April 19, 2024

SK Telecom Pours $100 Million into Anthropic: Fueling AI Innovation in Telco Sector

Anthropic, a pioneering artificial intelligence startup co-founded by former leaders of OpenAI, is set to receive a substantial funding boost of $100 million from South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, SK Telecom (SKT). The announcement was made by SK Telecom on Sunday, marking the company’s strategic move to participate in the rapidly expanding field of generative AI.

This significant investment follows Anthropic’s recent success in raising $450 million during its Series C funding round, which was led by Spark Capital in May. Prior to this latest infusion of capital, SK Telecom had already participated in the Series C round through its venture capital arm, SK Telecom Venture Capital (SKTVC). In a noteworthy development, Germany-based software giant SAP had also joined the ranks of investors in Anthropic just last month.

SK Telecom’s foray into the burgeoning generative AI landscape is well-timed, as the company teams up with Anthropic to co-develop a multilingual large language model (LLM) tailored specifically for global telecommunications firms. The collaboration aims to enhance the capabilities of telcos through AI-powered solutions, and the customized LLM is a critical step in that direction. Overseeing the customization and product roadmap will be Jared Kaplan, Co-founder, and Chief Science Officer of Anthropic.

Dario Amodei, Co-founder, and CEO of Anthropic, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “SK Telecom has incredible ambitions to use AI to transform the telco industry. We’re excited to combine our AI expertise with SKT’s industry knowledge to build a LLM that is customized for telcos.”

The collaborative LLM project will facilitate members of the Global Telco AI Alliance, including industry giants such as Deutsche Telekom, e&, Singtel, and now SK Telecom, to deliver AI-driven solutions tailored to the needs of users within their respective markets. The LLM will provide support for languages such as English, Korean, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish.

Anthropic, established in 2021, is currently developing an AI system called Claude, akin to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. This system empowers corporations to manage various tasks, from search queries and generating answers to automating workflows, coding, and processing natural language in conversational contexts. Anthropic’s recent launch of Claude Instant 1.2, an updated version of its second-generation AI chatbot, builds on the strengths of Claude 2.

In the telecommunications sector, Claude’s applications will encompass industry-specific customer service, marketing, sales, and interactive consumer-focused applications.“Combining our Korean language-based LLM with Anthropic’s strong AI capabilities, we expect to create synergy and gain leadership in the AI ecosystem with our global telco partners,” Ryu Young-sang, CEO of SKT, said in its statement.

With this latest investment, the collaboration between Anthropic and SK Telecom is poised to drive transformative advancements in the telecommunications industry, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to enhance customer experiences and business operations on a global scale.

Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik

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