RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – IBM is stepping up its artificial intelligence play, creating a $500 million venture capital fund in which it is the only investor to, in its words, back companies “focused on accelerating generative AI technology and research for the enterprise.”

IBM disclosed its IBM Enterprise AI Venture Fund on Tuesday, saying it will back “from early-stage to hyper growth startups.”

Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, Software and Chief Commercial Officer at IBM noted: “This fund is yet another way we’re doubling down on our commitment to responsible AIinnovation through watsonx and helping organizations put this transformational technology to work.”

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The tech giant recently invested in two high-profile AI ventures and launched a series of AI initiatives and services around its WatsonX brand. Hugging Face and HiddenLayer both drew investments from Big Blue.

“Led by a dedicated team at IBM with decades of combined experience as highly successful investors and enterprise AI experts, the fund will provide each startup with opportunities to develop meaningful partnerships with IBM, while gaining operational expertise on product and engineering and go-to-market strategies,” IBM said in the announcement.

IBM employs thousands of people across North Carolina, owns Raleigh-based Red Hat and works with N.C. State n quantum computing development.

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