(Bloomberg) -- Google has committed to invest $2 billion in the artificial intelligence company Anthropic, solidifying its relationship with the startup darling and stoking the Silicon Valley frenzy for AI. 

The deal is structured as a convertible note, a type of debt that will convert to equity at the startup’s next funding round, an Anthropic spokesperson confirmed. The deal closely follows another large convertible note investment into Anthropic from Amazon.com Inc. for up to $4 billion earlier this year. 

With the latest financing, Alphabet Inc.’s Google invested $500 million with a commitment to add $1.5 billion more in the future, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The investment is in addition to the $550 million Google put into Anthropic earlier this year. 

Prior to the financing, Google also signed a major cloud agreement with Anthropic, according to one person familiar with the details. The cloud deal, in which Anthropic will use Google’s suite of computing services, was even larger than the latest investment, and will stretch over multiple years, the person said. 

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported details of the Google investment. 


Anthropic’s flurry of dealmaking this year has been led in part by a new hire, Vu Bui, its head of strategic finance and investor relations, who started in September, according to his LinkedIn profile. Bui has been instrumental in orchestrating the company’s talks with investors, one of the people said. 

The next step for Anthropic may be to raise traditional funding, rather than convertible debt. At that point, both Google and Amazon’s shares will convert to equity and the company will receive a new valuation. Anthropic had discussed a valuation between $20 billion and $30 billion, according to the people, a pricetag that was deemed too high by some investors. Earlier this year, the startup had a valuation of about $5 billion, according to PitchBook data. 

The company isn’t likely to rush to raise more money, however, because its recent investments from Google and Amazon have meant it has ample cash, the people said. 

Cloud rivals

For both Google and Amazon, investments in startups like Anthropic are a way to cement relationships with the companies shaping the next wave of AI, and nudge them to use their proprietary cloud tools. If AI grows to become ubiquitous, as some experts predict, it will require vast computing resources. That means AI companies will be lucrative cloud customers in the future. 

Google’s ties to Anthropic put it in an unusual partnership with Amazon, its rival in cloud services. While Google has a large cloud deal with the startup, as part of its investment Amazon also said it would be Anthropic’s “primary cloud provider.”

The relationship between Google, Amazon and Anthropic has occasionally been awkward. Google knew this summer that Anthropic was seeking to raise more money, according to one person familiar with the matter. But details of the startup’s embrace of Amazon Web Services still came as a surprise to some people inside the search giant, according to that person and two others familiar with the matter.

Anthropic runs primarily on a combination of its own servers and computing power rented from Google Cloud Platform, one of the people said. Google, which had already invested millions in Anthropic, was reluctant to commit the kind of sum Amazon ended up investing. 

Amazon said in a filing that it had invested $1.25 billion into Anthropic in the form of a convertible note, with the ability to invest $2.75 billion more in a second note, an option that expires in the first quarter of next year. Amazon also has a deal with Anthropic in which the startup will use AWS cloud services and chips. The debt structure of Google and Amazon’s deals hasn’t been previously reported. 

The deals pit the two tech giants against Microsoft Corp., which is putting more than $10 billion into Anthropic rival OpenAI. Both OpenAI and Anthropic are building chatbots with generative AI technology, capable of generating content in response to prompts. Anthropic’s chatbot, Claude, has put a particular emphasis on responsible AI and reducing bias in the technology. 


--With assistance from Sarah Frier, Hannah Miller, Matt Day and Rachel Metz.

(Updates with context starting in the first paragraph.)

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