Instagram co-founder joins Anthropic as chief product officer in fight against OpenAI

Mike Krieger most recently co-founded Artifact, an AI-powered news app, alongside Systrom, but they sold it to Yahoo in April. …

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Mike Krieger, one of the original co-founders of photo sharing social network Instagram alongside Kevin Systrom, has announced he’s joining AI startup Anthropic, creator of the powerful Claude 3 family of large language models (LLMs).

“As a two time entrepreneur, I’m particularly excited by how Claude, along with the right scaffolding and product features, can empower more people to innovate at a faster pace and at a lower cost,” wrote Krieger in a LinkedIn post announcing the move.

Anthropic explains why it hired Krieger

“With deep expertise across the product development lifecycle, from hands-on coding to product vision and leadership, Mike is uniquely suited to take Anthropic’s product efforts to the next level as the company continues its rapid growth,” wrote Anthropic in a blog post, highlighting his experience “the platform to more than a billion users” and building out the software engineering team to 450 people.

Clearly, Anthropic has dreams of achieving a similar scale to Instagram.

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The company’s co-founder and CEO Dario Amodei also provided a statement saying:

“Mike is a world-class engineer, builder, and leader. Mike’s background in developing intuitive products and user experiences will be invaluable as we create new ways for people to interact with Claude, particularly in the workplace. We feel fortunate to add Mike’s vision and expertise to our leadership team.”

Krieger most recently co-founded Artifact, an AI-powered news app, alongside Systrom, but they sold it to Yahoo in April and the app is shuttering — with the tech to be integrated across the Yahoo News app and other products and services.

Krieger left Instagram in October 2018 according to his LinkedIn, six years after it had been acquired by rival Facebook (now Meta Platforms, Inc) for $1 billion.

A key hire at a critical competitive juncture

Krieger’s hire comes at a time of intensifying competition in the AI model provider startup world.

Anthropic turned heads earlier this year with the release of its Claude 3 family of LLMs, including Claude Opus, which was briefly the most powerful general purpose LLM in the world.

Yet rival OpenAI — where Amodei and sister/co-founder Daniela Amodei previously worked before leaving to found Anthropic — moved fast to counteract its rise, releasing an updated version of GPT-4 Turbo and then, just this week, GPT-4o, both of which best Claude 3 at most benchmarked tasks.

Now Anthropic is once again on the defensive as OpenAI and Google with its I/O conference seek to court users, developers, and enterprises and teams for attention and dollars.

Yet initial reaction by Anthropic’s staff seems to be positive. As developer relations team member Alex Albert posted on X: “The vibe at Anthropic rn is like the training montage scene in Rocky 2.”

And as we all know in Rocky 2, the titular boxer character Rocky Balboa won out finally after suffering a defeat in the first film to his chief rival. Clearly, Anthropic’s team members are hoping their company is the Rocky in this situation.

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