Jeff Bezos, Nvidia, OpenAI and Microsoft join forces to develop human-like robots | Technology

Jeff Bezos, Nvidia and other big names in technology are investing in a company that develops human-like robots, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, as part of a fight to find new applications for artificial intelligence.

The startup Figure AI, which also has the support of OpenAI and Microsoft, is carrying out a financing round with which it intends to raise about 675 million dollars, despite the fact that it carries a prior valuation of about 2,000 million dollars, according to the same sources, which They asked not to be identified because it is a private matter. Through his company Explore Investments, Bezos has committed $100 million. Microsoft will invest 95 million, while Nvidia and a fund affiliated with They will contribute 50 million each.

Robots have become a fundamental new frontier for the artificial intelligence industry, allowing cutting-edge technology to be applied to real-world tasks. In Figure, engineers work on a robot that looks and moves like a human. The company has stated that it hopes its machine, called Figure 01, can perform dangerous jobs that are not suitable for people and that its technology will help alleviate labor shortages.

Other technology companies also participate. The venture capital arm of Intel Corp. contributes $25 million, and LG Innotek, $8.5 million. For its part, Samsung's investment group has committed five million. The promoters also include the venture capital companies Parkway Venture Capital, which is investing $100 million, and Align Ventures, which is contributing $90 million.

ARK Venture Fund also participates with $2.5 million, while Aliya Capital Partners invests $20 million. Other investors are Tamarack, with 27 million dollars; Boscolo Intervest Ltd., which invests 15 million, and BOLD Capital Partners, with 2.5 million.

OpenAI, which once considered acquiring Figure, invests five million dollars. Bloomberg News reported in January on the funding round, which began with Microsoft and OpenAI as lead initial investors. These big names helped attract the influx of cash from the other entities. The $675 million raised represents a significant increase over the $500 million initially requested by Figure.

Representatives for Figure and its investors either declined to comment or did not immediately respond to requests for information.

People with knowledge of the matter expect investors to transfer funds to Figure AI and sign formal agreements on Monday, but the numbers could change as final details are finalized. The valuation of approximately $2 billion is pre-moneymeaning it doesn't take into account the capital Figure is raising.

In May, Figure raised $70 million in a funding round led by Parkway. At the time, its CEO, Brett Adcock, stated: “We hope to be one of the first groups to bring to market a humanoid that can be truly useful and carry out commercial activities.”

The AI ​​robotics sector has been very busy lately. Earlier this year, OpenAI-backed Norwegian robotics company 1X Technologies AS raised $100 million. Vancouver-based Sanctuary AI is developing a humanoid robot called Phoenix. And Tesla Inc. is working on a robot called Optimus, which Elon Musk considers one of his most important projects.

Agility Robotics, which Amazon backed in 2022, has robots in testing in one of the retailer's warehouses. Bezos — the second richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg's billionaire ranking — was CEO of Amazon until 2021 and remains president.

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