Mistral, a French artificial intelligence startup, is valued at $6.2 billion

Mistral, a French artificial intelligence start-up, said Tuesday that it has raised 600 million euros, or about $640 million, from investors, a sign of strong interest in a company considered Europe's most promising rival to OpenAI and other Silicon Valley AI systems. developers.

According to a person familiar with the investment, Mistral is now worth 5.8 billion euros, a staggering sum for a company founded just a year ago by former students of Meta and Google. The company's valuation has more or less tripled since December, when it raised 385 million euros.

Investors in the latest round include venture capital firms General Catalyst, Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners, as well as Nvidia, Samsung, Salesforce, Cisco, IBM and BNP Paribas.

Since OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, investors have poured money into generative artificial intelligence technology, which can answer questions in human-like prose, create images and write software code. Two weeks ago, Elon Musk raised $6 billion for his startup, xAI. OpenAI has raised about $13 billion from Microsoft, while another California startup, Anthropic, has raised more than $7.3 billion.

Mistral has positioned itself as a European alternative to America's largest tech giants and boasts that its products, such as the Le Chat chatbot, are strong in a wider range of languages, including English. Unlike companies like OpenAI and Anthropic, Mistral adheres to the idea that AI software should be open source, meaning that programming codes should be available for anyone to download, copy, modify, and reuse. Meta has also made its AI code open source.

As a testament to the growing geopolitical importance of AI, President Emmanuel Macron and other members of the French government have given the company their full support. Macron called Mistral a sign of “French genius” and invited the company's CEO, Arthur Mensch, to dinner at the presidential palace.

On Tuesday, Mensch said in a statement that the latest investment would help keep the company independent and fuel its expansion.

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