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Amazon is investing billions in this San Francisco AI startup

A package on the conveyor belt gets its label at an Amazon fulfillment center. | Source: Watchara Phomicinda/MediaNews Group/The Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

Anthropic, a San Francisco company founded by former OpenAI employees, has landed an investment from tech giant Amazon.

The company, which developed the AI assistant Claude, has been part of the scrum of companies that have drawn half of the world's funding for AI.

In July, the company announced an upgraded version, Claude 2, with a public-facing beta website and improvements on earlier coding, math and reasoning models.

"Think of Claude as a friendly, enthusiastic colleague or personal assistant who can be instructed in natural language to help you with many tasks," Anthropic said at the time.

In a statement Monday, Anthropic said Amazon plans to spend up to $4 billion and will take a minority stake in the company.

The company's Amazon Web Services will become its primary cloud provider, and Anthropic will use Amazon's chips alongside its current tools for model training and deployment, while the companies work together on the chips' future development. Anthropic will also expand its support for Amazon Bedrock to help other companies guide use of Claude "while limiting the potential for harmful outcomes," the statement said.

"Amazon’s investment and supply of AWS Trainium and Inferentia technology will ensure we’re equipped to continue advancing the frontier of AI safety and research," Anthropic said. "We look forward to working closely with Amazon to responsibly scale adoption of Claude and deliver safe AI cloud technologies to organizations around the world."

The companies' leaders weighed in on the tie-up Monday.

“We have tremendous respect for Anthropic’s team and foundation models, and believe we can help improve many customer experiences, short and long-term, through our deeper collaboration,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said.

“Customers are quite excited about Amazon Bedrock, AWS’s new managed service that enables companies to use various foundation models to build generative AI applications on top of, as well as AWS Trainium, AWS’s AI training chip, and our collaboration with Anthropic should help customers get even more value from these two capabilities.”

“We are excited to use AWS’s Trainium chips to develop future foundation models,” said Anthopic co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei.

“Since announcing our support of Amazon Bedrock in April, Claude has seen significant organic adoption from AWS customers. By significantly expanding our partnership, we can unlock new possibilities for organizations of all sizes, as they deploy Anthropic’s safe, state-of-the-art AI systems together with AWS’s leading cloud technology.”

This is a developing story.

George Kelly can be reached at