Four-week-old artificial intelligence (AI) startup, Mistral AI, has raised $113 million in seed funding. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and saw participation from JCDecaux Holding, Motier Ventures, and Rodolphe Saadé in France. International VCs such as Exor Ventures from Italy, Belgium’s Sofina, and many others also partook in the round.
The seed round has now brought the valuation of the Paris-based firm to $260 million, positioning itself as a rival to ChatGPT creator OpenAI.
Mistral AI Reveals Plans after Its Funding Round
According to CEO Arthur Mensch, one of the biggest challenges of the AI field is “To make AI useful”. To this end, Mistral AI will focus on open-source solutions and target enterprises with the fund, he says. By the company’s estimates, its first models for text-based generative AI will be released by 2024. And to achieve its goals, Mistral AI will be looking to hire more hands from various fields including AI research, software engineering, and product development.
Meanwhile, Mensch has admitted that AI is well and off to the races. And that admission might be linked to the relative success of OpenAI’s GPT model so far in 2023.
However, he and other co-founders of Mistral also have some reservations about the proprietary approach that has been employed in the field thus far. And so, Mensch and others at the new startup seek to do things a bit differently. He says:
“Open source is a core part of our DNA.”
From all indications, Mensch believes more in using only publicly available data. Maybe for legal reasons or something else, his statement confirms that the firm’s models and data sets will all be open-sourced.
The CEO has also acknowledged that there might be security concerns about open source, especially with applications. However, Mensch insists that its benefits far outweigh its risks. He said that “open source can prove tactical in security and we believe it will be the case here, too”.
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