IBM has unveiled a $500 million venture fund to invest in AI companies, ranging from early-stage startups to high-growth enterprises. This builds on several other recent investments and product innovations that put IBM in a unique position to help enterprises safely embrace generative AI (GenAI).
IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund
The goal of IBM’s Enterprise AI Venture Fund is to accelerate research and development in generative AI technology for the enterprise sector. IBM will leverage its domain expertise and a dedicated portfolio development team to identify and support AI leaders who contribute to realizing AI’s full potential in the enterprise.
The fund will is led by a team at IBM with extensive experience in both investing and enterprise AI. Startups selected for investment will not only receive funding but also gain opportunities to establish meaningful partnerships with IBM. They will also benefit from IBM’s expertise in product development, engineering, and go-to-market strategies. IBM expects to expand its AI ecosystem by collaborating with these companies, fostering long-term value for AI leaders.
IBM’s Recent AI Investments
IBM has been an active investor in this space. It recently participated in a $235 million Series D funding round for Hugging Face, a prominent open-source AI collaboration platform. IBM has also contributed numerous open models and datasets to Hugging Face, including the Geospatial Foundation Model developed in partnership with NASA. This model represents the largest geospatial foundation model on Hugging Face and the first-ever open-source AI foundation model created with NASA.
Additionally, IBM invested in HiddenLayer’s Series A funding round to support the expansion of its talent base and the development of its Machine Learning Security (MLSec) Platform, which focuses on protecting AI assets. This partnership aims to advance AI threat detection capabilities and serve cutting-edge companies in AI security. IBM also recently acquired Manta, bolstering its capabilities in data management for AI.
IBM’s announcement builds on the momentum of its AI and data platform, watson.x, and aligns with its strategy of accelerating open innovation in AI by leveraging both third-party and proprietary AI models.
The company recently introduced the watson.x Granite model series, a collection of generative AI models designed to enhance their integration into business applications and workflows. IBM also plans to host Meta’s Llama 2-chat 70 billion parameter model within watson.x, reinforcing its commitment to open innovation in AI.
IBM isn’t the only tech company with a venture fund targeting AI innovation. Last month, Visa launched a $100M venture fund to support startups focused on GenAI-based solutions, while Microsoft, Google, and NVIDIA are all active investors in AI.
The new IBM fund is different. Combining IBM’s domain expertise with its dedicated portfolio development team demonstrates a commitment to nurturing AI startups and helping them succeed. By providing not only financial support but also strategic guidance and operational expertise, IBM is contributing to the growth of AI-focused companies and fostering innovation within the AI ecosystem.
IBM’s investments, along with its ongoing efforts in AI model development, demonstrate its broader commitment to advancing responsible AI innovation and open collaboration in the field. IBM’s increasing level of focus on AI and bringing AI to the enterprise continues to be one of the most interesting stories in tech right now.
Disclosure: Steve McDowell is an industry analyst, and NAND Research an industry analyst firm, that engages in, or has engaged in, research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, which may include those mentioned in this article. Mr. McDowell does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.