LinkedIn and DeepMind co-founders raise $225 million
DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman
Inflection AI, the new artificial intelligence start-up from DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, has secured $225 million in funding, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last week.
The funding, first reported by TechCrunch, has been raised at an undisclosed valuation and it’s not clear who the investors are at this stage. It’s likely that a large chunk of the funding will be used to hire AI experts that can command high salaries. Inflection did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.
The company, founded earlier this year, wants to develop AI software products that make it easier for humans to communicate with computers.
“If you think about the history of computing, we have always been trying to reduce the complexity of our ideas in order to communicate them to a machine,” Suleyman told CNBC at the time of the launch in March. “Even when we write a search query, we’re simplifying, we’re reducing or we’re writing in shorthand so that the search engine can understand what we want.”
When humans want to control a computer, they need to learn a programming language in order to provide instructions, he added, or use a mouse to navigate and engage with things on the screen. “All of these are ways we simplify our ideas and reduce their complexity and in some ways their creativity and their uniqueness in order to get a machine to do something,” Suleyman said.
The British entrepreneur says Inflection will look to develop a new suite of technologies that will eventually enable anyone to speak to a computer in plain language. It’s unclear at this stage what the final products will look like, how much they will cost or who they’ll be targeted at.
When the company was launched, only three team members were named: Suleyman, Hoffman and former DeepMind researcher Karén Simonyan. However, others have now joined the fold.
In March, Heinrich Kuttler left his research engineering manager role at Meta AI in London to become a member of the founding team at Inflection, working on the technical side of the business, according to his LinkedIn page. Elsewhere, Joe Fenton left his senior product manager role at Google in February to work on the product side of the business.
Maarten Bosma and Rewon Child, two former Google Brain researchers, have also joined the ranks recently, according to LinkedIn, which says they came on board in April.
Inflection is being “incubated” by venture capital firm Greylock Ventures, where Suleyman and Hoffman are partners. Greylock told CNBC in March that it is investing in Inflection but declined to say how much.
Inflection is one of several new AI start-ups focusing their efforts on helping machines to understand human language. Others, which have recently been set up by luminaries in the field, include Adept and Cohere.