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Inflection AI: The Story of the Unforeseen and Secretive Unicorn with a $4 Billion Valuation

Discover what Reid Hoffman and Mustafa Suleyman, veterans of tech and AI, have been working on over the last year, along with their vision, mission, and thoughts about AI risks

Updates:

Sept 5, 2023

Mar 19, 2024

Introduction

In June, the young family of generative AI (gen AI) unicorns suddenly got a new member. Inflection AI ripped the chart suggested by CBInsights just a month before and got onto the third position, dethroning Cohere AI. So we have to oblige, and after covering two Gen AI leaders OpenAI and Anthropic, we dive into the precocious startup, Inflection AI.

Having introduced its core product, an AI assistant named Pi, in May and published a memo about Inflection-1, a Large Language Model (LLM) behind Pi in June, Inflection AI took the industry by storm the same month with an astonishing $1.3 billion in funding and a $4 billion valuation – all within its first two years of existence! The company's sudden surge owes much to the attraction of high-profile investors, including technology luminaries such as Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, and Reid Hoffman (also a co-founder), along with tech giants Microsoft and Nvidia. These financial ties extend beyond mere investments. Microsoft is providing its cloud computing infrastructure to strengthen Inflection's capabilities, while Nvidia, in partnership with CoreWeave, is integrating 20,000 of its H100 GPUs for LLM training.

Let's dive deeper and discover more about the founders, their vision, the development behind the model powering Pi, and other crucial details. Finding them was not that easy!

  1. The starting point of Inflection

  2. Financial and legal situation

  3. Mission of Inflection and its founders

  4. First product

  5. Tech behind Pi (LLM development facts)

  6. How Inflection is going to make money?

  7. Founders’ attitude toward AI risks

  8. A few not widely known facts about Inflection's founders

The starting point of Inflection

According to the official information, Inflection AI has three founders:

  • Karén Simonyan (Chief Scientist and Co-founder)

  • Reid Hoffman (Co-founder)

  • Mustafa Suleyman (CEO and Co-founder)

Operating with a low profile, Inflection hasn't been very transparent with independent media. Some information available that extends beyond mere press releases or PR work stems from the podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman for Greylock Partners (a VC fund where Hoffman has been a partner since 2009). In January 2022, announcing Mustafa Suleyman as a new partner in Greylock Partners, Reid Hoffman said: “I’ve known Mustafa personally for more than a decade. We first met at a pub in London. What struck me most was our inspiring and provocative discussion on the power and potential of AI to help solve some of humanity’s most urgent challenges. It marked the beginning of a deep and lasting friendship between Mustafa and I.”

More than a decade ago 2022 was about a time when Mustafa Suleyman (along with Demis Hassabis and Shane Legg) co-founded DeepMind, one of the first AI research labs. In 2014, it was acquired by Google (now the main AI R&D is led by the new structure called Google DeepMind). In January 2022, Suleyman left Google, and joined Greylock Partners, and in March 2022, Inflection was born (incubated by Greylock). Located in Palo Alto, California.

Introducing Inflection AI on the Greylock website, Suleyman called it an "AI-first consumer products company." However, at that moment he didn't clarify exactly what that meant.

In May 2022, TechCrunch reported that Inflection had secured $225 million in equity financing, though the source of the capital wasn't immediately clear as Inflection didn't respond to the request for more information. Subsequently, when Inflection announced the $1.3 billion funding round in 2023, they clarified in the official press release that the first round was raised from Greylock, Microsoft, Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, Mike Schroepfer, Demis Hassabis, Will.i.am, Horizons Ventures, and Dragoneer.

At some point, the information on Inflection's website changed to describe the company as an "AI studio creating a personal AI for everyone."

They chose the same legal structure as did Anthropic: public benefit corporation, a new type of corporation to balance the interests of shareholders, materially affected individuals, and the public good.

The mission of Inflection and its founders

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