French artificial intelligence(AI) startup Mistral artificial intelligence(AI) has successfully raised 385 million euros ($414 million) in its latest funding round, positioning itself as one of Europe’s leading AI companies. Established in May by industry veterans, Mistral had already secured 105 million euros by June. This recent financing, led by Californian fund Andreessen Horowitz, places Mistral’s valuation at 2 billion euros, making it a French tech unicorn.
CEO Arthur Mensch said that this funding round signifies a significant step in the company’s acceleration. The emergence of Mistral and Germany’s Aleph Alpha as key players in the European AI landscape aligns with the European Union’s efforts to regulate the sector without curbing innovation in the region.
In comparison, Aleph Alpha raised nearly 500 million euros in early November. Mistral’s backing includes support from American tech giants such as Salesforce and reportedly Nvidia, a global leader in supercomputer chips. Mistral’s rapid rise has garnered attention in the media, with some considering it a potential rival to OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT.
Mistral, boasting 22 employees, follows the trend of offering open-source language models fueled by public data, similar to its competitors. The three French co-founders, including CEO Mensch, bring extensive experience from major US tech firms, including Meta. The support from Silicon Valley giants underscores the enthusiasm generated by Mistral in its brief eight-month existence.
As EU member states and lawmakers finalise regulations for AI models, Mistral and other companies aim to balance innovation with necessary oversight. The industry’s key players, including Mistral, contribute to the dynamic landscape of AI development in Europe.