AI start-up Mistral secures €385m to challenge OpenAI

11 Dec 2023

Image: © anastasiia agafonova/

The company has received huge investment since it launched earlier this year and is focused on open-source large language models, in contrast to companies like OpenAI.

French start-up Mistral AI has reportedly hit unicorn status after a massive funding round, rapidly turning it into a major player in the sector.

The company managed to raise €385m in its latest funding round. Two people familiar with the matter told the New York Times that the deal valued Mistral at around $2bn.

The funding round has various prominent names, including venture firm Andreessen Horowitz (A16z), Nvidia and Salesforce, according to sources speaking with the Financial Times last week. A16z also confirmed its involvement in the funding round.

The funding is a massive surge for the start-up, which only launched in May 2023. Mistral managed to secure €105m in seed funding one month after its launch. Lightspeed Venture Partners led that seed funding round and The New York Times said the VC firm was also involved in the latest funding round.

The French start-up, which was started by former researchers at Google’s Deepmind and Meta, is focused on creating open-source large language models, as a counter to others in the AI market like OpenAI and Google.

Mistral is moving full speed ahead and launched a beta access to its platform services today (11 December). The company also recently shared what appears to be a large torrent of an open-source AI model on X.

“Mistral is at the center of a small but passionate developer community growing up around open-source AI,” A16z said in a blogpost. “These developers generally don’t train new models from scratch, but they can do just about everything else.

“Community fine-tuned models now routinely dominate open-source leaderboards (and even beat closed-source models on some tasks). We think this is the most promising path to achieve robust, widely adopted and trusted AI systems, and that Mistral is the leading independent team on this path.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic