Aleph Alpha, Europe’s answer to OpenAI, just raised half a billion

7 Nov 2023

Jonas Andrulis in 2023. Image: Daniel Grund/DLD/Hubert Burda Media (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 DEED)

Founded by Jonas Andrulis in 2019, the fast-growing German start-up wants to be the best option for customers for whom ‘sovereignty is at risk’.

Aleph Alpha, a German start-up that provides generative AI to businesses and governments, has raised more than $500m in its latest Series B funding round.

Led by Innovation Park Artificial Intelligence (Ipai), Bosch Ventures and companies under the Schwarz Group, the funding round makes Aleph Alpha one of the fastest growing and most valued AI start-ups in Europe.

Based in Heidelberg, Aleph Alpha was founded in 2019 by Jonas Andrulis to create what the company calls “explainable and trustworthy” AI for enterprises and governments.

The latest funding will help the company scale its business and advance its proprietary AI research across critical applications in a range of fields, including healthcare, finance, law, government and security.

“With this latest investment, we will continue to enhance our capabilities and enable our partners to be at the forefront of this technological development,” said Andrulis, who is also the CEO of Aleph Alpha.

“[We] will continue to expand [our] offerings while maintaining independence and flexibility for customers in infrastructure, cloud compatibility, on-premise support and hybrid setups. The ongoing developments will extend interfaces and customisation options tailored to business-critical requirements.”

Essentially, Aleph Alpha wants to be the “best option” for customers who have a significant responsibility, such as governments, or those for whom “sovereignty is at risk”.

“We are amazed by the incredible potential of technology and opportunities in a new era of human-machine collaboration. Our commercial traction is motivating us to grow to meet our clients’ demands and remain one of the best teams in generative AI,” Andrulis went on.

Aleph Alpha was one of many European start-ups to raise significant funding earlier this year. New investors in the company include Berlin-based Christ & Company Consulting, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, SAP and Burda Principal Investments.

“Actively developing generative AI will be crucial for Europe’s technological sovereignty,” said Dr Tanja Rückert, member of the board of management and chief digital officer at Bosch.

“That’s why we at Bosch are opening fields of application and business models and playing a key role in shaping this cutting-edge technology together with other companies such as Aleph Alpha.”

Last month, Pitchbook data for the third quarter of this year showed that the number of generative AI deals has fallen by nearly a third. The value of individual deals has also been ebbing, saved only by the up to $4bn investment by Amazon into Anthropic.

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Jonas Andrulis in 2023. Image: Daniel Grund/DLD/Hubert Burda Media (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 DEED)

Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic