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AI startup Symbolica raises $31M in a Series A round led by Khosla Ventures, others

ISN Team
New Update

AI startup Symbolica has raised $31 million in a Series A funding round led by Khosla Ventures, with participation from General Catalyst, Abstract Ventures, and Buckley Ventures. 

The startup is on a mission to develop foundation models that could give it a competitive edge against industry giants like OpenAI, the creators of the viral chatbot ChatGPT.

Beyond the transformer 

At the heart of Symbolica's ambition is a framework designed to venture beyond the traditional "transformer" deep learning architecture, which currently underpins much of the generative AI we see today, including ChatGPT.


George Morgan, Symbolica's CEO and a former Tesla self-driving system engineer, highlighted a collaborative effort with Google's AI subsidiary DeepMind that aims to redefine the structural backbone of AI technology. He asserts, "The transformer is not the end-all-be-all of AI," criticizing the current trend of iterative enhancements over substantial architectural evolution.

A new vision for AI development

The industry's reliance on transformers has been a topic of debate, with companies like Microsoft-backed OpenAI focusing on scaling up these models. However, Symbolica argues that the future lies in alternative foundation models that could outperform the existing standards not by scale, but through efficiency and innovation.

"The industry broadly is contending with the limitations of transformers," explained Christopher Kauffman, a partner at General Catalyst, pointing out concerns over scalability and reliability.

Symbolica's first foray: A coding assistant

Symbolica is targeting the launch of its first product, a coding assistant, by early 2025. The venture will require significant groundwork, including hiring and training models, as Morgan outlined.