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HomeTechTwo Google DeepMind scientists may leave company to form AI startup

Two Google DeepMind scientists may leave company to form AI startup

In a significant development within the artificial intelligence (AI) landscape, two scientists affiliated with

Google DeepMind

, the Alphabet’s AI division, are reportedly in talks with

investors

to establish an

AI startup

in Paris.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported that the team, comprising Laurent Sifre and Karl Tuyls, has engaged in discussions with potential investors regarding a substantial financing round, possibly exceeding EUR 200 million ($220 million). The proposed venture, tentatively named Holistic, is believed to centre its efforts on developing a new

AI model

.
Who are the two employees
Laurent Sifre, a key figure in DeepMind and co-author of the 2016 groundbreaking research on Go, which demonstrated a computer system defeating masters of the ancient game, is reportedly leading the initiative alongside Karl Tuyls. Tuyls, known for his work in game theory and multi-agent reinforcement learning within the AI domain, is anticipated to bring valuable expertise to the startup.

Reportedly, both scientists have submitted their resignations, although the information remains private.
The development follows a trend in the AI landscape, where Mistral AI, a rival to

OpenAI

, achieved a valuation of approximately $2 billion by the end of 2023. Similarly, Kyutai, a nonprofit AI research lab, secured EUR 300 million in initial funding upon its formation in November of the same year.
Ex-Googlers in AI startups

This is not the first time that a Google employee is leaving the company to work on their own startups. OpenAI, the company that developed ChatGPT, comprises former Google employees. In June last year, Google CEO Pichai was asked whether he was worried that Google researchers left the company to start rivals or to join others like OpenAI.
Pichia, which does not seem to have a problem with that, said this [Googlers leaving company] is healthy.
“Googlers have left to create over 2,000 startups, last I counted, and I think that’s great. Some of them are cloud customers down the line for us. Some of them come back. I think it’s healthy,” he replied.
At one time, reports suggest, there were 12 ex-Googlers in OpenAI. Barret Zoph, Liam Fedus, Luke Metz, Jacob Menick, and Rapha Gontijo Lopes were claimed to have joined OpenAI from Google.

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