Top Ex-Google AI Researchers Secure $8 Million in Funding from Thrive Capital

Top Ex-Google AI Researchers Secure $8 Million in Funding from Thrive Capital

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Former Google researchers Ashish Vaswani and Niki Parmar have raised $8 million in funding for their new startup Essential AI, according to sources familiar with the matter. The company, which is still in stealth mode, is focused on building software that enables enterprises to utilize large language models, the core software of the latest artificial intelligence system that has powered generative AI applications such as ChatGPT.

Thrive Capital, led by Joshua Kushner and an investor in Microsoft-backed OpenAI, was the main contributor to the funding round, which was also participated in by Conviction and angel investor Elad Gil. The round came after Vaswani and Parmar left Adept AI, a company they also co-founded in 2021 with former Google director David Luan.

EssentialAI is not in direct competition with Adept, which is focused on training a neural network to perform general tasks for enterprise clients and has already raised $415 million from investors including General Catalyst. Sources indicate that EssentialAI has a unique focus on large language models and will be creating software for enterprises to use them.

Vaswani and Parmar were the first and third authors, respectively, of Google’s groundbreaking 2017 research paper titled “Attention Is All You Need,” which introduced the “transformer” deep learning architecture. This became the basis for the viral chatbot ChatGPT and the current race to develop products powered by generative AI. The duo join other authors on the famous paper who have left Google to start their own ventures, attracting millions in funding from venture investors, including Noam Shazeer, running AI chatbot startup Character.AI, and Aidan Gomez, founder of large language model startup Cohere.

Thrive Capital declined to provide any comment on the funding round. Vaswani and Parmar did not respond to requests for comment.

Introduction to Essential AI and Funding Round

Essential AI, a new startup founded by ex-Google researchers Ashish Vaswani and Niki Parmar, has secured $8 million in funding from Thrive Capital, Conviction, and angel investor Elad Gil. The company is still in stealth mode and has yet to release any product. Thrive Capital is also an investor in Microsoft-backed OpenAI.

Essential AI Focuses on Large Language Models for Enterprises

EssentialAI focuses on building software for enterprises to use large language models, which are a key component of the latest artificial intelligence system that has powered generative AI applications like ChatGPT. The company’s unique focus sets it apart from Adept AI, the company Vaswani and Parmar co-founded with former Google director David Luan in 2021. Adept AI is focused on training a neural network to perform general tasks for enterprise clients and has already raised $415 million from investors, including General Catalyst.

Vaswani and Parmar’s Role in Pioneering Generative AI

Vaswani and Parmar were the first and third authors, respectively, of Google’s groundbreaking 2017 research paper titled “Attention Is All You Need,” which introduced the “transformer” deep learning architecture. This became the basis for the viral chatbot ChatGPT and the current race to develop products powered by generative AI. Vaswani and Parmar’s expertise in the field has been widely recognized and has earned them both a reputation as pioneers in generative AI.