Two Google DeepMind scientists could be leaving to found AI startup

Google Deepmind
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Two scientists at Google DeepMind are reportedly mulling a departure to create their own AI startup. 
  • The scientists, Laurent Sifre and Karl Tuyls, have reportedly already informed DeepMind of their decision to leave.
  • The new startup, which is being referred to as Holistic for now, could be planning to create an AI model of their own. 

While its parent company is announcing layoffs, Google's AI-centric subsidiary may be preparing to lose two of its scientists. Laurent Sifre and Karl Tuyl are reportedly planning to leave Google DeepMind and have already talked with investors about an AI startup of their own, according to a Bloomberg report. 

DeepMind was founded in 2010 and was acquired by Google four years later. It's been part of Google and Alphabet for roughly a decade and is tasked with artificial intelligence research. Google DeepMind was the sector of the company that created its Gemini AI models, which have been used to power many products and services, such as Bard and Pixel smartphones

As you can imagine, a key component of advancing AI research is related to having the right intellectual talent. As a result, top minds and scientists in the tech industry have more power to choose where they work. Sifre and Tuyl are at least exploring that option and have put out feelers with investors about a new AI startup. 

According to the report, the new company could be poised to raise 200 million euros, which is about $217 million. The startup has been referred to by the name Holistic so far. 

The article also notes that Sifre and Tuyl have already given Google notice of their departure, suggesting that a potential startup might be more of a matter of when than if. Bloomberg says that the startup's goal could be to create a new AI model of their own. 

While there's plenty of money to be made with AI models, the startup would go against large tech industry forces. OpenAI has funding from investors, including Microsft, and it uses that to develop industry-leading GPT-4 and DALL-E models. DeepMind will still have Gemini and plenty of resources, even if it loses the two scientists. 

This would be the latest in a string of high-profile departures at Google. Two Fitbit co-founders and unnamed Fitbit leaders left the company last week in a restructuring. Google has also laid off over a thousand workers across multiple teams and said more layoffs will continue.

Brady Snyder

Brady is a tech journalist covering news at Android Central. He has spent the last two years reporting and commenting on all things related to consumer technology for various publications. Brady graduated from St. John's University in 2023 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. When he isn't experimenting with the latest tech, you can find Brady running or watching sports.