Written by 5:28 am AI, Big Tech companies

### Artificial Search Engine Company, Perplexity, Secures $73.6M in Investment

‘Conversational engine’ still hallucinates, cites its sources at least

In a funding round led by Nvidia, Jeff Bezos, and other investors, the AI search engine company Perplexity has secured \(73.36 million. Based in California, Perplexity revealed the investment on Thursday, boosting its valuation to \)520 million. Despite having raised approximately $100 million previously, the company stands out as “the world’s first fully functional conversational answer engine.” By leveraging a range of sophisticated vocabulary models, Perplexity swiftly generates concise verbal responses to user queries and extracts data from the web through its proprietary research, indexing, and crawling methodologies.

Operating on a subscription model priced at $20 per month, users can access various significant language models such as OpenAI’s GPT-4, Anthropic’s Claude 2.1, Google’s Gemini, or the preferred LLM Perplexity from the startup. Similar to Google’s Bard search application, Perplexity references the sources and links to the websites it derives information from in its responses. The platform also incorporates follow-up questions akin to Copilot to refine research inquiries and streamline the user experience.

Established in August 2022, Perplexity has emerged as a promising player in the web search domain, attracting substantial funding and generating revenue between \(5 million and \)10 million through subscriptions and AI software sales. CEO Aravind Srinivas hinted at potential expansion into the advertising sector, following Google’s trajectory. Despite its advancements, Perplexity’s AI tool is not infallible and may occasionally provide inaccurate information, known as “hallucinating” in AI terminology. Srinivas emphasized the importance of accuracy and transparency in the era of AI-driven misinformation and propaganda.

The recent funding round, spearheaded by venture capital firm IVP and featuring notable names like Dick Allred, former CTO at Coinbase, and Balaji Srinivasan, former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, underscores the industry’s confidence in Perplexity’s vision. With key stakeholders like Nvidia, Jeff Bezos, Bessemer Ventures, and the co-founder and CEO of Bloom Institute of Technology participating, Perplexity is poised to revolutionize the search landscape, offering a more efficient and reliable knowledge-sharing platform amidst the evolving digital age.

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Last modified: January 5, 2024
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