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Anthropic is expanding in Europe and raising more money

After OpenAI announces the latest iteration of its large-language GPT model, its biggest rival in generative artificial intelligence in the US has announced its own expansion. anthropic said Monday that Claude, its AI assistant, is now working in Europe with support for «multiple languages,» including French, German, Italian and Spanish through Claude.ai, its iOS app and business plan for Teams.

The launch comes after Anthropic expanded its API to Europe to get developers to use and integrate its models. Both are part of a larger startup push to accelerate growth. Anthropic has raised nearly $8 billion to date at a valuation of $18.4 billion (post-money), with more than $7 billion of that amount raised in the past year.

Co-founder and president Daniela Amodei confirmed to TechCrunch that Anthropic is in the process of raising more seed capital on top of that. «Yes, but we can’t comment further,» she said of the fundraiser in an email interview.

Anthropic’s list of nearly 60 current investors includes strategic Amazon, Google, Salesforce, SAP and Zoom. Alameda and FTX recently announced plans to sell their previous shares at an increased value of $884 million as part of a secondary transaction related to bankruptcy proceedings.

Anthropic isn’t the only one taking advantage of investors’ strong appetite to back AI startups. We learned from sources close to Mistral AI, another LLM player, that it is talking to investors to raise nearly $600 million at a $6 billion valuation. Namely, SoftBank is not an investor in any of these companies, putting it in the frame as one of the possible supporters.

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Investors are very enthusiastic about generative artificial intelligence right now, but consumers may be a little less so. As we reported last week, Anthropic’s iOS app, launched in early May, had lukewarm reception from existing users, highlighting larger questions about how much of the interest we’re seeing in AI is just a fad. That could pose a challenge as the company seeks further business across the pond.

Amodei believes that its own iOS launch versus OpenAI’s isn’t a direct comparison, given Anthropic’s primary focus on business and enterprise applications, an emphasis on «fluid» experiences that move from personal to work accounts and switch between different interfaces and platform, and what it implies may have been luck in timing a bigger rival.

«ChatGPT on mobile appeared at a time when consumer applications of this type were still in their infancy and a lot has changed since then,» she said. She added that «millions» of consumers in the US and UK are using Claude «and we continue to see really strong uptake of our paid subscription to Claude (Claude Pro) since the launch of Claude 3, the company’s latest model, announced earlier this year.

“Our primary focus is on business and enterprise apps—and the recent app launch Claude Team’s plan is an indicator of a permanent trend for us. We want our users to interact with Claude in whatever way feels most intuitive—whether via mobile, web, or API. We’re building toward a fairly fluid experience, where Claude users can switch between their personal and work accounts, and switch between their laptop and mobile, the same way employees use Slack on their laptops during the workday or on their phones when they are in motion.»

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Amodei declined to provide any specific figures on API uptake in Europe, but said it is seeing «steep growth rates that continue to increase in key European markets, such as France and Germany.» Stimulating the interest of users across Europe is only one of the company’s challenges in this market.

Europe has been one of the loudest voices on the issue of AI security and regulation, particularly with the Artificial Intelligence Act passed earlier this year. Amodei believes that Anthropic is well placed to work in the European framework.

«Anthropic was founded on the premise of building the most secure AI systems in the industry and a leader in AI security research,» she said, adding that the company is working «diligently» to comply with regulations like GDPR in the EU. She added that it is still waiting to see how the Law on AI will be implemented.

«While the AI ​​Act has been approved, there are still many steps left to develop detailed implementation guidelines over the coming months and we intend to work with the EU in this process.» The company, she added, continues to work and contribute to industry efforts to improve AI security, including banning the use of its technology for political campaigns and lobbying, with built-in automated systems to detect related breaches and disinformation.

His work on mechanical interpretability — which she described as «research that seeks to open the ‘black box’ of AI models and reveal their inner workings» — had a breakthrough in 2023 around «learning vocabulary” to understand what is happening inside the AI ​​model as it “thinks,” she said. «Ultimately, we hope to use this newfound understanding to develop methods to steer models toward safer behavior.»

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Anthropic currently has 40 employees from its London office with several contractors from European countries, Amodei said, and is preparing to hire more, especially to build a new office in Dublin.

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