Scale AI valued at $14 billion in Nvidia, Amazon-backed funding round

Trudeau visits the offices of artificial intelligence tech company Scale AI in Montreal

(Reuters) -Scale AI said on Tuesday it had raised $1 billion in a late-stage funding round led by venture capital firm Accel with participation from tech giants Nvidia, Amazon, and Meta, valuing the AI data startup at nearly $14 billion.

Top tech companies are racing to build AI into their products and services. Startups catering to the surge in demand for AI chips and machine learning have been a bright spot in an otherwise subdued private funding market.

Founded in 2016, Scale AI provides vast amounts of accurately labeled data, which is pivotal for training sophisticated tools like OpenAI's ChatGPT.

The company also helps its clientele — including tech giant Microsoft, Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley, and AI firms such as OpenAI and Cohere — to create and refine data sets.

The San Francisco, California-based company's funding round is the latest in a series of AI megadeals.

AI startups raised $19.15 billion in venture capital funding in the first quarter, compared with $16.36 billion in the year-ago period, according to data from PitchBook.

Scale AI said it will use the capital to build data capabilities with its enterprise customers, the U.S. Department of Defense, and work on the White House-announced DEFCON 31 red-teaming event.

The White House has been forging partnerships with AI-focused companies and has launched several initiatives for safe AI innovation.

Other high-profile investors who participated in the latest round of funding for Scale included Coatue, Tiger Global Management, Intel Capital, and AMD Ventures.

In 2021, it had raised $325 million in a series E funding round that reportedly valued it at about $7.3 billion.

(Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru; Editing by Tasim Zahid)