The Hive, a venture-backed accelerator for early-stage startups, today announced it has raised a $26.5 million fund to launch enterprise AI startups.

The round will be used to fund seven or more companies with up to $2 million in seed funding, cofounder and managing director T. M. Ravi told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

The Hive differentiates itself from other venture capital-backed startup accelerators by acting as co-creators with startups from day zero, Ravi said.

“We see AI driving the autonomous enterprise, and so all of our companies are thematically aligned with that big vision,” Ravi said. “ As AI grows in maturity, our opportunity is to create startups that drive business process automation [and] business process transformation, leverage chatbots to automate interaction with people, and [drive] overall cognitive enterprise applications. The time is right for this change in the enterprise.”

Capital raised for the fund comes from Verizon Ventures, GE, Rockwell Automation, and March Capital Partners, among other participants. Investors in the fund will also a play a role in the co-creation of startups.

“I think they have all come around to the point of view that if they don’t innovate they’re going to die, and so corporations are collaborating with us at every phase; they’re co-creating companies with us,” he said.

With $30 million raised to date, this is The Hive’s third fund for startups since the company first began in 2012. Among 24 investments, six led to acquisitions, including Nurego and Perspica, ML analytics companies acquired last year by GE Digital and Cisco, respectively.

The Hive has nine employees and is based in Palo Alto, California.

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