Leading AI and large language model start-up AI21 Labs has announced the closing of a successful $155 million Series C funding round, in a striking demonstration of the soaring interest and investment in the rapidly evolving field of artificial intelligence.
This substantial funding round — the third-largest fundraise by an Israeli company this year — is set to supercharge AI21 Labs' text-based generative AI services tailored for enterprise applications. The round saw a consortium of investors coming together, including Walden Catalyst, Pitango, SCB10X, b2venture, Samsung Next, with substantial contributions from tech giants Google and NVIDIA. With this latest funding secured, AI21 Labs' cumulative capital raised now stands at $283 million, bolstering the company's valuation to $1.4 billion, further solidifying its position in the generative AI landscape.
Founded in 2017 by AI luminaries Prof. Amnon Shashua, Prof. Yoav Shoham, and Ori Goshen, AI21 Labs was an early pioneer in democratizing generative AI, making it accessible to a wider audience. In the time since its founding — and particularly over the last nine months following the emergence of ChatGPT in November 2022 — the AI industry has experienced a meteoric rise. ChatGPT, an advanced language model, marked a turning point in AI's capabilities and applications by exemplifying the potential of AI-powered conversational systems, attracting significant attention from technology companies, researchers, and investors worldwide. This transformative moment acted as a catalyst for increased interest and investment in AI technologies, creating a fertile ground for companies like AI21 Labs to thrive.
What makes AI21 Labs stand out in the artificial intelligence field?
As demand for their advanced large language models (LLMs) and natural language processing (NLP) technologies has surged, the company has cultivated a substantial client base, ranging from individual consumers to Fortune 100 corporations. AI21 Labs has worked to develop several LLM models in the past months, with a particular focus on delivering reliable, trustworthy, and precise results with more refined control compared to standalone models.
Central to AI21's technology are their proprietary Jurassic-2 foundation models, among the largest and most sophisticated LLMs globally. Jurassic-2 serves as the foundation for AI21 Studio, a developer platform that facilitates the creation of custom text-based business applications, and Wordtune, a multilingual AI assistant designed to enhance reading and writing capabilities for professionals and consumers.
“AI21 Labs is a pure play in AI as it develops and owns foundation models which serve as a platform to developers and enterprises, while developing derivatives, such as Wordtune, directly to end users,” noted Shashua, who also contributed to the company’s funding round. “The current round fuels the growth of the company to reach its goal of developing the next level of AI with the capabilities of reasoning across many domains. We believe that the impact of AI21 Labs’ growth will reach a global scale, quite soon.”
This funding milestone follows AI21's recent initiatives to integrate generative AI into enterprise and professional settings, collaborating with leaders in various sectors such as Carrefour, Clarivate, eBay, Guesty, Monday.com, and Ubisoft. AI21 Labs also earned recognition on the inaugural CB Insights GenAI 50 List of the Most Innovative Generative AI Startups, underscoring its contributions to the industry's advancement.
Jensen Huang, the founder and CEO of NVIDIA, emphasized the importance of reducing inaccuracies within generative AI model outputs. “Generative AI is driving a new era of computing across every industry,” he said. “The innovative work by the AI21 Labs team will help enterprises accelerate productivity and efficiency with generative AI-based systems that are accurate, trustworthy, and reliable.”