Big Tech’s AI Investments Surpass Venture Capital Funding in 2023


In a significant shift in the artificial intelligence (AI) investment landscape, Big Tech companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have outpaced venture capital (VC) firms in funding AI startups in 2023. This trend highlights the growing interest and commitment of major tech players in the AI sector.

Key Takeaways:

  • Big Tech investments in AI startups reached two-thirds of the $27 billion total in 2023.
  • Microsoft, Google, and Amazon led the mega deals in the AI space.
  • VC firms reduced spending due to higher interest rates and declining portfolio valuations.
  • Microsoft’s $10 billion investment in OpenAI is a notable example.
  • The rise of generative AI, like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has attracted both Big Tech and VC interest.
  • AI investments require significant capital, technical expertise, and computing infrastructure.

The Changing Dynamics of AI Funding

Big Tech Takes the Lead

The data from PitchBook, as reported by the Financial Times, indicates that the mega deals by Amazon, Google, and Microsoft constituted a significant portion of the total AI investment in 2023. These investments have reached almost three times the $11 billion record set in 2021.

VC Firms Face Challenges

Venture capital firms, traditionally key players in startup funding, have seen a reduction in their AI investments. Factors such as higher interest rates and a decline in portfolio valuations have forced VC firms to scale back their spending.

The Role of Generative AI

The emergence of generative AI technologies, particularly following the launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, has been a major catalyst in attracting investments. Both Big Tech companies and VC firms have shown keen interest in this area, recognizing its potential to transform various sectors.

The Economics of AI Investments

High Costs and Technical Demands

Investing in AI startups, especially those working on generative AI models, involves substantial capital investment and industry-leading technical expertise. The structural costs associated with AI, including hardware requirements, data storage, and energy consumption, differ significantly from previous technological booms.

Computing Infrastructure

The intensive computing power required for AI models necessitates substantial investment in computing infrastructure. This includes the need for high-performance GPUs, which are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive.

Smaller Margins for AI Applications

The cost of queries using platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT is significantly higher compared to traditional search engines like Google. This results in smaller margins for AI applications compared to other software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions.


The shift in AI investment trends in 2023, with Big Tech companies overtaking VC firms, underscores the growing importance of AI in the tech industry. As AI continues to evolve, the need for substantial investment in technology and infrastructure will likely shape the future of AI development and deployment.

Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne
Jonathan Browne is the CEO and Founder of Livy.AI

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