Big Tech corporate venture capital 🀝 generative AI startups

As the race to build generative AI tools for the enterprise devolves into a battle royale, Big Tech companies are busy wielding their most powerful weapons: checkbooks.

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Earlier today, Typeface raised $100 million at a $1 billion valuation, mere months after a $65 million round in February. It’s something to think about considering the company was founded in 2022. But even though we are once again seeing rapid-fire venture rounds at unicorn valuations, the investor list in Typeface’s round is worth noting.

Salesforce Ventures led the round. The CRM and cloud giant recently launched a $500 million fund to invest in generative AI startups, so its presence in this deal is not a complete shock, but the SaaS pioneer had company: Both Alphabet (through its GV investing arm) and Microsoft (through its M12 investing effort) invested in Typeface.

That’s a strange set of bedfellows: Salesforce and Microsoft have competing CRM products, and Microsoft and Alphabet compete in, to pick a few areas, search, productivity software, and public cloud infrastructure.

The Typeface cap table engenders a simple question: Where else are major corporate venture capital (CVC) investors putting their money to work?

To get a feel for the situation, I listed deals from a number of historically active CVC arms of major tech companies. Turns out, the Typeface round is funny for its internally competitive investor list, but it isn’t an outlier at all when it comes to Big Tech dollars flowing into startup accounts. The majors are busy these days.

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