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Visa invests $100M in generative AI firms

Visa announced today that it will invest $100 million in generative AI companies “that will impact the future of commerce and payments.”

Visa Ventures, the card company’s 16-year-old global corporate investment arm, will make the investments.

Visa calls itself a “pioneer of AI use in payments” since 1993. Generative AI is an emerging subset of AI trained on large data sets to generate text, images, and other content when given text prompts.

Visa chief product and strategy officer Jack Forestell wrote, “While much of generative AI so far has been focused on tasks and content creation, this technology will soon not only reshape how we live and work, but it will also meaningfully change commerce in ways we need to understand.

According to Visa Ventures head David Rolf, generative AI could “to be one of the most transformative technologies of our time.”

Visa Ventures “had a lot of flexibility” with how many investments it would make from the new fund and average check size, he told via email.

“Given the early stage of the industry we’d expect to make a range of smaller investments of a few $M,” Rolf said. “That said, we can make larger investments when justified.”

He said Visa prefers companies “applying GenAI to solve real problems in commerce, payments, and fintech.”

“This includes B2B payment processes and infrastructure that can transform commerce. We are interested in companies at multiple levels of the stack, from GenAI data organization to user experiences at work or home, Rolf said. Visa can help startups solve the next set of challenges to unlock commerce, and this is a way to connect with them. We evaluate how well these companies use AI responsibly in accordance with Visa’s policies.

Last year, Visa appointed Marie-Elise Droga as its fintech head.She said her team “often collaborates” with Visa Ventures, acting as a scout engine for Visa’s venture arm.

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