Perplexity AI, the AI-native conversational search startup based in San Francisco, has successfully secured $73.6 million in Series B funding, bringing its total funding to an impressive $100 million. The funding round was spearheaded by IVP and saw participation from NEA, NVIDIA, Databricks, Bessemer Venture Partners, and prominent figures such as Jeff Bezos, Nat Friedman, and Toby Ludke.
The startup, founded in August 2022 by a team of skilled engineers—Aravind Srinivas, Denis Yarats, Johnny Ho, and Andy Konwinski—specializing in AI, distributed systems, search engines, and databases, has swiftly gained recognition for its innovative approach in reshaping the landscape of generative AI.
Perplexity’s unique value proposition lies in its AI research assistant, Copilot, designed to simplify search queries by tailoring them with custom follow-up questions. This eliminates the need for prompt engineering, allowing users to gain more relevant and comprehensive answers compared to traditional AI chatbots, search engines, or research tools.
CEO Aravind Srinivas expressed the platform’s user-friendly nature, stating, “With Perplexity, users can get instant answers to any question with full sources and citations included. Perplexity is for anyone and everyone who uses technology to search for information.”
The recent Series B funding, led by IVP, underscores Perplexity’s growing influence and potential in the generative AI space. Notable investors, including Jeff Bezos, signify confidence in the startup’s trajectory and its unique contribution to the evolving AI landscape.
Perplexity’s Copilot distinguishes itself with a chatbot-like interface, allowing users to pose questions in natural language and engage in follow-up inquiries for a deeper exploration of specific subjects. This conversational approach, coupled with the provision of source citations, sets Perplexity apart from traditional search engines.
Subscribers to Perplexity’s Pro plan, priced at $20 per month, gain access to a variety of models, including Google’s Gemini, Mistra 7B, Anthropic’s Claude 2.1, and OpenAI’s GPT-4. These models offer features such as image generation, unlimited Copilot usage, and file uploads, allowing users to receive detailed responses by analyzing uploaded documents.
While drawing comparisons to popular AI tools like Google’s Bard, Microsoft’s Copilot, and ChatGPT, Perplexity stands out with its distinctive chat-forward UI. Competing with startups like You.com, Perplexity aims to provide users with a more efficient model of knowledge acquisition, propelling society into a new era of accelerated learning and research.
Despite uncertainties around the longevity of gen AI search tools and concerns related to misuse and misinformation, Perplexity’s successful funding rounds and growing user base indicate a promising future for the startup. The funds from the Series B round will be utilized to expand operations and further enhance its business reach. With a vision to bring the power of AI to billions, Perplexity is positioned as a significant player in the transformative landscape of AI-driven search.