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May 15, 2023updated 20 Nov 2023 9:50am

Which companies have partnered with OpenAI?

The self-styled AI research laboratory OpenAI has cemented some lucrative friendships with major corporations in recent years.

By Silvia Pellegrino

Elon Musk and Sam Altman founded OpenAI in 2015 in San Francisco, California. However, in order to focus on his other projects, Musk left in 2018.

The artificial intelligence (AI) research and development company actually boomed in late 2022, when it started receiving significant funding from industry giants like Microsoft. Even Google and Amazon have created their own AI projects, respectively in Alexa and Bard.

OpenAI logo on the phone and Microsoft logo reflection.
OpenAI was founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman in 2015 / Image: Shutterstock

Today, the main funding sources of OpenAI are other tech companies like Microsoft, as well as the Reid Hoffman Foundation and Khosla Ventures. Other enterprises and startups are investing, day by day, in generative AI, and Tech Monitor collated a list of the main collaborators.

Microsoft

Microsoft’s relationship with OpenAI began in 2019 when it invested $1bn into the AI development company to develop new capabilities for its Azure cloud service and long-term research goals. Another $2bn was invested by Microsoft in OpenAI over the next three years.

The two firms would go on to collaborate in the development of what Microsoft described as the ‘world’s first cloud-based AI supercomputer,’ for use in training deep learning models, among other tasks. OpenAI has also relied heavily on Microsoft Azure servers to host products and services like Copilot, GitHub and, most famously, ChatGPT. The Redmond-based tech giant has courted legal controversy for doing so. Shortly after the release of Copilot, an AI assistant for coders trained on code samples publicly available on GitHub, Microsoft, GitHub and OpenAI was sued over a potential breach of copyright. 

Microsoft recently announced its incorporation of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, enabling it to develop and write down replies to queries rather than just presenting a list of links. Microsoft has also announced that it aims to implement OpenAI in its consumer products. For instance, it is probable that Microsoft will be integrating AI technology into Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook, according to The Information.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock began collaborating with OpenAI in 2021 when the latter started using the former’s image library to train what would later become its DALL-E generator. Shutterstock has specified that all AI-generated content will be published on its site in a transparent manner in the interests of creators and consumers, including disclosing when generative AI was used in the creation of an image and establishing a contributor fund to pay creators when it uses their work to train AI models. 

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Shutterstock has also announced its intention to incorporate OpenAI’s DALL-E-2 image-generating engine on its platform. Although there is no set timetable for this integration, the press release states that it will take place later this year. “This expert-level competency,” said Paul Hennessy, Shutterstock’s CEO, “makes Shutterstock the ideal partner to help the creative community navigate this new technology”.

BuzzFeed

BuzzFeed, too, has joined the OpenAI movement. As one of the most famous websites in the world, it announced in January that it would start introducing OpenAI in its main content, mostly to elevate its quizzes, but also to produce original material. 

New tests powered by AI will produce tailored findings, claimed CEO Jonah Peretti. While individuals are responsible for providing ideas, AI will be in charge of facilitating parts of the creative process at Buzzfeed, as well as enhancing the company’s content. In 15 years, according to Peretti, data and AI will be utilised to create, tailor, and animate content.

News that Buzzfeed would incorporate generative AI into its content production processes contributed to a spike in its stock price. When asked by The Verge to comment on whether Buzzfeed would ever use generative AI to help write news content, vice-president of communications Matt Mittenthal replied that it would not. He then added, a little ominously, that he could “confirm that we’ll be using OpenAI technology” in an undefined capacity.  

Salesforce

Salesforce, another big industry name, tapped OpenAI for a collaboration. Indeed, the popular chatbot creator ChatGPT is a perfect fit for the company’s collaboration software, Slack. Like Microsoft’s Teams, Slack is in an advantageous position due to its conversation-based nature.

Salesforce’s own EinsteinGPT will combine with OpenAI’s technology to help generate email drafts, customer-account information and even computer code language. The generative AI skills are also useful to summarise conversation threads, or even reply to queries. It would help “completely reimagine how they engage with their customers”, says Clara Shih, general manager at Salesforce.

The main objective behind this collaboration is to make easier the conversation between colleagues and clients, and it marks a significant development in business and enterprise culture.

Atlassian

In April 2023, software company Atlassian revealed its ongoing conversation with OpenAI.

Like Consensus, Atlassian can gain a lot from a collaboration with the GPT-4 language model, which has been trained on infinite sources of text from the web. In particular, Atlassian’s Jira Service Management, responsible for filtering and processing employees’ tech support inquiries in Slack, will achieve quicker and more efficient results.

Other Atlassian sectors such as the Confluence collaboration program, will see significant developments thanks to OpenAI’s collaboration. For example, when a worker does not recognise a term on a document, they will be able to click on it for an automatically-generated definition.

Bain & Company

Global consultancy firm Bain & Company announced its partnership with OpenAI in February 2023. The two companies are collaborating to enhance Bain’s digital implementation capabilities and expertise with OpenAI’s tools, like ChatGPT.

As Manny Maceda, Bain & Company’s worldwide managing partner, said: “By collaborating with OpenAI, we’re delighted to have unmatched access to state-of-the-art foundation AI models, so that we can create tailored digital solutions for our clients and help them realise business value.” One of these clients has been the Coca-Cola Company, which was the first one to engage with the partnership. “Coca-Cola’s vision for the adoption of OpenAI’s technology is the most ambitious we have seen of any consumer products company,” head of go-to-market at OpenAI Zack Kass explained.

Thanks to OpenAI‘s contribution, Bain & Company set some objectives. For instance, to build next-generation contact centres for banks, telcos and utility companies to support workers with automated scripts. Lessening the turn-around time for leading product and service marketers by using ChatGPT is also one of the goals, alongside helping financial advisors improve their productivity and responsiveness to clients thanks to the analysis of client dialogues and financial literature.

Neo

Investor Ali Partovi’s startup accelerator Neo also announced a collaboration with OpenAI. This entails that all companies under Neo’s wing will have access to Microsoft Azure’s cloud as well as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Dall-E image creation program.

Generally, startups working with generative AI received $2.65bn in funding in 2022, which is a 71% increase compared to 2021.

“As impressive as these innovations are, their greatest potential lies in how they’ll enable the next generation of startups, the things that other people will build on top of them that we haven’t seen yet,” Partovi said, and then continued: “This is not just about an industry or about money. It’s about in many ways the future of humanity, and including diverse voices in that conversation is necessary for getting it right.”

Consensus

When it comes to scientific web search, Consensus is one of the most promising startups. The Boston-based company launched in September 2022 and, since then, it has accumulated over 200,000 registered users. It aims to solve the issue of inaccurate search results by delivering expert knowledge from 200 million scientific research papers.

In April 2023, Consensus announced that it had raised $3m in a seed funding round to keep the work going and that it decided to partner up with OpenAI to achieve simple and plain user-friendly language. CEO Eric Olson said: “We value the truth and have always wanted an easy way to engage with the rigorous source material. We built Consensus because we wanted it to exist for ourselves.”

The platform is aided by OpenAI’s generative capabilities to synthesise the answers directly from its pool of sources, with the goal of using “language models to automate the steps that an expert would take in rigorously concluding a question, and build an intuitive and easy-to-use search experience around those automated steps,” Olsen told VentureBeat.

He continued: “Through our relationship with OpenAI, we were able to get early access to the customised GTP-4 API. We were internally working on our summary feature for months and shipped the new feature using GTP-4 in just five days after getting access to it.”

Read more: Sam Altman to lead new AI team at Microsoft after OpenAI departure

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