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AI Startup Sierra Aims to Raise $85 Million to Tackle Business ‘Problems’

Sierra, an enterprise-focused AI startup co-founded by OpenAI Chairman Bret Taylor and former Google executive Clay Bavor, is reportedly on the verge of achieving unicorn status with a new investment.

Sequoia Capital is expected to lead an $85 million funding round valuing Sierra at nearly $1 billion, Bloomberg reported Friday (Jan. 26), citing an unnamed source.

The AI industry has been attracting significant attention and capital from investors worldwide, driven in part by the success of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, according to the report.

This has sparked enthusiasm among investors in both the United States and China, leading to increased internet in AI ventures and projects for their growth potential, the report said.

With Sierra, co-founders Taylor and Bavor aim is to apply AI to tackle critical business challenges, per the report. Despite recently emerging from stealth mode, Sierra has already gained substantial traction in the market.

Taylor joined the board of OpenAI after the firing and re-hiring of the company’s CEO, Sam Altman, according to the report. Previously, he held the position of co-CEO at Salesforce before leaving the company in November and returning to his entrepreneurial roots. He also played a significant role in Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter in 2022.

Bavor joined Google in 2005 and was a manager on Gmail and Google Drive before starting to run the company’s virtual reality unit in 2015, the report said. He left Google in March and co-founded the new company that same month, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In another AI company’s recent funding round, French AI startup Mistral AI raised $415 million in December and was valued at around $2 billion. Founded by researchers from Google and Meta, Mistral AI specializes in open-source software for chatbots and generative AI tools and has quickly gained prominence in the European AI startup space.

The report of Sierra’s efforts comes on the same day the Financial Times (FT) said Elon Musk’s AI startupxAI, is in talks with investors worldwide and aims to raise $6 billion in funding at a proposed valuation of $20 billion. Musk launched xAI in June, and xAI introduced its chatbot named Grok in November. 

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