Corporate AI funds: The list

Wondering which corporate venturers have specialist investment funds for artificial intelligence? Here is the list of traditional funds and new units, offshoots and accelerators.

If one thing marked out 2023, it was been the emergence of generative artificial intelligence, which has brought forth a new wave of billion-dollar unicorn startups as it promises to transform a wide range of industries.

But last year was not the first time a company has launched a dedicated AI fund or startup investment initiative. So, which corporates have formed one, how long have they had it and where are they investing? Here’s the full round up so far – we’ll update this as new initiatives spring up:

Amazon (AWS Generative AI Accelerator)

Amazon’s AWS cloud services subsidiary is betting big on generative AI and in April 2023 it launched a dedicated accelerator for startups in the sector, backed by partners including venture firms Sequoia Capital and Radical Ventures.

The scheme offers $300,000 in AWS credits to participants along with mentorship, and the accelerator announced the inaugural batch of 18 startups back in May. The first demo day was scheduled for the end of last month.

Baidu (Baidu Wenxin Investment Fund)

Once known as China’s Google, Baidu has expanded its search engine into a diversified internet company covering news, games, a social network and mobile payment. It unveiled an AI chatbot called Ernie (or Wenxin, in China) in March 2023 and formed a dedicated investment vehicle, Baidu Wenxin Investment Fund, two months later.

The fund is equipped with about $140m in capital and was launched together with the Wenxin Cup, a contest where entrepreneurs can submit their generative AI projects to win a prize sized at approximately $1.4m. It is yet to officially disclose its first deal, though sister unit Baidu Ventures backed generative AI startup Shengshu Technology’s $14m angel round in June.


The networking technology provider’s Cisco Investments subsidiary announced a $1bn AI fund in June 2024, the largest corporate venture fund yet to be dedicated entirely to artificial intelligence technology.

Cisco disclosed the fund alongside news it had invested in generative AI unicorns Cohere and Mistral AI and AI training software provider Scale AI, part of the $200m the company said it had already committed.


The mass media group set generative AI as the subject for the first themed cohort of its Comcast NBCUniversal Lift Labs accelerator in April 2023.

Databricks (Databricks AI Fund)

Databricks’ software combines data and AI, and the latter was one of the key areas when it announced corporate venture arm Databricks Ventures in 2021. The unit had invested in 25 startups through its Lakehouse Fund by the time it took the wraps off the Databricks AI Fund in May 2024. It came in the wake of the company adding generative AI unicorns Glean and Mistral to its portfolio in the previous six months.

Dropbox (Dropbox Ventures)

Data software provider Dropbox had been an occasional startup investor, most notably providing $5m for enterprise software management platform BetterCloud in 2019. But it had never actually put together its own CVC unit.

That changed in June 2023 when it unveiled a $50m fund dubbed Dropbox Ventures that was put together to invest in developers of AI tools and applications. The unit, announced together with AI products Dropbox Dash and Dropbox AI, had made two investments as of February this year.

Google (Gradient Ventures)

Internet technology provider Google launched Gradient in 2017 as an AI fund to complement GV and CapitalG, the corporate venture units overseen by parent group Alphabet. Six years on, founding managing partner Anna Patterson departed, to be replaced by Donald Harrison.

Gradient was one of the more active early-stage funds even before this year, when its investment pace ramped up significantly. It now counts more than 110 active portfolio companies (and more in stealth), and collaboration software producer Mural and deep-learning infrastructure provider Lambda are among the Gradient portfolio companies to have disclosed unicorn valuations in the past year.

IBM (IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund)

Computing technology producer IBM ploughed $1bn into a dedicated division for AI query system Watson in 2014 that included a $100m fund designed to create an ecosystem around the technology, but it was never that active and subsequently wound down.

IBM went on to fund quantum, cybersecurity and data technology through its IBM Ventures unit, and doubled down in November 2023 with a $500m commitment to deals intended to boost its access to generative AI technology and research. The move came in the wake of several AI-focused investments by the corporate that included a $235m round for machine learning collaboration platform Hugging Face and a $50m series A for AI-focused cybersecurity software producer HiddenLayer.


Image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via Pixabay

Kasikorn Bank (KXVC)

The Thai bank’s latest fund, KXVC, is a $100m vehicle which was set up in September 2023 to invest in edge technologies, with AI and Web3 the two main focus areas. The unit runs both venture investment and venture studio arms, the latter having been operational since 2021.

Mass General Brigham

The US-based health system put $30m into a dedicted Artificial Intelligence and Digital Innovation Fund in 2020 designed to operate alongside corporate VC unit Mass General Brigham Ventures. It had disclosed four deals as of a $150m round for medical chatbot developer Abridge in early 2024.

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group

Japan-based financial services firm MUFG put $136m into the latest fund for strategic investment arm MUFG Innovation Partners in September 2023, expanding its technology sphere to generative AI.

