Visa Creates $100M Generative AI Startup Investment Fund
Visa has launched a $100 million investment fund for generative AI startups. The finance giant’s corporate investment arm, Visa Ventures, will seek out young companies linking generative AI technology to commerce and payment software and other tools, with an eye toward staying ahead of the rapid changes engendered in those spaces by large language models (LLMs) and related concepts.
Funding Generative AI Futures
“With generative AI’s potential to be one of the most transformative technologies of our time, we are excited to expand our focus to invest in some of the most innovative and disruptive venture-backed startups building across generative AI, commerce and payments,” Visa Ventures head David Rolf explained in a statement.
Visa believes generative AI will soon reshape commerce in profound ways that require investigation. The investment plan suggests Visa wants to find ways of leveraging generative AI to enhance its payment network operations and the features it offers partners in financial technology. The company claims this merely extends a 30-year project as a “pioneer” in employing AI for payments. Visa’s announcement is vague on exactly the kind of startups they want, but Visa Ventures likely has a very broad remit since generative AI technology and its place in commerce is still taking shape. The logical strategy will probably include many investments on the lower end of the scale as Visa tests out startups for potential bigger, long-term investments.
Visa isn’t the only venture capital organization looking to get in early on the next big generative AI startup. OpenAI has created a venture fund and startup accelerator program, as has Amazon. Salesforce Ventures created a Generative AI Fund of its own in March and doubled its size to $500 million just a few months later. Salesforce has also created an accelerator program for philanthropic groups interested in using generative AI. Still, Visa is a powerful name in commerce and it is focusing on commerce, as opposed to the current funding frenzy around synthetic media and enterprise assistants. The startups that attract Visa’s eye and checkbook may be keen to find a like-minded investor.
“While much of generative AI so far has been focused on tasks and content creation, this technology will soon not only reshape how we live and work, but it will also meaningfully change commerce in ways we need to understand,” Visa chief product and strategy officer Jack Forestell stated.