AI startup by ex-Meta and Google researchers raises $113M in seed funding

A new artificial intelligence (AI) startup and rival to ChatGPT creator, OpenAI, raised $113 million in seed funding, bringing its valuation to $260 million just two months after its launch.

Former AI researchers — previously working for Google DeepMind and Meta — co-founded Mistral AI in May 2023 to develop open-source generative AI models. Arthur Mensch, the co-founder and CEO of the company, said that the first round of funding “will give us the resources and network we need to start rolling out a new model of generative artificial intelligence.”

Before co-founding Mistral AI, Mensch was a research scientist at Google Deep Mind. The other two co-founders, Timothee Lacroix and Guillaume Lample worked at Facebook AI as a research engineer and research scientist, respectively.

Mistral AI co-founders Guillaume Lample, Arthur Mensch and Timothée Lacroix (left to right). Source: Medium

The funding round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with participation from JCDecaux, Rodolphe Saadé and Motier Ventures, among others. The trio will run the company from Paris and plan to release its first models for text-based generative AI in 2024.

Mistral AI unfinished official website. Source: Mistra.AI 

The company is on a hiring spree, and is on the lookout for AI researchers, software engineers and product developers. At the time of writing, the newly formed Mistral AI did not have any social media presence either.

Related: UK to get ‘early or priority access’ to AI models from Google and OpenAI

Recently, Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, met South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and urged the country to lead the manufacturing of chips needed for AI technology.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol shake hands at the Yongsan District, central Seoul presidential office on June 9. Source: Yonhap News Agency

OpenAI currently uses chips from Taiwan, but Altman disclosed the likely need for an alternative supply of chips from South Korea in the future.

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