SoftBank Reportedly to Invest up to $20 Million in AI Search Engine Perplexity Following Strategic Partnership

June 28, 2024 –In a significant move that underscores its commitment to accelerating investments in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector, SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund 2 is poised to invest between 10and20 million in Perplexity AI, an up-and-coming American AI search engine startup, valuing the company at an impressive 3billion.Thisinvestment,accordingtoBloombergsourcesfamiliarwiththematter,formspartofalarger250 million funding round that will propel Perplexity’s valuation to new heights, positioning it among the most valuable firms in its industry.

Perplexity AI has set its sights on challenging the dominant search engine landscape, particularly Google, by leveraging advanced AI capabilities. The infusion of funds is expected to further fuel the company’s ambition to revolutionize search experiences, offering users an AI-driven alternative that promises enhanced accuracy and personalization.

This strategic investment aligns with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s long-term vision for AI, which includes the pursuit of “super-intelligent AI,” a concept he has previously outlined. In past shareholder meetings, Son has emphasized that while SoftBank has made substantial progress, these endeavors are but stepping stones towards realizing his ambitious dream.

However, it is worth noting that the deal, while seemingly imminent, remains subject to final negotiations, with terms potentially subject to change. Both parties, Perplexity AI and SoftBank, have declined to comment on the ongoing discussions, citing confidentiality agreements.

In a separate development, SoftBank announced a strategic partnership with Perplexity AI on June 17th, offering a year-long free trial of Perplexity Pro to customers of its three major brands: Softbank, Y-Mobile, and LINEMO. This move underscores the Japanese conglomerate’s confidence in Perplexity’s technology and its potential to disrupt the search engine market.

With Perplexity AI’s focus on developing an AI-powered search platform that not only understands but anticipates user intent, the company is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for more intuitive and efficient search experiences. The platform’s conversational interface and ability to provide contextualized answers, akin to advanced chatbots like ChatGPT, set it apart from traditional search engines, promising a more dynamic and engaging user journey.

As the investment negotiations continue, the AI landscape awaits with bated breath to see how this partnership will reshape the competitive dynamics within the search engine industry, potentially paving the way for a new era of AI-driven search experiences.

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