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Paris-based artificial intelligence startup Mistral AI raises $640 million

Mistral AI has closed its much-rumored Series B funding round, led by General Catalyst. The company has received €600 million (about $640 million at today’s exchange rate) in equity and debt funding. As TechCrunch previously reported, this round now values ​​the startup at $6 billion.

As a reminder, Mistral AI is a relatively new entrant into the AI ​​space. The company raised a massive $112 million seed round about a year ago to build a European competitor to OpenAI, Anthropic, and other AI giants.

Mistral AI was co-founded by Google DeepMind and Meta alumni and is dedicated to the research and development of basic models, aiming to compete with today’s best performing models such as GPT-4o, Claude 3, and Llama 3.

Mistral AI also releases pre-trained and fine-tuned models under open source licenses with open weights. For example, Mistral 7B, Mistral 8x7B, and Mistral 8x22B are all released under the Apache 2.0 license, an open source license that imposes no restrictions on use or reproduction beyond attribution.

Mistral AI’s most advanced models, such as Mistral Large, are proprietary models designed to be repackaged as API-first products. Codestral, the company’s first code-generating AI model, has a restrictive license as its output cannot be used for commercial activities.

Companies can tap into Mistral Large through a paid API priced based on usage. The company also offers a chat assistant called Le Chat — currently free to use. It also has distribution partnerships with cloud providers like Microsoft Azure — Microsoft is also a minority shareholder in Mistral AI.

“I am delighted to see new and existing investors’ renewed confidence in our business and their renewed support for expansion. This new round of funding puts us in a unique position to push the frontier of AI and bring state-of-the-art technology to everyone,” said Arthur Mensch, co-founder and CEO of Mistral AI, in a statement. “It guarantees the continued independence of the company, which remains fully controlled by its founders.”

General Catalyst led the Series B round. The venture capital firm is an existing investor in the startup. According to the Financial Times, Mistral AI raised €468 million in equity and €132 million in debt (roughly $500 million and $140 million, respectively). Other investors included Lightspeed Venture Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Nvidia, Samsung Ventures, Salesforce Venture, and many others.

With that list ready, let’s get started. Other investors include Belfius, Bertelsmann Investments, BNP Paribas, Bpifrance (through its Digital Ventures Fund), Cisco, Eurazeo, Headline, Hanwha Asset Management’s venture capital fund, IBM, Korelya Capital, Latitude, Millennium New Horizons, Sanabil Investments, ServiceNow, and SV Angel.

Mistral AI has done an impressive job of releasing foundational models over the past 18 months. Now let’s see if it can attract enterprise customers and turn this engineering work into revenue.

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