OpenAI announces second round of AI startup fund

OpenAI is now accepting applications for the second cohort of its six-week AI startup program, Converge 2. The organization, known for ChatGPT, will invest $1 million in each of the 15 chosen participants. The program is open globally to engineers, designers, researchers, and product builders using AI innovatively. OpenAI established this startup fund with the belief that robust AI systems will usher in a new wave of groundbreaking startups. The rapid growth of AI tools and solutions has garnered significant support from industry experts and investors. In 2023 alone, generative AI startups have received substantial funding from various companies and organizations.

In November 2022, OpenAI launched the initial phase of its startup fund, offering $1 million in investment to each of 12 selected startups. The fund aims to support budding founders and companies that are developing innovative AI products. OpenAI’s CEO, Sam Altman, shared a statement detailing the initiative’s background and its potential impact on AI. The company emphasized that the startup fund is OpenAI’s effort to advance applied AI in crucial areas.

OpenAI confirmed that the program’s opening and closing weeks will be held in San Francisco, with the company covering travel costs for participants. OpenAI also invites founders from diverse backgrounds to apply, irrespective of their location outside the U.S. or their level of experience. The company stressed that previous experience with AI systems is not a prerequisite.

The period for application is set to begin on Dec. 13, 2023, and end on Jan. 26, 2024.

In other news, Kasikornbank, a Thailand-based private bank, has launched a primary fund, KXVC, with a total value of $100 million. The fund is aimed at investing in startups specializing in AI, Web3, and deep tech, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

In related news, Mistral AI, a French AI startup, recently announced that it raised $415 million in its latest funding round, which ended on Dec. 1. The round was led by Andreessen Horowitz, with additional support from the startup’s initial investors, Lightspeed Ventures.