment — rather than automate — sales outreach and humanize every interaction. It supercharges sales reps by reducing their time spent writing emails so that they can focus on building relationships and selling products,” said Scott Beechuk, partner at Norwest Venture Partners, in a press release.

6. Instill AI raises $3.6 million to derive insights from unstructured data

Instill AI, a London-based startup providing tools to tackle unstructured data, has raised $3.6M in a seed round, led by venture capital firm RTP Global. The funding will help the startup build on its mission to help organizations extract untapped value from unstructured data — including, text, images and video — by making AI more accessible to companies of all sizes.

Ping-Lin Chang, CEO and cofounder of Instill AI, said: “Unstructured data can be more analyzable, if AI is more accessible. At Instill AI, we are committed to making this happen. We believe that machine learning and AI should be as easy to access as other off-the-shelf cloud services in the software industry today. This seed investment helps us speed up the development and strengthen the readiness of the VDP, bringing us one step closer to making the solution to this problem a reality.”

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