Since the release of ChatGPT, development of and interest in generative AI have exploded. Each week brings more model releases and additional tools, and Silicon Valley insiders, early adopters, and tech power users have flocked to Discord servers, registered for betas, and actively sought out ways to get their hands on the latest in AI.
But to date, the average consumer’s exposure to AI has typically been limited to playing around with ChatGPT or new generative AI features within existing applications and tools. The same thing that excites those of us in tech—the proliferation of models, GPU efficiency gains, open source, and finetuning smaller, specialized models—is just plain daunting for the average consumer. We believe there won’t be one model to rule them all, and we will need many models across various modes and use cases. But currently, there are just too many models across too many different user interfaces to drive AI-native tool adoption. For AI to cross the chasm and reach the 5B+ global internet users, it needs to be more intuitive and more accessible.
That’s why we’re so excited to share that we’ve invested in Quora, the creator of Poe. Where other AI companies are focused on building the best model, Poe has a two-fold mission: 1) be the best way for consumers to interact with a variety of AI products in the same workflow and 2) be the easiest way for a developer to build a multi-modal AI product and reach a mass audience, whether prompting an existing model to create a bot or training a model themselves.
To accomplish this, Poe has already created a compelling aggregation layer for both text and image AI models, including ChatGPT, GPT-4 and DALL-E 3 from OpenAI, Claude Instant and Claude 2 from Anthropic, Mistral, StableDiffusionXL, Gemini and PaLM from Google, Llama 2 from Meta, and many others. Poe then provides a user interface to make it easy to discover new AI tools and for users to create a custom set of their favorite tools from across various models. Why use one platform with one model when you can have a platform for all of them for $20 per month?
Perhaps even more compelling, similar to what Roblox did for gaming, Poe is building tools for creators to modify existing models in order to unleash the creativity in the long tail of people who want to build AI, but don’t have the resources themselves to build models. Roblox created the game engine, providing distribution, trust and safety, infrastructure, and the opportunity for creators to earn a living. The result was a powerful network effect—the more the creators built, the more users came to play with those creations. The more users come, the more creators it attracts.
Poe’s creator tools are in the early stages of development but offer benefits similar to Roblox, including multi-platform infrastructure, discovery, and the ability for bot creators to generate revenue. Already, Poe shows signs of increasing returns to scale. Currently, Poe is one of the top 5 largest generative AI-related properties, and creators have built 1M+ bots on Poe the platform. With this latest round of funding, Quora plans to further help AI creators and developers monetize their creations.
Adam D’Angelo, founder of Quora and Poe, is one of a rarefied group of founders who have successfully built a consumer internet company with hundreds of millions of monthly active users. Adam has been early to the AI wave, just as he was with software and user-generated content, and every time we talk I come away impressed with his deep technical knowledge of AI as well as an understanding of what is missing in the market. One of our early bonding moments was over the concept of increasing returns to scale—a theory that underpins Poe’s competitive advantage.
Poe has the added advantage of being able to tap the Quora community of 400M+ users looking for knowledge and expertise. Poe is the logical evolution for these people to find and interact with information, giving Poe distinctive advantages where AI and human expertise intersect and providing a unique distribution channel. Adam and his team are already moving fast, having launched apps for iOS, Android and Windows, supporting multiple languages, threading, PDF summaries, multimodal, and creator monetization, among many other features.
With plenty more great things to come, I am thrilled that a16z Growth led Poe’s latest round of funding and I joined their board as they bring generative AI to the masses. For anyone interested in creating a bot and participating in the ecosystem, you can learn more at developer.poe.com. And for anyone who hasn’t yet tried Poe as a user, you can get started at poe.com!