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Perplexity Secures $73.6 Million in Series-B Funding to Revolutionize AI-powered Search

California-based Startup Valued at $520 Million, Introduces Conversational Answer Engine and Large Language Models for Enhanced User Experience

NEWS  AI  January 5, 2024  Reading time: 2 Minute(s)

mdo Max (RS editor)

California-based AI search engine startup Perplexity has successfully raised $73.6 million in a series-B funding round, led by prominent investors including Nvidia, Jeff Bezos, and others. The infusion of capital brings Perplexity's valuation to an impressive $520 million, marking a significant milestone for the company that has garnered attention for its groundbreaking approach to web search.

Perplexity distinguishes itself as the "world's first fully functional conversational answer engine", leveraging proprietary search, indexing, and crawling techniques to extract information from the web. The startup employs a range of large language models to swiftly generate concise, conversational responses to user queries. Notably, Perplexity provides source citations and links to the sites from which it retrieved information, enhancing transparency and trust.

The search tool offers subscribers the option to choose from various large language models, including OpenAI's GPT-4, Anthropic's Claude 2.1, Google's Gemini, or Perplexity's own LLM, available through the Perplexity Pro subscription at a monthly cost of $20. In addition to its core search capabilities, Perplexity has introduced complementary tools like Copilot, enabling users to fine-tune search inquiries with follow-up questions. The platform also features a Collections feature, allowing subscribers to organize and collaborate on search threads by topics.

Despite the dominance of established players like Google in the internet search industry, Perplexity's innovative approach and commitment to improved search results through large language models have positioned it as a promising contender. With its latest funding round, Perplexity has secured the largest amount of money for any web search business in recent years.

CEO Aravind Srinivas envisions Perplexity as a catalyst for a new era of accelerated learning and research, replacing the traditional process of sifting through SEO spam and sponsored links. Srinivas acknowledges the challenges associated with AI-generated information, emphasizing the importance of accuracy and transparency in making AI-powered search ubiquitous. However, like all large language models, Perplexity's product is not without its challenges, as it can generate false information, referred to as "hallucinations" in AI terminology. Srinivas advises users to double-check facts and inspect sources, leveraging the platform's source citing feature for added assurance.

As Perplexity charts its course in the dynamic landscape of AI-powered search, the startup remains committed to reshaping information retrieval and advancing society into a new era of efficient and transparent knowledge consumption.



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