Perplexity aims to revolutionise AI-powered search and rival Google

California-based start-up has raised $73.6m in latest funding round

Founded in 2022, Perplexity has to date raised $100 million. Reuters
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Perplexity, a start-up that aims to challenge Google's stronghold in web search, is planning to expand its footprint globally and boost adoption of its technology.

The company recently completed a successful funding round raising $73.6 million, led by venture capital firm IVP. The new round also saw participation from Nvidia, Jeff Bezos (through Bezos Expeditions Fund), Bessemer Venture Partners, Factorial Funds and Kindred Ventures, among others.

Founded in 2022, California-based Perplexity has to date raised $100 million. The latest funding round valued the company at around $520 million.

“Perplexity is intensely building a product capable of bringing the power of AI to billions,” said Cack Wilhelm, general partner at IVP, who has joined Perplexity’s board of directors.

“The team possesses the unique ability to uphold a grand, long-term vision while shipping product relentlessly, requirements to tackle a problem as important and fundamental as search.”

Perplexity's search tools provide users with instant answers to any query, complete with included sources and citations. There's no requirement to navigate through various links, compare responses, or endlessly search for information, the company said.

Generative AI industry gained momentum in late 2022 with the introduction of ChatGPT, the sensational platform from Microsoft-backed OpenAI.

Google-owned Bard is the other front-runner in the burgeoning field, which has attracted attention from other notable names. Microsoft has also made its AI assistant Copilot available on its Office 365 suite of applications.

In November, Amazon Web Services launched its own generative AI tool, Amazon Q. Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has also launched a series of generative AI tools.

Perplexity has grown to 10 million monthly active users and has served over half a billion queries in 2023. More than a million users have installed its mobile apps, the company said.

“AI will also transform how we access information. Perplexity is at the forefront of this shift … they will become the go-to place for trusted information,” said Jonathan Cohen, vice president of applied research at Nvidia.

Perplexity is chip maker Nvidia’s first consumer investment from its corporate arm.

In an era where misinformation and AI hallucinations are causing increasing concern, Perplexity said its model is built on the idea that accuracy and transparency are “prerequisites to making AI-powered search ubiquitous”, said Aravind Srinivas, chief executive and co-founder of Perplexity.

The company has also launched Copilot, an AI research assistant that tailors search queries and does not require users to ask perfectly phrased questions to get the answers they seek.

This enables users to gain more relevant and comprehensive answers than other AI chatbots, traditional search engines, or research tools, said Mr Srinivas, who worked as research scientist at OpenAI before co-founding Perplexity.

Updated: January 05, 2024, 6:00 PM