OpenAI Rival Mistral AI Set to Raise Funds from a16z and Others at $2B Valuation


With a valuation of $2 billion within its first year, Mistral’s rapid ascent reflects the tech industry’s unwavering optimism regarding the future potential and profitability of AI businesses.

Mistral AI, a formidable competitor to OpenAI, is in the final stages of securing approximately €450 million ($487 million) in a funding round. Notable investors, including Nvidia Corp and Salesforce Inc, are backing the venture, valuing the artificial intelligence company at around $2 billion, sources familiar with the deal revealed.

The funding package involves over €325 million in equity, with leading contributions from investors led by Andreessen Horowitz. Talks are underway for Andreessen Horowitz to invest an additional €200 million. Notably, Nvidia and Salesforce have also committed to providing €120 million in convertible debt. While some details remain subject to change, insiders cautioning that the discussions are confidential.

As part of the deal, Mistral AI’s three co-founders will be selling over €1 million each in equity, as outlined in transaction term documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Other key insiders, including Cedric O, the former French minister serving as the company’s chief adviser, plan to offload shares, with Cedric O also aiming to sell nearly €1 million worth of equity, according to the term sheet.

The recent development comes within a month of all the drama that unfolded at OpenAI with the ouster of Sam Altman. Later the board members decided to reinstate him back as the CEO of OpenAI. At the same time, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT) also managed to secure a seat on the board of OpenAI.

Mistral AI Commands $2 Billion Valuation

With a valuation of $2 billion within its first year, Mistral’s rapid ascent reflects the tech industry’s unwavering optimism regarding the future potential and profitability of artificial intelligence (AI) enterprises. Specializing in open-source software powering chatbots and other generative AI tools, Mistral positions itself as a cost-effective and more efficient alternative to its US counterparts, emphasizing the substantial computing resources required in this field.

As one of Europe’s standout AI startups, Mistral was founded by former scientists from Alphabet Inc’s DeepMind and Meta Platforms Inc., leveraging their expertise in large language models similar to those of Sam Altman’s OpenAI. The company secured an impressive $113 million in its initial funding round in June, marking a substantial investment for a European tech startup.

Investors in Mistral’s funding round included General Catalyst, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Bpifrance, and others, as indicated by documents. While Lightspeed declined to comment, there was no response from representatives of General Catalyst and Bpifrance to requests for comment.

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