(Reuters) – Hippocratic AI, a startup building artificial intelligence models for the healthcare industry, has raised $50 million in a larger-than-usual seed funding round, signaling strong investor interest in betting on AI models for specific industries.
Silicon Valley venture firms General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz (A16z) co-led the round, which funded the cost of hiring and training large language models since entrepreneur Munjal Shah founded Hippocratic earlier this year.
Large language models are AI systems that mine vast amounts of data to summarize information and generate content. They gained mainstream attention since ChatGPT, a chatbot built on a model developed by OpenAI, went viral.
Also known as foundation models, large language models can perform tasks from writing essays to generating codes. Hippocratic AI hopes its model stands out in healthcare-specific use cases by training it with deep medical knowledge and having healthcare workers provide human feedback.
“Hospitals are actively looking for solutions that can help them, and they don’t have enough nurses. Our focus is to build the safest language model for healthcare,” said Shah, who previously founded insurance startup Health IQ.
Shah said Hippocratic will focus on non-diagnostic tasks, and its model will be able to meet the criteria to obtain certification in multiple areas of healthcare, as well as use reassuring bedside manners when communicating with patients.
General Catalyst, which incubated Hippocratic, says its existing partnerships with healthcare providers will help the startup train and deploy its model.
“It made sense to help create a platform that is focused on the industry, and that is built in collaboration with the industry, so it’s a trusted platform,” said Hemant Taneja, CEO at General Catalyst.
A16z said it is one of the largest seed checks it has written in the healthcare industry.
“We’re only comfortable making the bet given the fact that they’re being so rigorous about the safety, compliance and privacy aspects of the system that they’re building, which takes more money,” said Julie Yoo, a partner at the fund.
(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York)
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