As an illustration, consider the $53 million Series C fundraising round that AI21 Labs, a business creating Generative AI Startup AI21 Labs similar to OpenAI’s GPT-4 and ChatGPT, concluded today. With the participation of new investors Intel Capital and Comcast Ventures, AI21 has now received $336 million in total.
The $1.4 billion startup valuation is still in place. The CEO and co-founder of AI21 Labs, Ori Goshen, stated that the funding will go toward expanding the company’s workforce and developing new products. (If they don’t leave for Microsoft, maybe some of those new jobs will come from OpenAI given the recent wave of departures there.)
Goshen stated in a press statement, “We’re incredibly grateful for the support of our investors who believe in our deep technology expertise.” “A thorough grasp of high-performance language models that can produce greater value and effect is necessary for the widespread deployment of AI. Our strategy focuses on purposefully constructing AI to make it far more economical and considerably more efficient than creating it from scratch.
Established in 2017, AI21 Labs is a Tel Aviv-based firm that produces a variety of text-generating AI technologies. Its co-founders, Amnon Shashua and Goshen, as well as Yoav Shoham, the other co-CEO, established Mobileye. The main offering from AI21 is AI21 Studio, a pay-as-you-go developer platform that allows users to create unique text-based business apps using the company’s in-house text-generating AI models. The firm also offers Wordtune access, a multilingual AI writing and reading help similar to Grammarly.
For particular generative AI use cases, such as summarization, paraphrasing, and grammar and spelling correction, customers can access AI21 Labs’ platform through APIs. A rising number of languages, including Spanish, German, Italian, and Dutch, are supported by the startup’s models.
In the generative AI industry, AI21 Labs faces competition from financially troubled OpenAI as well as other well-funded startups like Cohere and Anthropic (and, to a lesser degree, suppliers that concentrate on marketing like Jasper, Regie, and Typeface). Tooling similar to AI21 Studio is also available from Google, AWS, and Microsoft.
Generative AI Startup AI21 Labs:
Generative AI Startup AI21 Labs [Source of Image: Techcrunch.com]
However, according to Shoham, AI21 stands out for having a “more comprehensive systems approach.”
In an email, he noted, “Our AI enriches [generative AI] with knowledge and reasoning in addition to statistical inference.” “This allows us to define a flexible architecture that includes discrete knowledge and reasoning modules in addition to multiple generative AI.”
It’s debatable to what degree that differentiates; some providers contend that they’re using comparable methods and technology. However, one thing is certain: AI21 is supported by real customer momentum. According to Goshen, Wordtune alone has more than 10 million users, and AI21 has “several” Fortune 100 organizations on its client roster.
Collaborations with Dataiku and Amazon, especially during the latter’s Bedrock generative AI development platform launch, would have been beneficial.
“The idea that a one-size-fits-all approach is becoming less popular as businesses seek out distinctive partners who are aware of their particular requirements,” Goshen stated.
It is noteworthy that, except for Stability AI, AI21 Labs represents Intel’s second significant public generative AI investment to date. Of course, the fact that Intel owns Mobileye and that Shashua has worked for Intel for a while is no coincidence. However, I also wonder if Intel is experiencing pressure to improve in this area from competing chipmakers, particularly Nvidia, which has greatly profited from the AI boom. I wouldn’t be shocked by it.