A pair of scientists at Google DeepMind are reportedly in talks to leave the Artificial Intelligence (AI) division of Alphabet Inc. and form a new AI startup in Pairs. According to a Bloomberg report, people familiar with the conversations have said that the team held discussions with potential investors about a financing round which may go beyond the mark of €200 million (Rs 18.14 billion).
Bloomberg reported that Laurent Sifre, a scientist at DeepMind, is in talks to form the company, named Holistic, with fellow DeepMind scientist Karl Tuyls. As per the information shared by the sources, the venture may be focused on building a new AI model.
According to the report, both Sifre and Tuyls didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. When Bloomberg pursued a DeepMind representative to comment on the startup plans, then that person declined as well.
Both the scientists have reportedly handed in their resignation and are currently serving their notice periods.
Who Are Sifre & Tuyls
Sifre was a co-author of the 2016 DeepMind research on Go which was a seminal work that showed a computer system defeating the champions of the ancient game for the first time. It sparked an international frenzy over AI.
Tuyls on the other hand has worked on research into game theory and multi-agent reinforcement learning which is a branch of AI that explores interactions between autonomous actors, often through video games.
Both scientists are widely considered leaders in their field. This massive financing round is further evidence of strong investor interest in the technology.
Venture capitalists and business tycoons in France have poured funds into startups emerging from Parisian universities and the AI hubs of Silicon Valley firms.
The Chief Executive Office of Mistral AI, an OpenAI rival, also worked for DeepMind, formed in early 2023 and had raised two sizable rounds by the year’s end to earn a valuation of approximately $2 billion USD.