By Niket Nishant and Krystal Hu
(Reuters) - Databricks, a data analytics platform using artificial intelligence (AI), said on Thursday it secured more than $500 million in a funding round that valued the company at $43 billion, marking one of the biggest funding events for private tech companies this year amid AI-fueled optimism.
The new round, led by T. Rowe Price, could mark the last round of private funding as the data company gears up for the public market. Chipmaker Nvidia, another beneficiary of the AI boom, and credit card firm Capital One Financial, also participated in the latest funding round.
The company plans to use the funds to build out foundation models in partnership with Nvidia, which makes the core computing chips that run AI models, Ali Ghodsi, chief executive of Databricks, told Reuters in an interview.
"You want to have models that are really good at specific tasks. It matters to us to be able to do this for our enterprise clients," Ghodsi said.
Other marquee names in the venture capital industry like Andreessen Horowitz, Baillie Gifford, Morgan Stanley's Counterpoint Global, Fidelity Management & Research and Tiger Global also participated in the round.
AI, the latest buzzword in the technology space, has captivated the interest of investors from Silicon Valley to Wall Street.
Following the massive popularity of OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT, many players in the industry including Anthropic, Hugging Face and Modular have raised funds in recent months.
The financing for Databricks comes as the company sharpened focus on developing a chatbot that can analyze business data like sales transactions or written reports.
In June, it rolled out an AI assistant called LakehouseIQ, which can interpret queries submitted in natural language instead of computer codes. Weeks later, it also closed the acquisition of MosaicML, a generative AI startup it bought in a $1.3 billion deal.
Databricks said it posted a 50% year-over-year jump in revenue in the second quarter ended July, and had more than 10,000 customers globally.
Its latest valuation is over 13% more than the $38 billion the San Francisco-based company was worth after its last fundraise in 2021. The company has raised $4 billion since inception.
(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in Hong Kong; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)