SK Networks, a trading affiliate of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, has invested $19 million in Upstage, a generative AI startup, during Upstage's Series B funding. SK Networks President Choi Sung-hwan and Upstage CEO Kim Seong-hoon sealed the deal at the CES 2024 technology trade show in Las Vegas. The investment aims to propel Upstage's growth into a global leader in the Large Language Model (LLM) industry, leveraging SK Networks' technological capabilities and international presence.
Upstage, artificial intelligence startup specializing in private small-scale large language models (ssLLMs). Upstage's ssLLM technology focuses on information security and domain-specific expertise. SK Networks, as the lead investor in Upstage's Series B funding, aims to expand its presence in emerging technology by supporting Upstage in the private large language model sector.
Upstage's proprietary private large language model (LLM) technology is trained on individual companies' data and has gained popularity in various sectors, including government agencies, finance, ICT, and commerce. SK Networks plans to leverage its global AI ecosystem, developed through extensive investments and collaborations, to help Upstage venture into the international market. Upstage achieved the top spot on Hugging Face's Open LLM Leaderboard in December with its small-scale language model, Solar, and holds the distinction of winning 10 gold medals in the Kaggle competition, making it the first domestic AI company to do so.
Upstage introduced AskUp, an AI chatbot service based on OpenAI's GPT-4 language model. The company is exploring collaborations with American firms and aims to utilize SK Networks' global network for international expansion.
The investment from SK Networks is expected to support Upstage's international expansion, utilizing SK Networks' global network and its recently acquired data solutions subsidiary, en-core. Upstage and SK Networks plan to create synergies by potentially combining Upstage's private language model capabilities with en-core's data management services.