Dropbox Launches $50 Million Venture Fund for AI Startups

Dropbox Launches $50 Million Venture Fund for AI Startups

File hosting services provider Dropbox has launched a $50 million venture fund for AI-focused startups, joining a host of companies that are investing in budding enterprises within the AI industry.

This follows the ballooning of the generative AI sector, which quickly rose to  prominence following the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November of last year.

Dropbox also announced new AI features for its flagship cloud storage service in further AI-related news.

A shot in the arm for startups

Dropbox Ventures, which is the company’s first venture division, will offer mentorship and capital to build AI-powered products. On Tuesday Dropbox vice president Sateesh Srinivasan told TechCrunch that AI would help shape modern work experiences.

“We want to advance the AI ecosystem and support the next generation of startups who are taking the lead in shaping the modern work experience through the power of AI,” said Srinivasan.

Management at the San Francisco headquartered software company understand the role that mentorship and financial investment play in the success of companies.

“Dropbox began as an early-stage startup with a simple idea that grew to a service used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, so we have a unique perspective on what it takes to help these types of companies get the next phase of growth and make it happen,” added Srinivasan.

Also read: Accenture Pours $3 Billion in Investment to Power AI Efforts

AI venture capitalists on the increase

A wave of fresh investments from VC firms is accelerating the AI race. VC funds poured over $50 billion into AI last year alone according to research conducted by GlobalData. Salesforce pledged a $500 million investment fund towards AI startups, while OpenAI managed to raise $174 million.

Overall, the US and China are leading the AI wave while the EU and Japan are trailing, as global annual VC investment has grown from less than $3 billion in 2012 to nearly $75 billion in 2020. This is according to research from the OECD policy observatory.

Both the US and China have also been the biggest recipients of VC funds for AI as the two superpowers are racing to be leaders in the industry, pioneering various technologies. In 2020, the startups in these two countries took up an estimated 80% of total global VC investments.

AI powered products

Backing its commitment towards AI, Dropbox launched two AI powered products: Dropbox Dash and Dropbox AI. These services are aimed at improving user search experience.

According to Srinivasan the changes were necessary because “we found that there’s no longer one single organized place where people feel productive and in control of their content.”

Dropbox Dash

This product is designed as a universal search tool which can be integrated into platforms like Google Workspace, Microsoft Outlook, and Salesforce. The tool can save users time by compiling search results from multiple platforms, eliminating the need to go through different tabs and platforms looking for information. Dash, which is said to use generative AI to improve search results, currently in beta and only available to a select few.

“Soon, Dash will be able to pull from your information and your company’s information to answer questions and surface relevant content using generative AI. You won’t need to sift through all your company’s internal links and pages to find out when the next company holiday is — you’ll just be able to ask Dash and get an answer, fast,” said Dropbox in a blogpost.

Dropbox AI

Dropbox AI is an AI-powered summarization tool. The  that will provide users with summaries of large documents, video and even meeting recordings. Dropbox AI will allow users to search what they want without going through files and folders. Dropbox AI will be applicable to all available folders on a user Dropbox account.

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.