Bezos, Nvidia join OpenAI in funding humanoid robot startup, Bloomberg reports


Billionaire American businessman Jeff Bezos arrives for his meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the UK diplomatic residence in New York City, New York, U.S., September 20, 2021. Michael M. Santiago/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

(Reuters) -Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Nvidia and other big technology names are investing in startup Figure AI that develops human-like robots, Bloomberg News reported on Friday, citing people with knowledge of the situation.

Figure AI, also backed by ChatGPT-maker OpenAI and Microsoft, is raising about $675 million in a funding round that carries a pre-money valuation of about $2 billion, according to the report.

Bezos had committed $100 million through his firm Explore Investments LLC and Microsoft is investing $95 million, while Nvidia and an Amazon-affiliated fund are each providing $50 million, the report added.

Investments in artificial intelligence startups have sparked after the launch of OpenAI's viral chatbot ChatGPT in November 2022, as investors sense an opportunity, betting on these startups that they might outpace bigger rivals.

OpenAI, which at one point considered acquiring Figure, is investing $5 million, the report added.

Backers include Intel's venture capital arm, LG Innotek, Samsung's investment group, as well as venture firms Parkway Venture Capital and Align Ventures, the report added.

ARK Venture Fund, Aliya Capital Partners and Tamarack are also among investors in the startup, according to the report.

Amazon, Nvidia, Microsoft and Intel declined to comment, while other names mentioned in the report, including Figure AI, did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

Last year, Sunnyvale, California-based Figure, which develops general-purpose humanoid robots that could work in different environments and handle a variety of tasks from warehouses to retail, raised $70 million from investors led by Parkway Venture Capital in its first external round.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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