Generative AI startup AI21 Labs raises cash in the midst of OpenAI chaos

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One AI startup’s undoing is one other’s alternative.

Working example: at the moment, AI21 Labs, an organization creating generative AI merchandise alongside the traces of OpenAI’s GPT-4 and ChatGPT, closed a $53 million extension to its previously-announced Collection C funding spherical. The brand new tranche, which had participation from new traders Intel Capital and Comcast Ventures, brings AI21’s complete raised to $336 million.

The startup’s valuation stays unchanged at $1.4 billion.

Ori Goshen, AI21 Labs’ co-founder and CEO, stated that the money infusion can be put towards product improvement and rising the startup’s headcount. (Maybe just a few of these new hires will come from OpenAI, given the string of exits there — in the event that they don’t leap ship for Microsoft.)

“We’re extraordinarily grateful for the help of our traders who imagine in our deep expertise experience,” Goshen stated in a press launch. “Mass deployment of AI requires deep understanding of high-performance language fashions that may ship higher worth and influence. Our method is about designing AI with function, making it considerably extra environment friendly than constructing from scratch, and far less expensive.”

A Tel Aviv-based startup creating a spread of text-generating AI instruments, AI21 Labs was based in 2017 by Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua, Goshen and Yoav Shoham, the startup’s different co-CEO. AI21’s flagship product is AI21 Studio, a pay-as-you-go developer platform for constructing customized text-based enterprise apps off of AI21’s proprietary text-generating AI fashions. The startup additionally sells entry to Wordtune, a multilingual studying and writing AI assistant akin to Grammarly.

Clients can faucet AI21 Labs’ platform through APIs for particular generative AI use instances, like summarization, paraphrasing and grammar and spelling correction. The startup’s fashions help a rising variety of languages, together with Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch.

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A21 Labs competes with the embattled OpenAI in addition to different well-funded startups within the generative AI area, together with Cohere and Anthropic (and to a lesser extent marketing-focused distributors resembling Jasper, Regie and Typeface). Google, AWS and Microsoft additionally provide tooling similar to AI21 Studio.

Shoham argues that AI21 is differentiated by its “extra complete programs method,” nevertheless.

“Our AI enriches [generative AI] with data and reasoning along with statistical inference,” he stated in an emailed assertion. “This allows us to outline a versatile structure with a number of generative AI, complemented by discrete data and reasoning modules.”

The extent to which that’s actually differentiating is up for debate; some distributors would argue that they’re adopting comparable strategies and tech. However one factor’s for sure: AI21 has tangible buyer momentum behind it. Goshen claims that A21 counts “a number of” Fortune 100 firms amongst its consumer roster and that Wordtune alone has over 10 million customers.

Partnerships with Dataiku and Amazon, notably across the launch of the latter’s Bedrock generative AI dev platform, maybe helped.

“AI21 [is increasing] mindshare that one dimension doesn’t match all, as enterprises search for distinctive companions that perceive their particular wants,” Goshen stated.

Value noting is that A21 Labs is Intel’s second main public generative AI funding thus far, the opposite one being Stability AI. It’s no accident, absolutely, that Mobileye’s owned by Intel and that Shashua’s been on Intel’s payroll for a while. However I additionally marvel if Intel’s feeling the stress from rival chipmakers — specifically Nvidia, which has benefited enormously from the AI increase — to step up its sport on this space. It wouldn’t shock me.

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