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Not content to sit on the sidelines of the generative AI race, Dropbox today launched Dropbox Ventures, a new $50 million venture fund focused on AI startups.
Dropbox Ventures, the company’s senior investment arm, will provide mentorship as well as financial support to build AI-powered products that “shape the future of work,” Dropbox VP and GM Satish Srinivasan told TechCrunch in an email interview.
“We want to develop the AI ecosystem and support the next generation of startups that take the lead in shaping the modern work experience through the power of AI,” he said. “Dropbox started as an early stage startup with a simple idea that has evolved into a service used by hundreds of millions of people around the world, so we have a unique perspective on what it takes to help these types of companies get to the next stage of growth and making an impact.”
Venture capitals (VCs) have steadily strengthened their positions in AI over the past few years, driven most recently by growth in generative AI. according According to GlobalData, AI startups received more than $52 billion in funding via more than 3,300 deals last year alone.
Corporate initiatives are a major source of this funding. For example, Salesforce Ventures, the venture capital division of Salesforce, plans to inject $500 million into startups developing generative AI technologies. a work day newly It added $250 million to its existing venture capital fund to support AI and machine learning startups. And Open AIThe company behind the viral chatbot, ChatGPT, has raised $175 million to invest in AI startups.
New features powered by AI
Dropbox has put its money where its mouth to go, today announcing new AI-powered additions to its leading cloud storage product.
The first, called Dropbox Dash, is a “universal” search bar that can display tools, content, and apps from third-party platforms including Google Workspace, Microsoft Outlook, Salesforce, and Notion. Designed to help find and organize different types of content, Dash will “learn, evolve, and improve” the more customers use it, Dropbox says.
“Soon, Dash will be able to pull your and your company’s information to answer questions and highlight relevant content using generative AI,” the company wrote in a blog post. “You won’t need to sift through all the links and internal pages of your company to find out when the next corporate holiday is — you’ll just be able to ask Dash and get a quick answer.”
In addition to displaying content, Dash can create stacks of links, providing a way to save, organize, and retrieve URLs. Stacks can be accessed from the new start page, which also hosts shortcuts to your recently accessed work in Dropbox and Dash’s search bar.
Another new Dropbox AI innovation is the Dropbox AI, which summarizes and extracts information from files stored in your Dropbox account.
Dropbox AI can review and create summaries from documents as well as video previews. It can answer questions in a chatbot-like fashion, drawing on the contents of research papers, contracts, meeting recordings, and more.
Upon launch, Dropbox AI works with file previews. But it will soon expand to folders and entire Dropbox accounts.
“You can expect more from us,” said Srinivasan. “Dash and Dropbox AI are just the latest examples of how AI and machine learning can improve the way our customers work. It’s clear that customers need more personalized AI, and we’re seeing applications across our entire portfolio to really reimagine those experiences. We want to continue to make the user experience present more seamlessly for our customers and bring more intelligence to content and workflows.”
Given the tendency of AI to derail, one might wonder about the accuracy of Dropbox AI summaries. Are they consistent? Can they be trusted?
To allay concerns, Dropbox has reaffirmed its commitment to building AI technologies “as fair and reliable as possible.” Of course, the company’s words don’t carry the same weight as, say, an independent audit, but take it for what it’s worth.
“In this coming era of AI, it’s more important than ever that we protect our customers’ privacy, act transparently, and reduce bias in our AI technologies,” Dropbox wrote.
Dropbox Dash is currently available in English to select customers in beta. Dropbox AI for file previews is in Alpha, and available in the US to all pre-release Dropbox Pro customers to mark the Dropbox difference.
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