Published on June 13, 2024, 12:01 pm

Amazon has announced a significant commitment of up to $230 million towards startups dedicated to developing generative AI-powered applications. A substantial portion, approximately $80 million, will be allocated to fund the second edition of Amazon’s AWS Generative AI Accelerator program. The investment aims to establish AWS as a preferred cloud infrastructure option for startups focusing on generative AI models to enhance their products and services.

The bulk of this investment, including the allocation for the accelerator program, will be in the form of compute credits for AWS infrastructure, which are non-transferable to other cloud service providers like Google Cloud or Microsoft Azure. To further incentivize startups participating in this year’s Generative AI Accelerator cohort, Amazon has partnered with Nvidia, offering access to expertise and technology from Nvidia along with the opportunity to join the Nvidia Inception program. This initiative provides companies with connections to potential investors and additional consulting resources.

The Generative AI Accelerator program has seen significant growth compared to its previous cohort. Last year, ten startups received a total of up to $300,000 in AWS compute credits, amounting to roughly a combined $3 million investment. Matt Wood, VP of AI products at AWS, expressed that this renewed effort aims to support startups in launching and expanding world-class businesses by providing essential resources for developing new AI applications that can revolutionize various aspects of how people learn, connect, and conduct businesses.

Amazon’s increasing focus on generative AI technology is evident through initiatives such as the $100 million AWS Generative AI Innovation Center and Project Olympus generative model. The company’s endeavors in this field reflect its aspiration to compete with tech giants in the rapidly growing generative AI sector. Despite claiming significant success with its generative AI businesses generating “multiple billions” in run rate revenue, Amazon is perceived as lagging behind its competitors in this domain.

Reportedly, AWS had plans to introduce its own generative AI model similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT called Bedrock at its annual conference in November 2022 under severe bug-related setbacks forcing a postponement. Additionally, challenges within Amazon’s Alexa division have surfaced due to technical issues and internal conflicts post an unsuccessful launch of a “next-gen” Alexa version.

Moreover, despite missing early opportunities like investing in leading AI startups Cohere and Anthropic directly – settling for later co-investments instead – Amazon continues its strategic investments within the generative AI landscape. With these developments unfolding gradually at Amazon’s end within the broad spectrum of artificial intelligence advancements—generating anticipation industry-wide—it’ll be interesting how these initiatives mold future technological landscapes enhanced by artificial intelligence innovations across various sectors.

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