Cisco launches $1 billion AI fund and makes first investments

By Thomson Reuters Jun 4, 2024 | 10:18 AM

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Cisco on Tuesday launched a $1 billion fund to invest in artificial intelligence startups, joining a list of big technology companies rushing to take stakes in small AI firms.

The company, through its investment arm, is investing in Cohere, Mistral AI and Scale AI, among others, and has already committed nearly $200 million of the fund, it said.

AI data startup Scale AI is valued at nearly $14 billion, while so-called foundation model developers Cohere and Mistral are both reportedly in talks with investors to raise funds at a valuation of $5 billion each.

Foundation AI models are built using huge volumes of data and can be applied across a wide range of use cases.

After Microsoft-backed OpenAI started the AI frenzy in 2022 with the launch of ChatGPT, several tech companies such as Meta and Amazon have also invested in various AI startups.

Cisco has made over 20 AI-focused acquisitions and investments in the last several years, furthering generative AI and machine learning and integration of AI across its portfolio, the company said in a statement.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Stockholm; Editing by Mark Potter)