Amazon has announced a deal to invest up to $4 billion in AI startup Anthropic. The agreement includes an initial investment of $1.25 billion, which will give Amazon a minority stake in the company. This substantial investment represents a significant expansion of the existing partnership between the two companies to advance the development of next-generation AI systems.
The funding comes alongside a deal designating Amazon Web Services (AWS) as Anthropic's primary cloud provider. Anthropic will leverage AWS's Trainium and Inferentia chips to build, train and deploy its flagship Claude model and future foundation models.
In return, AWS gains exclusive early access to Anthropic's technology. AWS customers will be able to tap into Claude and other Anthropic models via the Amazon Bedrock managed service. This will enable organizations to incorporate advanced natural language processing into their applications and workflows.
Prior to this deal, Anthropic had raised $450 million in a Series C round earlier this year that valued the startup at around $5 billion. Last month, the company also received a $100 million investment from SK Telecom. Today's Amazon-Anthropic agreement echoes a similar strategic partnership between Microsoft and OpenAI. Microsoft has invested over $10 billion in OpenAI to date and is the exclusive cloud provider for its GPT foundation models.
"This collaboration connects Anthropic's leading safety research with AWS's capabilities for securely scaling access to next-gen AI," said Dario Amodei, Anthropic's CEO. "Together we can accelerate development of foundation models that organizations of all sizes can responsibly build on."
Like the Microsoft-OpenAI deal, the new Amazon-Anthropic partnership couples major funding with technical collaboration and early access to key AI technology. Amazon's willingness to make such a sizable investment likely stems from witnessing Microsoft's success in securing exclusive access to OpenAI's GPT models. As Maginative reported last month, Amazon previously missed opportunities to partner with OpenAI, Cohere and Anthropic when they were early stage startups.
The runaway success and immense popularity of AI applications like ChatGPT built on Microsoft's cloud infrastructure appears to have been a wake-up call for Amazon. Despite previously dominating the cloud AI space, AWS has increasingly trailed competitors in offering cutting-edge capabilities. This expensive bet on Anthropic signals Amazon's eagerness to regain its footing and deliver next-generation AI offerings that can rival OpenAI and others.
Andy Jassy, Amazon's CEO, cited strong customer demand for Claude as a motivator behind the deal. Early adopters span industries from travel to asset management, utilizing Claude for tasks like personalized trip planning and investment analysis automation.
The partnership aligns with Amazon's expanding focus on generative AI across its consumer and enterprise businesses. It also furthers Anthropic's mission to responsibly scale access to advanced AI systems for the public good. Both companies have been active supporters of AI safety initiatives and standards. They have independently called for responsible AI development practices and joined the recent White House voluntary AI safety commitments.