OpenAI (OpenAI Startup Fund)

OpenAI’s launch of advanced AI chatbot ChatGPT may have represented ground zero for generative AI hype, but the company had actually formed its own early-stage investment fund as far back as mid-2021, in partnership with its largest investor, Microsoft.

The company waited until the end of 2022 to announce its first four portfolio companies – Descript, Harvey AI, Mem and Speak – and increased the size of the fund from $100m to $175m in May 2023. It has also launched an accelerator scheme called Converge that offers $1m in equity financing for each participating startup.

PayPal (PayPal Ventures AI Fund)

Digital payment processor PayPal’s corporate venture arm made the first investment out of its AI Fund in February 2024, co-leading a $30m round for Raya, developer of an open-source development platform for enterprise-grade conversational AI tools.

The fund is not an additional portion of capital but instead represents a set portion of the cash PayPal Ventures will invest through 2017, It is targeting early-stage AI technology startups spanning all industries and verticals.

Qualcomm (Qualcomm Ventures AI Fund)

Mobile chipmaker Qualcomm’s corporate venture subsidiary channelled $100m into a specialist AI fund also, in 2018, with the intention of building on its internal AI research by accessing startups in areas like autonomous cars, robotics and machine learning platforms.

The fund’s first investment was in Israeli facial recognition startup AnyVision, which has since reached unicorn status. Subsequent AI deals took place under the banner of Qualcomm Ventures. Although the unit has more than 30 active AI-focused portfolio companies, it is unclear whether those investments are still made through a separate fund.


Image courtesy of Salesforce, Inc.

Salesforce (Salesforce Ventures Generative AI Fund)

The enterprise software provider announced a $250m Generative AI Fund in March 2023 along with four portfolio companies. Unlike previous CVC funds that concentrated on products that use AI, Salesforce’s was focused squarely on the large language models that make up generative AI programs, and that initial portfolio included unicorns Anthropic and Cohere.

The unit doubled the size of fund to $500m just two months later, by which time Anthropic had raised another $450m at a valuation approaching $5bn and Cohere had closed a $270m round valuing it above $2bn. Subsequent deals include a $100m series B round valuing AI content creation platform Typeface at $1bn, and a $141m series C extension for its peer, Runway, at a $1.4bn valuation.

SAP/Sapphire Ventures

Sapphire, which spun off from SAP and still counts the enterprise software producer as a major backer, announced in July 2023 it is committing $1bn to AI-powered enterprise technology startups in areas including generative AI.


Digital workflow software producer ServiceNow added $1bn in capital to corporate VC arm ServiceNow Ventures in May 2023, citing AI and machine learning as two of its key investment areas. Activity since then has included a $1bn round valuing AI data foundry Scale AI at nearly $14bn.

SoftBank (Deepcore)

Japanese telecoms and internet group SoftBank formed a domestic fund called Deepcore in 2018 with just over $50m and a mission to fund AI startups at seed and early stages. It racked up several deals in its first year including a series A investment in Telexistence, a shelf-stacking robotics developer that closed a $170m round featuring SoftBank in mid-2023.

SoftBank launched a $55m second Deepcore fund in 2019 and its portfolio now stands at more than 70 startups. Deepcore, which has formed partnerships with corporates such as Nvidia and Zeroth, remains active in 2024 and has widened its focus to more companies outside of Japan. Those include, the UK-based creator of an app development platform, which recently completed a $250m series D round last year.


Solana Foundation, the owner of cryptocurrency software provider Solana, boosted the size of its AI grant fund from $1m to $10m in May 2023. It will supply grants of up to $25,000 to projects that combine the Solana blockchain with AI technology.


Corporate venture unit T-Mobile Ventures launched its second fund last September, adding AI to the 5G-focused technology in which it invests on behalf of its mobile network operator parent.


The carmaker’s Toyota Research Institute invested $100m in a fund aimed at AI, robotics and data technology in 2017, and it had accumulated a 19-strong portfolio by the time Toyota launched a $100m Fund II two years later. Its biggest exit was the $6.6bn reverse takeover of air taxi developer Joby Aviation in 2021.

Toyota ended up reorganising its CVC funds the same year, absorbing the Toyota AI Ventures companies into a newly rebranded Toyota Ventures. The corporate now backs AI technology startups through Toyota Ventures’ Frontier Fund, and AI was named as an area of interest when it announced its $150m second Frontier Fund in April 2024.

Visa (Visa GenAI Fund)

The payment services firm claims to have utilised AI since 1993 and has been making strategic investments in startups since 2007, so putting $100m into a generative AI initiative that will be overseen by its Visa Ventures unit seemed a natural next step.

Visa launched its GenAI fund in October 2023 to fund startups integrating the technology into commerce and payment products. It is yet to reveal its first investment out of the fund.


The company doubled the capital available for its Workday Ventures unit to $500m in February 2023. The business management software producer said at the time of the announcement that it planned to now put more money into emerging technologies like generative AI.

Updated: May 23, 2024


Originally posted on Global Corporate Venturing

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