Cohere Raises USD 270M in Series C as Large Language Model Arms Race Heats Up

Cohere Raises 270 Million Series C

Toronto-based natural language processing (NLP) startup Cohere has successfully secured USD 270m in a Series C funding round, according to an announcement made on June 8, 2023.

The round was led by Inovia Capital and featured participation from a diverse group of global institutional and strategic investors, including NVIDIA, Oracle, Salesforce Ventures, DTCP, Mirae Asset, Schroders Capital, SentinelOne, Thomvest Ventures, and returning investor Index Ventures. 

NVIDIA, of course, is the leading manufacturer of GPUs, i.e. the chips that power much of today’s artificial intelligence (AI) applications. The company’s market capitalization crossed the trillion dollar mark in mid-2023 as investors bet on AI driving demand for compute from companies like Cohere.

Cohere was founded in 2019 by Aidan Gomez, Ivan Zhang, and Nick Frosst, who used to work for Google’s Toronto AI lab. Cohere initially received seed funding from Radical Ventures, a Toronto-based firm that specializes in AI, followed by series A funding from Index Ventures and series B funding from Tiger Global, as Frosst explained on SlatorPod.

The company’s press release said the investment “will accelerate Cohere’s leadership position giving enterprises the power of AI on the cloud platform of their choice, keeping their data private and secure.”

Gomez, co-author of the seminal 2017 “Attention Is All You Need paper” on transformers, is quoted with a statement that “AI will be the heart that powers the next decade of business success.”

“As the early excitement about generative AI shifts toward ways to accelerate businesses, companies are looking to Cohere to position them for success in a new era of technology. The next phase of AI products and services will revolutionize business, and we are ready to lead the way,” Gomez said.

Cohere provides easy-to-use NLP products to developers and businesses including its own large language models (LLMs), which can be easily accessed via API across many cloud platforms, turning an expensive, multi-step process into an easy-to-use interface. 

In the October 2022 SlatorPod, Frosst highlighted Cohere’s value proposition, stating “We sell an API that allows developers to solve any language problem they might have,” whether it is content generation, semantic search, entity extraction, classification or translation.

By providing access to a comprehensive language solution, Cohere enables companies to leverage technology that would otherwise be challenging to develop independently, while simultaneously building a company that delivers significant value, said Frosst.