Former Google researchers secure $30 million funding for Tokyo-based AI lab

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Photo credit: Emeritus.org

On January 16, Sakana AI, an AI startup situated in Tokyo and established by two renowned ex-Google researchers, announced securing $30 million in a seed funding round. Lux Capital led the investment, with Khosla Ventures also participating. Sakana AI aims to position Tokyo as a significant AI hub, drawing parallels to the impact OpenAI had on San Francisco and DeepMind had on London, according to Grace Isford, a partner at Lux Capital.

Despite lacking products on the market currently, the company aims to revolutionize existing AI systems by emphasizing numerous smaller models collaborating, rather than relying on a single massive monolithic model, as revealed to Reuters last year. Additionally, the focus includes the refinement of AI models tailored for the Asian market. Lux Capital partner Brandon Reeves explained that this approach is crucial since Asian character-based languages operate distinctively compared to Western languages. The company’s strategy reflects a commitment to innovation, emphasizing adaptability and cultural considerations in advancing artificial intelligence technologies.

“Many Asian languages remain largely unexplored in the realm of large language models, as most developments have focused on Western languages,” expressed Lux Capital partner Brandon Reeves.

The founders of the company, David Ha and Llion Jones, both bring valuable experience as former Google researchers. Notably, Jones holds the fifth authorship in Google’s 2017 research paper titled “Attention Is All You Need.” This groundbreaking paper introduced the “transformer” deep learning architecture, subsequently becoming the foundation for the widely recognized ChatGPT chatbot and influencing the ongoing competition to create products driven by generative AI.

Formerly serving as the head of research at Stability AI and a Google Brain researcher, Ha brings a wealth of experience to the company.

All contributors to the “Attention Is All You Need” paper have since departed Google, embarking on new endeavors that have garnered significant funding from venture investors. Notable figures include Noam Shazeer, leading the AI chatbot startup Character.AI, and Aidan Gomez, the founder of the large language model startup Cohere.

Lux Capital, a venture capital firm specializing in deep technology, directs its investments towards industries like aerospace, AI, and biology.

DATA SOURCE : reuters

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