Twitter's Ex-CEO Parag Agrawal Makes a Splash in AI with $30 Million Startup Boost
Behind Closed Doors, Parag Agrawal's Secretive AI Startup Gains Momentum
9 January 2024
Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal secures $30 million in funding for his new AI startup, focusing on large language model development.
Khosla Ventures, along with Index Ventures and First Round Capital, supports the funding round for Agrawal's undisclosed venture.
Elon Musk's $44 billion takeover of Twitter in 2022 led to Agrawal's dismissal, emphasizing the complexities in the tech industry and showcasing a broader trend of tech leaders entering the AI landscape.
Indian-origin entrepreneur Parag Agrawal, who previously served as the CEO of Twitter, has ventured into the field of artificial intelligence, securing approximately $30 million in funding for his new startup. Khosla Ventures, an early supporter of OpenAI, spearheaded the funding round, with participation from prominent venture firms Index Ventures and First Round Capital. Despite the venture's name and product details remaining undisclosed, sources familiar with the deal suggest that Agrawal's startup will focus on developing software for developers of large language models, akin to platforms like OpenAI's ChatGPT.
Agrawal's foray into the AI landscape highlights a broader trend among tech leaders capitalizing on the growing interest in advanced technologies. Following his stint as Twitter's CEO, Elon Musk, who acquired Twitter for $44 billion in 2022, dismissed Agrawal from his position at X, formerly known as Twitter. Interestingly, Musk had met Agrawal months prior, identifying a key leadership quality that he deemed essential for managers.
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Agrawal, an IIT Bombay and Stanford alumnus, made history as the first Indian-origin CEO of Twitter in November 2021. Joining the company in 2011 when it had fewer than 1,000 employees, he swiftly rose through the ranks to become the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) in 2017, showcasing remarkable leadership at a young age. However, his tenure as CEO was short-lived, ending with Musk's takeover in October 2022.
Since his departure from Twitter, Agrawal has maintained a low profile, but the recent funding for his AI startup suggests ongoing efforts behind the scenes. The Information reported that the startup aims to create software tailored for developers working on large language models, aligning with the industry's growing demand for advanced AI technologies.
The dynamics of Musk's acquisition of Twitter, culminating in Agrawal's dismissal, add a layer of intrigue to the narrative. The $44 billion takeover, marked by legal battles and strategic maneuvers, reflects the complexity of the tech industry. Despite the challenges, Agrawal's focus on AI underscores the continued evolution of technology leadership and the potential impact of his new venture on the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence.