Anthropic Cultivates Alternatives Anthropic secures $2 billion investment from Google, weeks after Amazon deal

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Anthropic logo on top of Google and Amazon logos

Weeks after it announced a huge partnership deal with Amazon, Anthropic doubled down on its earlier relationship with Alphabet.

What's new: Anthropic, which provides large language models, agreed to use Google’s cloud-computing infrastructure in return for a $2 billion investment, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deal follows an earlier multibillion-dollar partnership that saw Anthropic commit to training new models on Amazon Web Services.

How it works: Google invested $500 million up front and will add $1.5 billion more over an unspecified time period. The new funding builds on $300 million that Google gave to Anthropic earlier in the year for a 10 percent stake in the company. Google’s current stake in Anthropic is undisclosed. 

  • Anthropic agreed to spend $3 billion on Google Cloud over four years. Anthropic will use Google’s newly available TPU v5e AI processors to scale its Claude 2 large language model for cloud customers. However, it will continue to run most of its processing on Amazon hardware.
  • The startup will use Google’s AlloyDB database to handle accounting data and BigQuery for data analysis.
  • Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said Google will draw on Anthropic’s experience in AI safety techniques such as constitutional AI, a method for training large language models to behave according to a set of social values.

Behind the news: Anthropic rose rapidly from AI startup to coveted foundation-model partner.

  • Anthropic was founded by former OpenAI engineers who left that company, believing that it had abandoned its original principles. Early on, the startup received $500 million from cryptocurrency exchange FTX. When FTX collapsed less than a year ago, Anthropic worried that creditors might claw back the funds.
  • In March, Anthropic introduced Claude, a large language model trained via constitutional AI. Claude 2 followed in July.
  • Last month, Anthropic sealed a $4 billion investment from Amazon, giving the retail giant a minority stake. The startup committed to using Amazon chips to train its models, while Amazon will receive special access to Claude 2 and other Anthropic models to train its own generative models. Amazon is developing a 2 trillion-parameter model codenamed Olympus that will encompass 2 trillion parameters, 14 times the size of Claude 2.

Why it matters: The Anthropic-Google deal changes the shape of the startup’s relationships with large cloud providers. Anthropic's deal with Amazon dwarfed Google’s initial investment and seemed like a formative partnership akin to OpenAI’s lucrative Microsoft pair-up. Now, Anthropic is more like a vertex in a triangle, bound by close relationships with competing partners. 

We're thinking: Anthropic hasn’t raised as much total funding as OpenAI ($12.7 billion and counting), but its relationships with both Google and Amazon give it more flexibility to choose different infrastructure for different tasks. The benefits presumably will flow not only to the three companies but also to independent developers, who can choose among stellar proprietary foundational models — not to mention open source alternatives — from three major cloud providers.


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