Generative artificial intelligence startup Writer Inc. has closed on a $100 million Series B round of funding that valued it at $500 million, Bloomberg reported.
Today’s round was led by Iconiq Growth and saw participation from others, such as WndrCo, Balderton Capital, Insight Partners, who led the Series A round, and Aspect Ventures, which led the seed round. The round also saw participation from a number of Writer’s customers, including Accenture Plc and Vanguard Group Inc.
Writer is focused on helping businesses implement and use large language models that can generate content across different departments, including operations, human resources, marketing, product and sales teams.
In a press release, it says it has created various generative AI models for specific industries as well, including one that’s specialized for use in healthcare. This is a rather unique selling point for Writer in a crowded industry that’s often criticized for the “black box” nature of its offerings. For instance, OpenAI LP’s GPT-4, which powers ChatGPT, is a single model that is claimed to be able to perform tasks in multiple industries, but the downside is that enterprises must train and fine-tune it beforehand for the best results.
All told, Writer offers 14 different AI models, including Palmyra Small, which is made up of 128 million parameters, Palmyra Base (5 billion parameters) and Palmyra Large (20 billion parameters). According to Writer, these models can help businesses do everything from create content and emails, to transcribing audio and summarizing it. For example, its healthcare-focused model PalmyraMed is designed to do the above tasks for healthcare and medical industry clients, with its strong grasp on medical terminology.
Writer reckons that another key advantage of its platform is that its models are trained on upwards of one trillion tokens of formal and business writing that contain no intellectual property or copyrighted content. In terms of performance, Writer says Palmyra Large outperforms competing models from OpenAI, Cohere Inc., Anthropic, Google LLC and other companies on the Stanford HELM benchmarking tests for Massive Multitask Language Understanding, BooIQ and Natural Questions.
However, Writer is about more than just its AI models. In addition, the startup has created a knowledge graph that helps companies create its models to their own, proprietary data to sharpen their skills further. It also offers a range of pre-built applications, such as chatbots with templates for different roles they can perform. So businesses don’t need a whole lot of expertise to get Writer’s offerings up and running and increasing productivity. For instance, with Writer’s Recaps application, users can simply drag and drop recordings of their meetings and calls into a box and the app will immediately summarize what was said, highlighting the key points.
Given its versatility, it’s perhaps no wonder that Writer claims it has been able to grow its revenue by more than ten times in the past two years. In its press release, it cited big name customers such as Spotify Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and L’Oreal SA.
Writer, which closed on a $5 million seed round in 2020 and a $21 million Series A round in 2021, said it will use the funds to add more AI models and build new features for its existing ones. It aims to create a “full stack” of enterprise-friendly AI software applications that ease adoption of its technology.
The round is just the most recent in a string of big fund raises from generative AI startups this year. Just last month, Anthropic raised $100 million in a round led by SK Telecom Co. Ltd., following on from a $450 million Series C round in May. Others, including Cohere and AI21 Labs Inc., have also announced big money funding rounds recently, while OpenAI continues to lead the industry, having raised as much as $10 billion from Microsoft Corp. in January.
There have been many other funding rounds this year, and it’s likely that there will be more to come before the year is out.
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