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Accelerating innovation with intelligent investments

SOLUTION: Generative AI

“We work with incredible digital companies around the world, and AI represents a new frontier in productivity and innovation. Databricks Mosaic AI has been instrumental in streamlining our LLM training and fine-tuning, leading to accelerated AI adoption and value delivery for our portfolio companies and their millions of end users.”

— Zulkuf Genc, Head of Data Science, Prosus

Prosus is one of the world’s largest tech investors. Over the past six years, they have put AI at the heart of their strategic plans. Prosus turned to Databricks Mosaic AI to operationalize generative AI — helping their portfolio companies deploy new use cases and applications that transform customer experiences across industries. Mosaic AI tools from Databricks have made it much faster and cost-efficient for Prosus to bring value to people around the world.

Helping companies effectively implement GenAI

Over their 100-year history, Prosus has seen trends come and go. This experience has helped them become one of the largest tech investors globally, with investments in more than 90 companies, covering food delivery, financial services, online classifieds, education technology and more.

It’s also why Prosus understands what a big deal generative AI represents for their portfolio companies. To accelerate this innovation, Prosus has built a world-class applied AI lab, which brings together more than 600 data scientists across their portfolio.

Prosus’ team of AI experts is tasked with enabling their portfolio companies to adopt AI in a bigger, better and faster way — from personalized experiences that drive customer engagement and improve satisfaction to fraud prevention that protects revenue streams — creating value for the Prosus portfolio of customers and their end users.

The Prosus AI team was quick to tap into the power of generative AI. However, infrastructure complexity and the lack of processing power limited their ability to innovate with LLMs. They needed an optimized data infrastructure and more processing power to ingest massive volumes of data and experiment on models effectively. Building their own compute clusters was also out of the question, as they were often unreliable and highly resource-intensive to build and maintain.

“Our goal is to bring our models into production at scale,” said Paul van der Boor, Senior Director of Data Science at Prosus. “But we found that many of the cloud platforms on the market were not optimized to train and run our in-house LLMs, making it harder for us to achieve our goals.”

Knowing they needed a fully managed platform that could empower them to test and train models in a scalable way, Prosus turned to the Mosaic AI training platform from Databricks.

Scaling LLM development with ease

The team at Prosus identified Mosaic AI as an ideal solution to avoid building out a GenAI training infrastructure, allowing them to focus on model development at scale. To start, they tested the value of data from Stack Overflow with open source Mosaic AI foundation models, using the MPT-30B LLM for pretraining and fine-tuning. Once they saw there was good value in the data, Prosus used a broader and more diverse set of data to further bolster the models they were testing. In this way, they could go beyond simple question-and-answer behavior and into more conversational outputs around less technical questions or explanations to power solutions like chatbots.

This was possible because of how easy it is to use Databricks Mosaic AI, which empowered the team to run smaller models, identify points of failure and then retrain, refine and tune models to meet business requirements. The Databricks team was there at every step to help Prosus debug models, monitor workloads and get the best results from their LLM fine-tuning.

“With Databricks Mosaic AI, we didn’t just get a cutting-edge AI platform,” said Zulkuf Genc, Head of Data Science at Prosus. “We also got really good advice and recommendations to help us make the most out of our data.”

Bringing GenAI innovations to global companies

The ability to run experiments quickly and cost-effectively has been a game changer for Prosus. Thanks to Mosaic AI, part of the Databricks Data Intelligence Platform, Prosus is able to productionize models faster — and at a lower cost.

This is crucial for scaling the company’s AI/ML efforts to benefit their portfolio companies (and their customers) around the world. For example, the team has developed a model for an online marketplace in Poland, as well as a model that understands Portuguese to support one of their investee companies in food delivery. This ease of LLM development allows Prosus to deliver AI solutions to more than just English-speaking users.

The Prosus team of AI experts was able to share key learnings from their work with Mosaic AI throughout their organization. Jonathan Frankle, Chief Scientist, Neural Networks, at Databricks, joined their community of over 600 AI practitioners from their portfolio companies at a weekly call to discuss the process of model development with Prosus.

And Prosus is just getting started. With the power of Mosaic AI and Databricks at their fingertips, they can help power worldwide innovation with AI. “This really feels like a valuable partnership,” stated Genc. “Our team is fast and eager to do as much as we can with AI, and Databricks will play a crucial role in enabling us to accomplish so much more.”