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Elad Gil and Sarah Guo, venture capitalists, discuss the potential risks and rewards of investing in AI

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting Elad Gil and Sarah Guo, esteemed AI investors, at our recent StrictlyVC evening in San Francisco. The discussion revolved around their perspectives on AI investing in a market that experienced intense competition just two months ago, leading to inflated deal prices. Additionally, it was noted that some startup teams are considering selling due to the financial burden associated with software development.

We discussed their deals, the potential overvaluation of assets, and their collaborative approach as cohosts of a well-known AI podcast.

It has been reported that Gil has successfully secured over $2 billion in investments over the past few years, which he is personally managing. During the event, he refrained from disclosing the specific amount, but emphasized his consistent ability to garner support. After a former chief of staff established his own company, Gil recruited a few “highly technical” individuals to assist him in comprehending emerging technologies. Shreyan Jain, a software engineer at Ramp, holds two computer science degrees from MIT. He has collaborated with another engineer in Gil’s circle to develop an embedding playground. This platform allows for the seamless interchange of underlying vectors in various embedding frameworks, enabling experimentation with different tools.

Gil, who also invests his own capital in deals despite raising significant funds from outsiders, emphasized the significance of establishing clear guidelines with one’s own investors to proactively address potential conflicts of interest. Having a clear plan of action can greatly impact the outcome. According to him, it eliminates ambiguity, uncertainty, and negative emotions.

Guo is adopting a conventional strategy with her recently established company, Conviction. Describing it as a relatively modest $100 million fund in comparison to Gil’s extensive assets under management, Guo mentions that she has successfully enlisted the support of two additional investors, a talent partner, and an operations person. She emphasized her deep involvement in the decision-making process for the focused portfolio her team is constructing, highlighting her commitment to careful consideration. “I am a significant investor in my own fund,” she stated. It is necessary for the companies to work overtime.

If you are interested in learning more about their different approaches to funding deals, including their investments in companies like Harvey and Mistral, as well as their strategies for protecting themselves in case they fund AI technology that is later misused, and their thoughts on the major questions surrounding foundation models like GPT-4, as well as Gils’ emphasis on “French values,” I encourage you to listen to our conversation.

Gil mentions that he has made sizeable investments in the defense technology company Anduril, whose cofounder Trae Stephens will represent it at our upcoming StrictlyVC event in Los Angeles on February 29.

If you are interested in examining it firsthand, you can find additional information here. The event in San Francisco reached full capacity and was highly enjoyable. We anticipate high demand for this upcoming event, so we recommend securing your spot in a timely manner.

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