Mistral AI secures €105 million in Europe’s largest seed spherical ever

The artificial intelligence hype isn’t abating yet, and investors are scrambling to fund the next big thing in AI. Yesterday, Paris-based startup Mistral AI announced it had secured €105 million allegedly Europe’s biggest seed round ever.

Mistral AI was founded just four weeks ago by a trio of AI researchers. Arthur Mensch, the company’s CEO, was formerly employed at Google’s DeepMind. His co-founders Timothée Lacroix (CTO) and Guillaume Lample (Chief Science Officer) previously worked for Meta.

The company has not yet developed its first product. However, with a mission to “make AI useful,” the company plans to launch a Large Language Model (LLM) similar to the system behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT in early 2024.

A large part of the funds raised will be used to rent computer power for training. The idea is to only use publicly available data to avoid legal issues and copyright backlash that others in the industry face.

While Mistral hopes to rival OpenAI with true open-source models and datasets, it sets itself apart from the Microsoft-backed initiator of the shift by targeting businesses rather than consumers. The company says The aim is to help business customers to improve processes around research and development, customer care and marketing and to provide them with the tools to develop new products with AI.

The tickets are officially sold out

However, there may still be some last minute spots available

Vision paired with practical experience

The funding round is led by Lightspeed Venture Partners. The VC’s partner, Antoine Moyroud, says that Lightspeed had the opportunity to meet several talented researchers who became the founders of AI, but few had a vision beyond the technical realm.

On the other hand, according to Moyroud, Mensch, Lacroix and Lample belong to “a select few around the world who have both the technical understanding required to develop their own vision and the practical experience of training and leading large companies .” Language Models at Scale.”

In general, the American VC believes that Europe must play “a crucial role” in the AI ​​field. Just last September, the company opened new offices in London, Berlin and Paris and says it wants to work with other European founders who share the same ambitions behind Mistral.

“Our investment in Mistral and all of our portfolio companies in Europe are a testament to our strong belief that a new generation of global players will emerge from this ecosystem,” Lightspeed said in a statement.

Also participating in the round were JCDecaux Holding, Motier Ventures, La Famiglia, Headline, Exor Ventures, Sofina, First Minute Capital and LocalGlobe, as well as private investors including French billionaires Rodolphe Saadé and Xavier Niel, as well as former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and French investment bank BpiFrance.

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