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Elon Musk’s xAI Nears $6 Billion Funding, Valuation Hits $18 Billion

ByHuey Yee Ong

Apr 26, 2024
Elon Musk's xAI Nears $6 Billion Funding, Valuation Hits $18 Billion

Elon Musk’s xAI Nears $6 Billion Funding, Valuation Hits $18 Billion

Elon Musk’s new AI company, xAI, is reportedly close to securing $6 billion in funding, raising its valuation to $18 billion before the deal is finalized.

Initially set to raise $3 billion at a $15 billion valuation, the adjustment comes amid strong investor interest, with major venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital and Future Ventures eager to participate.

xAI, a direct competitor to OpenAI, aims to enhance the integration of digital and physical realities, leveraging Musk’s portfolio of companies to enrich its AI models.

Just last weekend, an update communicated by Jared Birchall, who oversees Musk’s family office, revealed that due to overwhelming interest, the investment terms were revised to the potential investors who have been keen on the opportunity for several months.

Who Are the Key Investors Behind xAI?

Key venture capital firms involved include Sequoia Capital and Future Ventures, which is co-founded by Steve Jurvetson, a long-time associate of Musk and board member at SpaceX. Other potential investors mentioned are Valor Equity Partners and Gigafund, led by founders closely associated with Musk’s various ventures. Despite attempts, responses from these investors have not been forthcoming, and xAI does not have a designated press function to provide further details.

The investor circle notably includes influential figures in the tech and investment world who have previously backed Musk’s ventures like SpaceX and Tesla. For example, Gigafund’s Luke Nosek and Valor’s Antonio Gracias both have histories of early investment in Musk’s projects and have maintained close ties with him through positions on boards like that of SpaceX.

xAI’s strategic ambitions involve utilizing a wealth of training data from Musk’s companies, including Tesla, SpaceX, Boring Company, and Neuralink, to bridge the gap between digital services and physical applications. The integration is already beginning with the deployment of Grok, xAI’s chatbot, on X (formerly known as Twitter), Musk’s social media platform. This not only provides xAI with substantial exposure but also leverages X’s extensive user base to refine Grok’s capabilities, particularly in scenarios like autonomous driving and robotics.

Further implications of xAI’s developments include potential advancements in Tesla’s robotics programs, particularly the Optimus humanoid robot, which is expected to start operating in Tesla factories by the end of the year. Although this timeline may be ambitious, the integration of advanced AI could accelerate its capabilities.

Challenging OpenAI

However, the implications of xAI’s rise extend beyond Musk’s corporate boundaries. The ongoing development poses intriguing questions for OpenAI, which Musk co-founded in 2015 but left in 2018 due to strategic disagreements. Musk has openly criticized OpenAI, particularly after its transition from a non-profit to a for-profit model, and has even suggested a renaming to “ClosedAI” amidst legal battles. His recent move to open-source xAI’s chatbot architecture contrasts sharply with OpenAI’s guarded approach, underscoring his strategy to set xAI apart.

For X, which has faced challenges and valuation drops since Musk’s acquisition, owning a stake in xAI represents a strategic investment that could reap significant benefits, particularly as xAI’s technologies mature and find applications across Musk’s corporate spectrum.

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Featured Image courtesy of ALAIN JOCARD/AFP via Getty Images

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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