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AI Startup Roundup: AV Startup Snags Coveted OpenAI BackingAI Startup Roundup: AV Startup Snags Coveted OpenAI Backing

Ghost Autonomy believes multimodal language models could be the key to solving the 'Holy Grail' of self-driving cars: full autonomy

Ben Wodecki, Deborah Yao

November 13, 2023

3 Min Read
OpenAI, Ghost Autonomy logos

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Ghost Autonomy gets coveted OpenAI backing

San Francisco-based Ghost Autonomy is developing software to potentially solve the thorniest problem in self-driving vehicles: navigating complex situations and unusual incidents. Its approach is to use multimodal large language models (LLMs) to achieve this ‘Holy Grail’ of self-driving cars.

“LLMs allow autonomous driving systems to reason about driving scenes holistically, utilizing broad-based world knowledge to navigate complex and unusual situations, even those never seen before,” the startup said in a press release.

Ghost Autonomy landed a coveted $5 million investment from the OpenAI Startup Fund, which OpenAI said is capped at $100 million and accessible only to a small number of AI startups “that can have a transformative effect.” The chosen few will get OpenAI technical support and Azure credits.

Ghost Autonomy said it will use the funds to accelerate ongoing research and development of LLM-based complex scene understanding.

OpenAI’s support comes after California ordered GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit to remove its cars from state roads after regulators said they were “not safe” and that Cruise “misrepresented” the safety of its cars.

Intel lends funds to Stability AI

Stability AI has secured $50 million in debt financing in the form of a convertible note, with chipmaking giant Intel leading the investment, according to Bloomberg.

The startup, most known for commercializing popular image generation AI model Stable Diffusion, has had a turbulent few months. In June, it lost senior staff, including its head of research and COO. Other senior team members would later depart, including its head of human resources.

Bloomberg said that major backer Coatue Management took issue with Stability CEO Emad Mostaque's leadership, sending lawyers to board meetings and proposing the idea of a co-CEO for the company. Lightspeed Venture Partners' Gaurav Gupta also left his board observer role at Stability over differences in the direction of the company.

Stability AI is spending $8 million a month on computing costs and salaries while bringing in a fraction of the amount in revenue. In July, Stability told Bloomberg that is revenue forecast of $10 million had fallen as it focuses on R&D. But last week, the startup told the news outlet that revenue has risen 10-fold over the last year and is on track for even higher growth.

IBM to invest $500M in AI startups

IBM’s venture arm has launched a new $500 million fund to invest in AI startups.

The Enterprise AI Venture Fund will see the company partner with “the next generation of great enterprise technology companies – in AI and beyond.”

IBM was among the backers of the popular open source AI platform Hugging Face in its $235 million series D round. The company also recently invested in the series A round of HiddenLayer, which is building software security tools. And IBM also snapped up Manta Software in late October, to integrate the data lineage platform into watsonX.

Black Ore Technologies

Newly emerging from stealth, Black Ore launched an AI platform for financial services and introduced its first product, Tax Autopilot, offering autonomous tax prep services for certified public accountants and accounting firms. It is based in Austin, Texas.

Latest funding: $60 million, seed round

Lead investors: a16z, Oak HC/FT

Funding plans: The company plans to use the funds to onboard new customers, grow its team and accelerate the development of additional AI products across financial services.

Fyma

Estonian startup Fyma develops software designed to be universally compatible with IP cameras to deliver real-time analysis of video feeds.

Latest funding: $2.1 million

Lead investor: Quadri Ventures

Other investors: Second Century Ventures

Funding plans: Fyma plans to use the investment to move its primary headquarters to the U.K., upgrade its AI analysis product to support commercial real estate developers and fuel its go-to-market strategy.

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ChatGPT / Generative AI

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

Deborah Yao

Editor

Deborah Yao is a Stanford grad who has worked at Amazon, the Wharton School and The Associated Press.

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