McKinsey partners with startup Cohere to help clients adopt generative AI

By Krystal Hu

(Reuters) – Consultancy giant McKinsey said it had struck a partnership with artificial intelligence startup Cohere in an effort to provide AI solutions to its enterprise clients.

This is the first partnership with a large language model provider that McKinsey has announced as it joins other global consulting firms to tap into the global AI frenzy kicked off by the popular Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

“We are seeing our clients consider cost, IP protection and consumer privacy, and how the model is trained. We found Cohere to be one of the great solutions out there,” Ben Ellencweig, senior partner at McKinsey, told Reuters in an interview.

McKinsey said it was working with Cohere to build customized solutions to help improve customer engagement and workflow automation for clients. It added it was also considering using Cohere to increase its internal efficiency and power the knowledge management system at McKinsey.

The two companies said they have worked together to serve companies across industries, from financial services to retail, without disclosing any names.

Founded by former top AI researchers at Alphabet’s Google, Cohere has positioned itself as a neutral provider for enterprises to use models that are not tied to cloud providers like Microsoft. Cohere competes with OpenAI with a focus on generative AI solutions for enterprises.

Last month, Cohere raised $270 million from investors including Nvidia, Oracle and Salesforce Ventures at a $2.2 billion valuation.

It also announced a partnership with Oracle, which will embed Cohere’s generative AI technology in its products.

“This was very much part of our strategy when we decided the best way to really have this technology impact the world would be through enterprises and through some really strong and complementary partners like McKinsey,” said Martin Kon, president at Cohere.

Among other consulting firms that have struck partnerships and made AI investments are Accenture, which announced a $3 billion investment in AI, while PwC said in April that it would invest $1 billion over the next three years.

Bain and Company has teamed up with OpenAI, while Deloitte has partnered with chipmaker Nvidia.

(Reporting by Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Himani Sarkar)