Amazon plans to spend $230 million on GenAI startups

Amazon © BoliviaInteligente on Unsplash
Amazon © BoliviaInteligente on Unsplash
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E-commerce giant Amazon has announced that it will spend a total of $230 million to support startups working on Generative AI (GenAI). Of the investment, about $80 million will go to Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) second Generative AI Accelerator program, according to TechCrunch. The investments aim to position AWS as an attractive cloud infrastructure for startups developing generative AI models to power their products, apps, and services.

Larger GenAI accelerator program

Amazon plans to provide a large part of the new tranche in the form of computing credits for the AWS infrastructure. This means that the money cannot be transferred to other cloud service providers such as Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure. Amazon promises that the startups in this year’s accelerator cohort will have access to experts and technologies from Nvidia, the program’s presentation partner. They will also be allowed to participate in the Nvidia Inception program, which offers companies the opportunity to connect with potential investors and additional consulting resources.

The GenAI accelerator program has also grown significantly. Last year’s cohort, which included 21 startups, only received up to $300,000 in AWS compute credits, for a total investment of about $6.3 million.

Amazon wants to catch up with other tech giants

With this new effort, we will help startups launch and scale world-class businesses, providing the building blocks they need to unleash new AI applications that will impact all facets of how the world learns, connects, and does business,” said Matt Wood, VP of AI Products at AWS.

Amazon is pouring more and more money into GenAI. Efforts include the $100 million AWS Generative AI Innovation Center, free loans for startups using key AI models, and the Project Olympus model. All of this comes as the company tries to catch up with rivals like Microsoft. While Amazon claims its various generative AI businesses have reached multi-billion in revenue, the company is widely seen as a generative AI loser.

AWS originally planned to unveil its own generative AI model similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and codenamed Bedrock – which eventually became Amazon’s Bedrock model hosting service – at its annual conference in November 2022. But the launch has since been delayed. Amazon also turned down early opportunities to back two leading AI startups, Cohere and Anthropic. The company later tried to invest in Cohere but was rejected and had to settle for a co-investment (albeit a large one, totaling $4 billion) in Anthropic with main rival Google.


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