With the launch of Salesforce Einstein GPT fresh in the minds at Trailblazer DX, Salesforce also announced a new £250 million Generative AI fund for Salesforce Ventures. The investment arm of Salesforce will seek out startups working on delivering responsible generative AI solutions.
There is still a lack of trust for Generative AI solutions, with concerns such as ethics and security top of mind for many. However, in a recent survey by Salesforce, 67% of IT leaders said that they are prioritising generative AI for their business. Interestingly, 33% named it as the top priority.
The technology and ethical concerns include security (79%) and bias (73%). As has been shown by Bard, a generative AI solution is only as good as the data it ingests. If that data is uncurated, there are several risks involved.
Salesforce Ventures has already invested in four startups whose ideas will transform application software and impact how end users use technology.
John Somorjai, EVP of Corporate Development and Salesforce Ventures at Salesforce, commented, “Salesforce Ventures has been investing in high-potential enterprise technology businesses for more than a decade, and these initial investments from the fund in generative AI companies fit squarely into that strategy.”
The four initial investments are Anthropic, Cohere, Hearth.AI and You.com.
Anthropic is an AI safety and research company working to build reliable, interpretable, and steerable AI systems. The company has developed Claude, an AI assistant based on the company’s research into building safe, steerable AI.
Daniela Amodei, President, Anthropic, said, “We’re excited to partner with Salesforce to bring our trustworthy, conversational AI assistant Claude to more businesses in a responsible and ethical way. Anthropic and Salesforce share a vision for creating innovative technology that is rooted in safety, and we’re looking forward to introducing more useful AI services into the world.”
Cohere has developed a platform that enables developers to generate, categorize and organize text at a scale. It gives developers and businesses access to NLP powered by the latest generation of large language models.
Aidan Gomez, Co-Founder & CEO, Cohere, said, “Cohere is committed to empowering all businesses to build incredible products with world-leading language AI. We continue to pave the way for the broad adoption of natural language processing technology, providing every developer and enterprise with the ability to explore, generate, and search in a more natural way than ever before. We are excited to partner with Salesforce on innovative new applications to bring this technology to their enterprise customers.”
Hearth.AI is working on the next generation of CRM, Agentic Relationship Management. The solution will enable AI agents to learn from, understand, and act on behalf of the user. It will prompt sales teams to make the right calls and take the right actions for any prospect or customer.
Ashe Magalhaes, founder of Hearth AI, commented, “Hearth AI is building a new category of next-gen products centered on agentic relationship management. We can’t be more excited to partner with Salesforce — the CRM category giant — to build a world where AI helps us understand and act on our networks, creating more matched opportunities and connection.”
You.com is a next-generation search engine addon that uses generative AI. It provides results from several generative AI platforms and combines the answers from four search platforms.
Richard Socher, Founder and CEO of You.com, commented, “We’re excited to partner with Salesforce Ventures in this new era of responsible generative AI. With our suite of generative AI apps and products, business users can accomplish more – find people across social media, summarize complex topics, and code in different programming languages, create novel copy-right free images, and write blogs and marketing copy with AI. We invite you to join forces with You.com as we continue to pave the way for the future of do-engines and enhanced productivity.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean?
Four interesting startups were invested in, some further along the road than others. Hearth.AI has barely started its journey, whilst Anthropic recently raised $580 million in a Series B funding round led by Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of FTX. Generative AI is at the peak of its hype. However, unlike many other AI solutions, there is a feeling that they will maintain the interest of many and deliver meaningful results.
The concern, rightly called out by Salesforce, is the ethics risk especially. Organisations will not want their AI solutions to carry the unconscious bias that has been baked into their data sets over decades. Organisations will now want the same experience as Bard.
If used with too much automation, there is a huge risk. Salesforce emphasized that the human in the loop still exists across each use case to validate the text generated. However, humans are lazy and may trust the answers AI gives them too quickly. The risk is that the human becomes a mere rubber stamp. Somehow this must be considered and solved.