Perplexity, SoftBank to Bring AI Search App to Mobile Users

Backed by Nvidia and Jeff Bezos, Perplexity will make its AI search app available free to millions of mobile users in Japan

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

June 20, 2024

2 Min Read
Screenshots of the Perplexity AI search app

Japanese investment bank SoftBank has announced a partnership with startup Perplexity to bring its AI-powered search application to new users.

The strategic partnership will make Perplexity’s premium offering available to customers of two of Japan’s largest mobile providers, Y!mobile and Linemo, both of which are subsidiaries of SoftBank.

Perplexity Pro usually costs $20 a month, with subscribers given access to improved AI searchers, as well as the ability to upload files and select their preferred AI models, including Llama 3, Anthropic’s Claude 3 and OpenAI’s new GPT-4o.

Perplexity will provide the service at no charge for one year starting June 19, while SoftBank will handle the application process

Perplexity CEO Aravind Srinivas said the startup was excited to be partnering with the Japanese investment firm.

In a post on X (Twitter) referencing the deal, Srinivas said in Japanese that the partnership was “the beginning of infinity.”

Perplexity lets users search the web using AI. Designed with a conversational interface, the app responds to user prompts with citations and sources from where it got the information to provide more transparent responses.

Perplexity users can ask the app questions and queries using text or voice. The app automatically generates potentially relevant follow-up questions. 

Related:Bezos, Nvidia Backed ChatGPT Rival Doubles Valuation to $1B

Businesses can access Perplexity’s premium offerings through an enterprise-focused subscription. Marketed as a tool to enhance employee workflows, Perplexity Enterprise Pro gives business users unlimited file uploads, easy team member management within the app and a commitment to not use their data for training purposes.

Having recently raised $62.7 million in venture funding, Perplexity is valued at more than $1 billion.

The app has counts several big names backing it, including Jeff Bezos, former Tesla AI director Andrej Karpathy, Garry Tan, CEO of Y Combinator and Jakob Uszkoreit, one of the ex-Google researchers who developed the original Transformer model.

Nvidia has also previously invested in the startup, with CEO Jensen Huang admitting earlier this year that he uses the app “almost every day.”

Perplexity inked a similar deal with Germany’s Deutsche Telekom in April to bring the AI-powered search app to its mobile users.

Read more about:

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.

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