Parag Agrawal, the Indian-origin former CEO of Twitter, has reportedly raised approximately $30 million for his new artificial intelligence (AI) startup, marking his foray into the AI landscape. Khosla Ventures, an early supporter of OpenAI, led the funding round, with participation from Index Ventures and First Round Capital.
While specific details about the venture’s name and product offerings remain undisclosed, sources familiar with the deal have indicated that the startup will focus on developing software for developers of large language models, akin to platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Agrawal’s move into the AI sector aligns with the broader trend of tech leaders capitalizing on the growing interest in AI technologies.
Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion in 2022, removed Agrawal from his position as CEO shortly after taking over. Prior to his tenure as CEO, Agrawal had served as Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) since 2017. He became the first Indian-origin CEO of Twitter in November 2021 and, at the age of 39, was among the youngest to lead a major technology company.
Elon Musk’s decision to dismiss Agrawal was influenced by a perceived lack of a particular leadership quality. According to Walter Isaacson, a writer who trailed Musk for his biography, Musk considered Agrawal a “nice guy” but believed that Twitter needed a more assertive leader. Musk reportedly stated, “What Twitter needs is a fire-breathing dragon, and Parag is not that.”
As Agrawal embarks on his new venture in AI, the funding secured from prominent venture firms indicates a significant interest in the potential applications and advancements in the field of artificial intelligence.
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