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Investing in Cohere: Bringing LLMs to the Enterprise

In case you missed it, the Large Language Model (LLM) moment is here. 

LLMs are machine learning models designed to process vast amounts of text, identify patterns present in language, and use those patterns to generate human-like responses. In practice, the LLM  gives you the ability to interact with  a computer using natural language – just as you would with another person – and to have the computer perform tasks such as summarizing text, responding to questions, generating new content (e.g. words, code, images, music, graphs), analyzing sentiment of existing content, or even executing actions on your behalf. 

Technologists and investors worldwide are comparing the LLM moment to various historic technological breakthroughs and platform shifts: the microprocessor, GUI, PC, browser, smartphone, and cloud, to name a few. These comparisons signal the profound impact LLMs are about to have on society as a whole. By lowering the barriers for humans to interact with computers, LLMs are making technology more accessible to a broader audience, unlocking the value of the world’s unstructured information, and ushering in the next wave of value creation for enterprises, startups, and consumers across the globe. This shift towards natural language communication is already reshaping a variety of industries, including customer service, software engineering, law, education, and healthcare – and it’s only the beginning.

That is why we couldn’t be more excited to announce our latest investment – Cohere, a leading AI platform for enterprise. Cohere’s world-class LLMs are uniquely suited to business needs, unlocking unprecedented ease of use, accessibility, and control. We are thrilled to invest alongside a diverse group of world leading  institutional and strategic partners, including NVIDIA, Oracle, Salesforce Ventures, DTCP, Mirae Asset, Schroders Capital, SentinelOne, Thomvest Ventures, and returning investor Index Ventures. Inovia Partner and CTO Steve Woods has joined Cohere’s board to support the company as it accelerates the development of its leading enterprise AI suite and executes on its go-to-market strategy.

LLMs are exciting to say the least. Roughly $1.7B was invested into LLM based technologies in the first quarter of 2023.  Investors, founders, and existing enterprises are working to form AI strategies to  determine where value will accrue for them as models are implemented into everyday workflows. 

So, what drives our conviction in Cohere? At Inovia, we believe successful companies are built on four key pillars: opportunity, people, insight, and execution. 


Our perspective on this market is no secret— we view this moment as an extraordinary opportunity for new value creation at the business and societal level that is developing right before our eyes. Aidan Gomez, Cohere Co-Founder and CEO, summarizes the moment well: 

 “We are post-awareness, pre-adoption and implementation when it comes to the AI product cycle. Every single organization and enterprise is currently thinking through how they change their business, their products, and their internal processes using AI. They’re kicking off projects that will realize the industry shift we’re going to see in the next 18 months. Cohere’s mission is to be a strategic partner to those enterprises.” 

Cohere’s mission extends beyond business value creation; it seeks to be a strategic partner to enterprises as they embark on their AI journey. But more than that, Cohere understands the profound societal implications of this technological revolution. The company embraces its responsibility to ensure ethical, transparent, and equitable use of LLMs, and strives to create a future where it serves humanity’s best interests. This balance between driving business value and shouldering societal responsibility makes Cohere a true pioneer in the AI landscape. 

People & Insights

Any successful venture pivots on the passion, skill, and vision of its people. Under the leadership of co-founders Aidan, Nick, and Ivan, Cohere exemplifies these qualities. Having been at the frontier of LLM advancements, Cohere’s founding team has focused its unique experiences and insights into a steadfast commitment to its mission – empowering every enterprise to build amazing products and capture true business value with AI, all while keeping their data secure

Cohere’s strength doesn’t stop with its founders. In a market where talent is the lifeblood of innovation and value creation, Cohere’s founders have created a culture that has become a magnet for global talent – including world-class scientists, engineers, and business leaders. The result is a high-calibre team with a shared vision, driving valuable insights into the commercialization of its technologies. 

 A few of those key insights include:

Democratizing Transformer Based Technology

While at Google, Aidan co-wrote the seminal paper “Attention is All You Need,” introducing the innovative transformer architecture, the foundation for all current advancements in LLMs and generative AI. He experienced firsthand how this technology revolutionized Google’s offerings, and  realized that wider accessibility was still some way off. This understanding led Aidan, Ivan and Nick to extend this technological revolution beyond Google’s walls; this was the seed from which Cohere grew.

The Power of Text

Language is a crucial tool for every business. The majority of business-relevant information produced by humans is unstructured, primarily in the form of text. Yet, few businesses possess the resources to  leverage this wealth of data to enhance their business outcomes. This is where LLMs come in; they are the key to unlocking the value hiding within unstructured information. However, considerable challenges are involved in developing competitive LLMs, including the need for access to supercomputers, capital, and specialized talent and infrastructure. These are the challenges that Cohere is addressing. 

Scaling AI for Enterprise Use

Cohere addresses traditional difficulties of delivering enterprise grade solutions by offering a suite of services and capabilities that provides unparalleled flexibility and data privacy. Designed to be available on all cloud providers, it can be deployed within a customer’s existing cloud environment, a virtual private cloud (VPC), or on-site. This approach meets companies where their data is, ultimately enabling businesses to elevate their existing products and craft the next generation of innovative solutions, while maintaining data security. Cohere recognizes the traditional barriers in scaling for enterprise and has designed its platform to overcome these challenges. 


LLM research and development is moving at an astounding pace. Progress is measured in days, not weeks or months. Every day LLMs are demonstrating functionalities previously thought to be a thing of the future. As so eloquently put by Ivan: 

“The race to build the best large language model is like a shonen anime plot. It’s a competition between powerful, determined individuals and teams, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Like the heroes of these anime, the developers of LLMs are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, striving to create something that’s faster, smarter, and more powerful than anything that’s come before it.”

In a market where the ground is shifting below your feet, it is paramount to back teams with a strong experimental mindset and understanding of the technology evolution they are creating – Cohere has precisely that. We have continuously been impressed with the team’s ability to stay at the edge of innovation and their capacity to execute. This is evidenced by Cohere’s industry-leading model performance and commercial traction, which includes a recent partnership with Salesforce to advance responsible generative AI, an engagement with Liveperson to supercharge customer experiences, and a host of demand and interest from the enterprise market. 

Looking forward

There is a generational opportunity in front of a small set of players in the LLM space. Only a handful of businesses in the world have the resources, talent, and focus required to build and maintain state-of-the-art LLMs. Cohere has the team, the insights, and the execution mindset to build a category-defining business that stands the test of time, and they can do it right from our Canadian backyard. We are proud to support Cohere on its journey to build the future of AI for enterprise.

We are committed to backing founders with a clear vision of building impactful and enduring global companies. If you are an ambitious entrepreneur building a solution to take advantage of the LLM moment – reach out. We want to hear from you.