Artificial intelligence startup Perplexity announced a series of milestones and updates on January 4. Highlighting the news is the successful completion of the company’s Series B which raised $73.6 million.

The fundraise was led by IVP, whose investment portfolio includes numerous crypto and fintech companies such as Coinbase and Robinhood. It was joined by Series A investors NEA, Elad Gil, Nat Friedman, and Databricks. It also featured new investments from NVIDIA and Jeff Bezos (through the Bezos Expeditions Fund).

 A report from TechCrunch’s Kyle Wiggers indicated the Series B fundraise occurred at a valuation of $520 million. According to Perplexity, it’s now raised $100 million to date. 

The company also announced that it had reached several key milestones since launching:

“We’ve grown to 10 million monthly active users and have served over half a billion queries in 2023. More than a million people have installed our mobile apps, both on iOS and Android.”

While Perplexity may be one of the lesser-known players in the search engine and generative artificial intelligence (AI) spaces, its relatively fast turnaround from inception to the reported half-a-billion-dollar evaluation (the company was founded less than two years ago, in 2022) and the pedigree of its leadership team has caused numerous analysts to take notice.

Aravind Srinivas, the company’s CEO, previously interned at DeepMind, Google, and OpenAI before working as a research scientist for OpenAI. Perplexity’s CTO, Denis Yarats, worked at Facebook and Microsoft according to their LinkedIn pages.

Related: Microsoft to add AI Copilot key in first Windows keyboard update in 30 years

Perplexity’s entry into the search and generative AI spaces comes as big tech is betting on chatbot technology to lead the way in both sectors. Google and Microsoft have pivoted to AI-first interfaces for both of their flagship search products, Search and Bing respectively, and analysts predict the generative AI sector alone could be worth as much as $667 billion by 2030.

Where Perplexity may differ from the big tech offerings is in its selection — users can choose to summarize search results and generate outputs using Perplexity’s in-house AI models or select from some of the most popular including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Anthropic’s Claude, and Google’s Gemini — there are also striking similarities.

Much like Microsoft, Perplexity offers an AI assistant called Copilot. While the two products are, to the best of our knowledge, unrelated, they appear functionally similar.