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Salesforce Ventures targets new $250M fund at generative AI startups

Image Credits: Lionel Ng/Bloomberg / Getty Images

The enterprise is about to get hit by the generative AI hype train, as Salesforce prepares to invest in startups developing what it calls "responsible generative AI."

The cloud software giant, via its Salesforce Ventures VC off-shoot, today announced a $250 million generative AI investment fund, which it said has already invested in four startups: search engine upstart You.com, which introduced generative AI smarts a few months back; Anthropic, a heavily VC-backed AI startup from former employees of OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT; Cohere, a natural language processing (NLP) startup that recently partnered with Google; and a stealthy startup called Hearth.AI.

In truth, Salesforce has had a busy day at its annual TrailblazerDX developer conference, announcing a generative AI pilot they're calling Einstein GPT, which brings ChatGPT-like features to the broader Salesforce platform. This includes a new ChatGPT app for Slack, promising conversation summaries and writing assistance directly inside the enterprise communications app.

ChatGPT, for the uninitiated, is a chatbot-like technology trained on large language models (LLMs) that can generate essays, poems, lyrics, articles and more from simple natural-language instructions.

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Salesforce Ventures has launched a bunch of vertical-specific investment funds through the years, including funds aimed at particular geographies such as Japan or Canada. It has also previously launched a dedicated AI fund, targeting startups building AI smarts on top of Salesforce.

So it perhaps should come as little surprise that Salesforce Ventures is now looking to invest in companies working on what is one of the buzziest tech trends in recent times.