Anthropic Raises $100M from South Korea’s SK Telecom

Google-backed startup Anthropic will receive $100 million in funding from South Korea's largest telco, SK Telecom.

The telco company announced the news on Sunday, saying it plans to promote AI innovation by building a bespoke large language model (LLM) for telcos. The two companies will develop a multilingual LLM that supports languages such as Korean, English, German, Japanese, Arabic, and Spanish.

By harnessing SK Telecom's experience in telecommunications, Anthropic will finetune its state-of-the-art AI assistant Claude to telco uses cases along with industry-specific customer service, marketing, sales, and interactive consumer applications.

“SKT 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. We see industry specific LLMs as having high potential to create safer and more reliable deployments of AI technology,” said Dario Amodei, Co-Founder and CEO of Anthropic.

SK Telecom previously invested in Anthropic in May when the AI startup raised more than $450 million in a Series C funding round led by Spark Capital.

Anthropic, a San Francisco-based company founded by ex-OpenAI staff, has gained recognition for its Claude series of Language Models (LLMs), a direct rival of OpenAI's GPT. Anthropic's latest iteration, Claude 2, boasts improved performance, extended response capabilities, and accessibility via an API. The startup claims that Claude 2 is able to hold easy and informative conversations, minimizes harmful outputs, and has a longer memory. The company has also revealed an upgraded version of Claude Instant, a faster and more cost-efficient text generation model available through an API.