Alphabet’s DeepMind AI lab is worthwhile for the primary time ever
Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind, at a 2017 event in China.
LONDON – DeepMind, one of the world’s leading artificial intelligence laboratories, has made a profit for the first time ever, according to a filing with the UK business registry released Tuesday.
The London-based research firm posted a profit of £ 43.8 million ($ 59.6 million) in 2020 after posting hundreds of millions in losses in recent years. In 2019, for example, it posted a loss of $ 649 million.
DeepMind’s sales more than tripled from £ 265.5 million in 2019 to £ 826.2 million in 2020, according to annual results filed with Companies House. DeepMind, which belongs to the Google parent company Alphabet, gave no specific reason for the jump in sales.
DeepMind does not sell products directly to consumers and has not announced any deals with any private company outside of the Alphabet umbrella organization. However, it sells software and services to Alphabet’s companies including Google, YouTube, and X, the Moonshot division.
A DeepMind spokesperson told CNBC that the company “powers the products and infrastructures that enrich the lives of billions through the many collaborations we’ve worked on with Alphabet over the years.”
One person in the AI industry with knowledge of DeepMind told CNBC that the jump in sales could be due to “creative bookkeeping.” DeepMind did not immediately respond when asked to comment on the claim.
“I don’t think DeepMind has many or no revenue streams,” the CNBC source said, asking to remain anonymous due to the nature of the discussion. “So all of that revenue is based on how much Alphabet pays for in-house services, and that can be completely arbitrary.”
Elsewhere, labor and other related costs rose slightly from £ 467 million to £ 473 million, suggesting that the hiring craze at DeepMind may have come to an end.
DeepMind employs some of the world’s leading AI research scientists who can earn salaries in excess of $ 1 million a year.
These top people, who often have PhDs from Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, or MIT, can get big packages because big tech companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are also looking for them.
DeepMind didn’t say how many people it added to its team in 2020, but it did say it now has over 1,000 employees. Last year it was said to have around 1,000 people.