AI start-up Mistral bags €105m after just one month

14 Jun 2023

Image: © mpix-foto/

With a massive funding boost right out of the gate, the AI market could get another competitor in Europe, though the company appears to still be assembling its team.

Mistral AI, a French start-up founded last month, has already managed to raise €105m in a seed round, showing the current hype surrounding the AI sector.

The company was founded by former researchers of Google’s Deepmind and Meta and has ambitious plans to create open-source large language models, as a counter to others like OpenAI in the rapidly growing market.

Mistral’s website is currently a single page that says it is assembling a “world-class team to develop the best generative AI models”, but it is unclear if the company has any sort of prototype or timeframe in place.

The funding round was led by VC firm Lightspeed Venture Partners, who said the company wants to become a “major global player in generative AI”. The firm claimed the skills of the founders is one thing that drew them to invest.

“They also recognised the need to surround themselves with the right partners to make this ambition a reality beyond the technical sphere,” said Lightspeed partner Antoine Moyroud. “The caliber of talent in and around Mistral is something we’ve rarely seen before and we’re excited to see what this complementary team will achieve.”

The AI market has been flooded in recent months after the success of ChatGPT, with Microsoft releasing a wave of AI-fuelled products in collaboration with OpenAI.

Tech giants like Google and Meta have countered with their own research and development. Google has created Bard to challenge the success of ChatGPT, while Meta has been sharing research into various types of generative AI products.

The scale of funding for such a new start-up is unique, but Lightspeed appears confident that the company can become a European player in this rapidly growing market.

“We believe that Europe has a decisive role to play in the AI field,” Moyroud said. “As the politicians and European leaders recognise the importance of their role in this new emerging world order, it is imperative that Europe remains a fertile ground for innovation to uphold European values but also further contribute to European digital sovereignty.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic