Venture funding talks for artificial intelligence startup Anthropic have ignited hope for creditors of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX while Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial kicks off.
(Bloomberg) — Venture funding talks for artificial intelligence startup Anthropic have ignited hope for creditors of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX while Sam Bankman-Fried’s criminal trial kicks off.
Anthropic is in early talks to raise $2 billion just days after making an agreement with Amazon.com Inc. in which the online conglomerate agreed to invest up to $4 billion. Tech news site The Information earlier reported the funding discussions, and said that a deal could value the company at as much as $30 billion.
After word of the potential funding emerged, a group of FTX creditors that call themselves the FTX 2.0 Coalition, posted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that it could maybe make them whole. FTX and its sister company, trading firm Alameda Research, made a $500 million investment in Anthropic, according to an internal document circulated before last November’s bankruptcy filing and reviewed by Bloomberg News. FTX co-founder Bankman-Fried, former head of engineering Nishad Singh and former Alameda Research Chief Executive Officer Caroline Ellison were also investors in Anthropic, according to research firm PitchBook.
Anthropic, which developed an AI chatbot named Claude, is one of the hottest companies in the AI boom, making equity in the startup one of FTX’s most sought-after assets. The restructuring managers of the crypto exchange halted a sale of its Anthropic stake last summer, despite high interest in the secondary market for Anthropic shares. The startup represents one of the biggest bets FTX made in its large venture portfolio.
FTX creditors could have a long way to go making themselves whole from an Anthropic sale though. With initial public offerings still in a slowdown and more companies choosing to go private than public, a stock exchange debut could be years down the road for the AI startup.
There’s also the legal murkiness around FTX’s situation as the trial of Bankman-Fried continues to unfold. Prosecutors allege that Bankman-Fried misused FTX customer money to make venture investments. In a bankruptcy filing, FTX also alleged that Ellison, who has already pleaded guilty to fraud charges, improperly gave herself a $22.5 million bonus, $10 million of which she used for an investment in an AI startup. Anthropic is the only personal investment listed for Ellison on PitchBook.
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.