OpenAI buys Rockset to bolster its enterprise AI

Tolani Alvita
3 Min Read

OpenAI has acquired Rockset, which builds tools to drive real-time search and data analytics.

In a post on its official blog, OpenAI said that it would integrate Rockset’s technology to “power [its] infrastructure across products.” Members of Rockset’s team will join OpenAI, and Rockset’s existing customers will be transitioned off of Rockset’s platform “gradually.”

The financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“Rockset’s infrastructure empowers companies to transform their data into actionable intelligence,” OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap said in a statement. “We’re excited to bring these benefits to our customers by integrating Rockset’s foundation into OpenAI products.”

Rockset, which was co-founded in 2016 by ex-Facebook engineers Venkat Venkataramani and Tudor Bosman and database architect Dhruba Borthakur, created tools that allowed companies to automatically ingest data from databases and public cloud storage services and then index that data for search and analytics applications.

Rockset’s database platform underpinned things like recommendation engines, logistics-tracking dashboards and — especially relevant to OpenAI — chatbots in domains such as fintech and e-commerce.

Rockset managed to raise over $117.5 million in capital from investors including Icon Ventures, Sequoia and Greylock prior to the acquisition, according to Crunchbase data. It also had name-brand customers including Meta and JetBlue, which used Rockset as a component of its flight delay predictions chatbot.

So what might OpenAI build with Rockset’s tech? Well, the blog post mentions allowing companies to “better leverage their own data” and “access real-time information” as they use OpenAI products. One can imagine improved tooling to “ground” OpenAI’s models on a company’s data, perhaps toward reducing hallucinations or fine-tuning the model for any number of business use cases.

Venkataramani gives a preview in the blog post accompanying the announcement:

“Advanced retrieval infrastructure like Rockset will make AI apps more powerful and useful,” he writes. “Rockset will become part of OpenAI and power the retrieval infrastructure backing OpenAI’s product suite. We’ll be helping OpenAI solve the hard database problems that AI apps face at massive scale.”

The Rockset buy fits into OpenAI’s broader recent strategy of investing heavily in its enterprise sales and tech orgs.

In May, OpenAI signed an agreement with PwC to resell OpenAI’s tools to other businesses. The month before, the company launched a business-oriented custom model tuning and consulting program.

The moves appear to be paying dividends, with OpenAI’s annualized revenue reportedly set to eclipse $3.4 billion this year. OpenAI recently disclosed that the enterprise tier of its viral AI-powered chatbot platform, ChatGPT, had close to 600,000 users, which includes 93% of all Fortune 500 companies. 

Rockset is only OpenAI’s second public acquisition after Global Illumination, a New York–based startup tapping AI to build creative tools and infrastructure.

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