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Salesforce doubles funding to $500 million for AI startups and introduces its AI Cloud offering

Salesforce on Monday doubled its venture capital fund for generative AI startups to $500 million and unveiled the AI Cloud service that hopes to attract enterprises by offering the company's AI-powered products under one umbrella.

AI Cloud will include Salesforce's products from the Einstein service to workplace-messaging app Slack and data analysis software Tableau. Its starter pack will be available for $360,000 annually, the company said.

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The move underscores the race among technology companies to incorporate their tools with generative AI, which can create new text, imagery and other content based on inputs from past data.

"AI is reshaping our world and transforming business in ways we never imagined, and every company needs to become AI-first," said Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.

Along with the company's own offerings, AI Cloud will host the large-language models (LLMs) - the core software of artificial intelligence systems - from providers such as Amazon Web Services, Anthropic and Cohere.

Salesforce said it plans to ensure data privacy for businesses using such offerings by helping prevent the LLMs from retaining sensitive customer information.

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In March, the company launched the Einstein GPT service and said it is working with ChatGPT creator OpenAI to add the chatbot sensation to its collaboration software Slack.

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