IBM has announced the creation of a $500 million venture capital fund focused on investing in startups developing enterprise AI technologies. The IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund will target investments in companies at various stages, from early-stage startups to more mature "hyper-growth" AI firms. The goal is to accelerate advancement and adoption of AI across industries.
Led by experienced IBM investors and AI experts, the fund will help startups build partnerships with IBM while providing guidance on product development, engineering, and bringing solutions to market. Portfolio companies will gain opportunities to collaborate with IBM Research and integrate with the company's enterprise AI platform, watsonx.
IBM views the fund as a crucial move to tap into emerging generative AI capabilities and an extension of its broader strategy around open AI innovation.
"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," said Rob Thomas, Senior VP of Software and Chief Commercial Officer at IBM.
The new fund builds on IBM's recent investments in AI companies through strategic partnerships and direct funding. IBM participated in the $235 million Series D funding round for Hugging Face, the leading AI model hub and collaboration platform. It also joined the Series A round for HiddenLayer, a cybersecurity startup focused on AI model protection.
IBM's approach will be differentiated by offering startups unparalleled access to IBM's tech capabilities, customer base, and AI experts. IBM Ventures will support portfolio companies with a dedicated team providing guidance across product, engineering, and go-to-market strategies.
The company's strategy involves leveraging both in-house and third-party AI models to foster open innovation in the field. This can be seen in the launch of their watsonx Granite model series in September, and the announcement of support for Meta's Llama 2-chat models earlier this year.
The new $500 million fund solidifies IBM's position at the forefront of enterprise AI. It demonstrates a commitment to shaping the responsible use of AI in business through both internal research and external partnerships.
With its deep expertise and global reach, IBM is uniquely positioned to help startups navigate the complexities of enterprise AI adoption. The fund will spark fresh innovation to realize AI's vast potential for driving business value.