AI21 Labs Raises $155 Million in Series C Funding, Hits $1.4 Billion Valuation

Israel-based AI21 Labs has raised $155 million in a Series C round. The round was spearheaded by leading investors Walden Catalyst, Pitango, SCB10X, b2venture, Samsung Next, and Amnon Shashua, an AI21 Labs co-founder and Mobileye’s founder. Tech behemoths Google and Nvidia also joined the round.

Transaction Highlights:

  • Deal Value: $155 million.
  • Valuation: AI21 Labs is now valued at approximately $1.4 billion, slightly higher than earlier reports which pegged it at $1.2 billion.
  • Lead Investors: Walden Catalyst, Pitango, SCB10X, b2venture, Samsung Next, and Amnon Shashua.
  • Participant Investors: Google and Nvidia.

AI21 Labs Snapshot:

  • Growth: Co-CEO Yoav Shoham revealed plans for employee expansion after more than doubling their workforce since their product launch in October 2020.
  • Founding Team: Founded in 2017 by Shashua, Shoham, and Ori Goshen, all of whom have strong entrepreneurial backgrounds.
  • Flagship Products: AI21 Studio and Wordtune which are platforms for custom text-based business apps and multilingual reading and writing aid.
  • Market Competition: Competes with OpenAI, Cohere, and Anthropic, among others, in the generative AI sector.

Looking Ahead:

AI21 Labs is planning aggressive R&D ventures to achieve its ambition of "developing the next level of AI." The company is also eyeing more partnerships across the tech landscape and aims to expand its current 200-person team, focusing primarily on research and business development roles.

Yoav Shoham, co-CEO, emphasized the company's focus on delivering high-quality, reliable AI solutions. "Our systems are designed to be easily integrated and provide accurate and trustworthy results. Our emphasis has always been on utilizing up-to-date data for training our AI models," Shoham commented.

Despite the immense capital requirements associated with developing large language models, AI21 Labs remains steadfast. According to reports, training a text-generating model with 1.5 billion parameters can cost up to $1.6 million, not including hosting costs. AI21 Labs seems well-positioned to navigate these financial challenges, given their recent capital infusion.

A Strategic Move for AI21 Labs:

The Series C funding aligns with AI21 Labs' long-term strategy of leading the generative AI market. While the sector is crowded with heavyweights like Google, AWS, and Microsoft, AI21 Labs differentiates itself through its advanced and refined control features. The fresh capital is expected to further fuel its R&D initiatives and help the company maintain its competitive edge.

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