Much ado about AI

Anna Khan
5 min readJun 6, 2024


After over a decade of investing, I attempt to understand most technological shifts through data and a little bit of intuition.

The fast ramp of AI may be one of the biggest shifts of our generation (and I’ve seen a number of them — mobile, cloud…). Whether you work in technology or outside of technology, AI is in the headlines — and beyond the up into the right stock chart of NVIDIA its hard to know how AI is directly impacting the bottom line, today. Long term — there is no doubt it will — but as investors and founders in the industry — it helps to know the current tangibles.

I put together the tracker below for myself, and found it so helpful that I wanted to share it with the broader community in the hope that it helps you keep track of how AI is impacting the enterprise. Of course, there is a lot of action happening on the private side as well — but lots of quantitative and qualitative data in venture is proprietary and can’t be shared in this format.

You may glean some of your own takeaways from the above table — but top of mind for me was the following:

  • The nine companies below are the companies most set to benefit from AI due to their capital and resources to date. And yet, the median NTM TEV/Fwd Total Rev is just 9.1x. If we look back at the EMCLOUD in 2021, and early 2022 — rev multiples were much more inflated.
  • If you take NVIDIA’s last year growth of 208% out, the average growth rate of the nine players is just 12.6%. NVIDIA inflates it to 34.3%.
  • Many say that NVIDIA is overvalued, but its NTM TEV/Fwd Total Revenue is just 23.1x. I come from the world of SaaS — so with their growth rate, this isn’t crazy.
  • Amazon’s multiple surprised me — especially after seeing so much of AI impacting so much cloud revenue for both GCP and Azure, I’d imagine AWS should get a similar boost in the near future.
  • Meta’s GM also surprised me. It is the second highest of the group at 81.5% — despite being a mostly advertiser based revenue stream.
  • You will find that Apple is obviously missing from this list. I didn’t want it to become a tracker of the most valuable tech company stocks, so have excluded Apple for now. Also, Apple is very private about their AI investments so there isn’t much to report on yet.
  • I hope to add others to this list overtime — maybe Databricks? Maybe Salesforce as they incorporate more AI into their offerings, and subsequently revenue.

Three companies to call out in this post: MSFT, META, GOOG. After Q2 earnings, I’ll highlight others.


Microsoft comes first to mind as the enterprise that is set to benefit the most from the AI, given their strong relationship with OpenAI. Azure and other cloud services grew 31% last quarter (Q1 of 2024). The MSFT team reported that AI contributed to 7% of that growth (still a small number, but fast growing.) Azure also reportedly grew faster than Google Cloud in Q1 which may suggest AI is definitely part of the boost.

What’s interesting is that not much growth is yet coming from the AI-enabled copilots that MSFT has started offering customers. Companies with such strong distribution usually benefit with rolling out additional features, but this may be a “wait and see” outcome.

I’m curious why Azure is seeing such fast growth through AI. Is the team primed to co-sell AI? Are the AI features easier to incorporate or utilize through Azure? MSFT isn’t giving much detail here but its a topic I am following closely.

Key Takeaway: If MSFT is seeing slower growth than anticipate with AI copilots, are copilots the wrong approach? Are AI native products built into core workflow better routes to direct revenue? This is critical as enterprise investors think about where to invest in the next few years.


Meta is perhaps the opposite story to MSFT. Meta was down more than 15% in after-hours trading on April 25th 2024 despite having strong earnings First quarter revenue was up 27% to $36.5B, up from an expectation of $36.2B). $35.6B of that comes from ads. Even better, net income almost doubled to $12.4B. So why did Meta trade down? This was because the street didn’t expect them to increase their spend on AI in 2024 to between $35–40B, which was higher from an earlier estimate.

I find META’s posture interesting because their investment in AI is not necessarily to uproot or up level their existing products (there would be a real threat of cannibalization if that was the case.) Instead, the company is making a case that AI tooling will help users spend “more” time on their platforms. I like this framing because its very different from current enterprise framing, where everything is about being able to do work “faster.”

More time spent on products, means more $$$ spent by advertisers which is the key revenue driver. Meta has also made a case to add AI tooling to its ad products, but there isn’t much in the case of tangible output from that yet.

Key Takeaway: Will advertisers take new interest in consumer apps that can prove AI is helping with long term engagement? Are we on the precipice of a new consumer renaissance?


Financially, Google’s Q1 results were strong. Revenues were $80.5B, up 15% — these exceeded an estimated $78.6B. Search was the largest contributor to revenue growth.

Google mentioned AI a number of times, but couldn’t paint a specific revenue story with numbers to back it up.

There were some qualitative points that caught my attention:

Google announced more than one million developers are using generative AI across tools, including AI Studio and Vertix AI — but no revenues were attached to this stat.

The AI hypercomputer was celebrated as a core differentiator in cloud — with more than 60% of funded Gen AI startups and 90% of Gen AI unicorns as Google Cloud customers. These are very impressive stats — but is that more of a cloud story or an AI story?

Like Meta, AI was mentioned several times across the ads ecosystem, examples given included targeting, bidding, creative, and measurement. There are early signs this will contribute to revenue as Gemini being rolled into P-Max was mentioned — and advertisers using P-Max asset generation were 63% more likely to publish a campaign with strong ad strength. (Source, analyst call.)

One of my favorite parts was the disclosure that operating expenses were up 5%, reflecting an increase in compensation for Google DeepMind and Cloud through R&D and in S&M for Cloud sales. Clear evidence that those rumors of insane competing salaries coming from Google are true! Portfolio founders beware.

Key Takeaway: I was surprised that a number of AI advancements touted were still within the ad product suite — but I would be curious to learn more about how search is being impacted long term by OpenAI/Chat GPT — and how Google will showcase more AI tooling within the workspace (huge potential given how much data over a long period of time they own.)



Anna Khan

GP @CRV, Alum @HarvardHBS @Stanford. I like a bagel with attitude.