A|I: The AI Times – Cohere seeks big-time valuation despite small-time revenue

Plus: Canada’s underinvestment in computing threatens its AI advantage.

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Tepid Revenue at Cohere Shows OpenAI Competitors Face Uphill Battle

Cohere, one of the best-known startup competitors to OpenAI, which has raised $445 million from investors, was generating about $13 million in annualized revenue at the end of last year, according to a person who has viewed the company’s fundraising pitch to potential investors.

Bankers for the company told investors late last year that Cohere was seeking new funds at a $6 billion valuation, which would be more than 450 times its annualized revenue, according to two people who were involved in the discussions.

That’s a far higher valuation multiple than for other AI startups, including OpenAI, which was generating about 130 times more revenue than Cohere was at the end of last year and was valued at about 50 times its forward revenue in a recent share sale.

(The Information)

SEC orders Delphia to pay $225,000 USD for “false and misleading” statements about use of AI

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission has ordered the US division of Toronto-based FinTech startup Delphia to pay a $225,000 USD penalty for statements it made about its use of artificial intelligence.

Specifically, Delphia said it “put[s] collective data to work to make our artificial intelligence smarter so it can predict which companies and trends are about to make it big and invest in them before everyone else.”

The SEC said it found this statement to be inaccurate, noting that “Delphia did not in fact have the AI and [ML] capabilities that it claimed.” The SEC referred to this practice as “AI washing.”


Canada’s AI infrastructure does not compute

In the AI field, the computing needs are particularly acute. The physical infrastructure powering AI – what people in the industry call “compute” – is often invisible to the rest of us. AI is in the cloud, right? But the rows and rows of supercomputers stuffed with GPUs in sprawling data centres are crucial.

There is huge global demand for computing equipment, especially GPUs, and researchers and entrepreneurs want access to powerful systems to make scientific discoveries and build businesses. That’s becoming harder to do in Canada.

People from across the AI ecosystem are calling on Ottawa to spend big – at least $1-billion to start, and possibly up to $10-billion over a number of years – to catch up.

(The Globe and Mail)

Google Canada provides $2.7 million in research grants to major Canadian AI institutes CIFAR, Amii, CEIMIA

Google Canada is doling out $2.7 million CAD in research grants to three major Canadian artificial intelligence institutes, CIFAR, Amii, and CEIMIA.

CIFAR said it will use its $1.3-million portion of the grant funding to support its Accelerated Decarbonization program, Amii will use its $1.1 million in grant funding to support its Autonomous Drinking Water project, and CEIMIA’s $335,000 grant is being made through Google’s Digital Futures Project, which funds work that explores opportunities to deepen collaboration between governments globally on policy approaches to AI.


Microsoft hires Inflection founders to run new consumer AI division

Microsoft has hired Mustafa Suleyman and Karén Simonyan, co-founders of high-profile AI startup Inflection AI, and several of their colleagues in one of the strangest deals as the Satya Nadella-led cloud giant continues its aggressive push to attract top talent.

Suleyman — also a co-founder of DeepMind, which Google bought in 2014 to bolster its own AI efforts — will run Microsoft’s newly formed consumer AI unit, called Microsoft AI, whereas Simonyan is joining the company as a chief scientist in the same new group.


Pair of AI startups raise big rounds and prime for expansion

PocketHealth set out to build an easier way for patients and healthcare providers to access and share diagnostic images than CD-ROMs and legacy solutions. Today, the Toronto-based startup’s software helps those patients make sense of those images using artificial intelligence. With $45 million CAD ($33 million USD) in fresh Series B funding, PocketHealth’s plan remains the same: to continue investing in AI, product development, and expanding its footprint across Canada and the US.

Meanwhile, Toronto-based Borderless AI has emerged from stealth with $27 million in seed funding for Alberni, its AI-powered HR assistant.

The startup says Alberni automates the process of onboarding, managing, and paying international team members and is ready for global expansion with its ability to answer employment law, finance, or tax queries in 170 languages.

Borderless AI calls Cohere a “strategic partner,” claiming to be the only company deploying Cohere’s LLM to HR.

Canada among nations seeking to poach top U.K. and European AI startups

Germany’s Aleph Alpha and U.K.-based Synthesia and StabilityAI are among the fledgling AI companies that have been approached by officials from Canada and the United Arab Emirates in recent months, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions.

Canada is already home to thousands of AI start-ups, such as Cohere, and leading researchers like Turing award winner Yoshua Bengio. It has sought to encourage AI companies and researchers to the country with policies that speed up immigration, and research and development credits.

(Financial Post)

One year later, what filled the hole SVB left in Canadian tech lending?

One year after the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, venture capitalists and lenders BetaKit spoke with said the ecosystem is missing one of a small number of doors to knock on for debt funding.

The bank’s four-year run in Canada changed the tech lending landscape significantly, with its presence prodding the Big Five banks to start competing for startups’ business and giving smaller companies better access to bank pricing for debt.

With those banks hoovering up former SVB Canada talent and customers in the past year, the country’s major financial institutions are set to be more active tech lenders.


Nvidia shares close up after company unveils latest AI chips

Nvidia stock closed up 1% on Tuesday after CEO Jensen Huang said in an analyst meeting that the company expects to increase its share of the $250 billion data center market.

Huang’s comments were made a day after Nvidia announced its latest generation of artificial intelligence chips, called Blackwell, and a new AI software platform.


The BetaKit Keynote Stage lands in Vancouver for INNOVATEwest 2024

The BetaKit Keynote Stage is heading west, set to host captivating conversations with tech leaders at INNOVATEwest 2024.

On April 16 and 17 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the stage will feature a roster of tech luminaries, including Canva chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki, key figures from Canada’s quantum sector, and a lively conversation between Koho founder and CEO Daniel Eberhard and Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Michael Katchen.


UN adopts first global artificial intelligence resolution

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted the first global resolution on artificial intelligence that encourages countries to safeguard human rights, protect personal data, and monitor AI for risks.

The nonbinding resolution, proposed by the United States and co-sponsored by China and over 120 other nations, also advocates the strengthening of privacy policies.


Rithmik secures $2 million to lower mobile mining equipment emissions

Montréal-based Rithmik Solutions, which offers an AI-powered platform providing analytics for mobile mining equipment, has closed $2 million CAD in funding.

The startup’s flagship Asset Health Analyzer uses machine learning to increase mobile equipment efficiency as well as reduce maintenance costs and greenhouse gas emission. CEO Amanda Truscott claims Rithmik reduces fuel burn by up to 15 percent and the firm projects an annual return on investment per heavy haul truck of $358,000 USD.


Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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