Writer Lands $100M in New Funding for Enterprise AI Writing Application
Employing a custom LLM to differentiate from a crowded field
Writer announced a new $100 million funding round led by ICONIQ with participation from WndrCo, Balderton Capital, Insight Partners, and others. The new funding brings Writer’s total funding to $126 million. TechCrunch reported that the valuation range for the round was between $500 - $700 million.
Industry Specific LLMs
The company said it would use the new funding to build out industry-specific large language models (LLM). Whereas other generative AI writing assistants such as Jasper leverage third-party LLMs, Writer has created its own suite of LLM models, that “are trained on 1 trillion tokens of formal and business writing containing no IP or copyrighted content.”
The latter point might be attractive to some enterprises. The uncertainty around the legal status of generative AI outputs that may contain copyrighted materials is viewed by some enterprises as taking on unnecessary risk.
Writer provides the custom LLMs, a knowledge graph, and an application layer with a “chat interface and prebuilt templates.” It also offers the option for enterprises to self-host the application if preferred for security and privacy reasons. Writer’s LLMs include:
Palmyra 5B, 20B, 30B, 30B Instruct
Silk Road 35B
The broader enterprise storyline around generative AI centers almost exclusively on productivity increases. Writer also referenced productivity benefits as part of the announcement, saying:
In a study of over 50 enterprise customers, Writer was found to return an average of 7.5 hours of productivity per employee per week. Writer takes a full-stack approach that enables diverse use cases across the entire organization, not just solely on foundation models or an out-of-the-box app that only generates content.
These benefits, along with blue chip clients such as Intuit and Accenture, and its proprietary technology stack, appear to be key elements driving the new investment and valuation.
Jasper AI’s layoffs over the summer suggested that the generative AI writing assistant category may not be very attractive going forward. ChatGPT, Google Bard, Anthropic’s Claude 2, and other foundation model chatbots fulfill many of the typical business user’s writing needs. However, Writer may have correctly identified a value proposition that matches enterprise requirements. Customization, security, and proprietary features are often attractive differentiators.
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