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One AI startup’s undoing is another’s opportunity.
Case in point: Today, AI21 Labs, a company developing generative AI products along the lines of OpenAI’s GPT-4 and ChatGPT, closed a $53 million extension to its previously announced Series C funding round. The new tranche, which had participation from new investors Intel Capital and Comcast Ventures, brings AI21’s total raised to $336 million.
The startup’s valuation remains unchanged at $1.4 billion.
Ori Goshen, AI21 Labs’ co-founder and CEO, said that the cash infusion will be put toward product development and growing the startup’s headcount. (Perhaps a few of those new hires will come from OpenAI, given the string of departures there — if they don’t jump ship for Microsoft.)
“We’re extremely grateful for the support of our investors who believe in our deep technology expertise,” Goshen said in a press release. “Mass deployment of AI requires deep understanding of high-performance language models that can deliver better value and impact. Our approach is about designing AI with purpose, making it significantly more efficient than building from scratch, and much more cost effective.”
A Tel Aviv-based startup creating a range of text-generating AI tools, AI21 Labs was founded in 2017 by Mobileye co-founder Amnon Shashua, Goshen and Yoav Shoham, the startup’s other co-CEO. AI21’s flagship product is AI21 Studio, a pay-as-you-go developer platform for building custom text-based business apps off of AI21’s proprietary text-generating AI models. The startup also sells access to Wordtune, a multilingual reading and writing AI assistant akin to Grammarly.
Customers can tap AI21 Labs’ platform via APIs for specific generative AI use cases, like summarization, paraphrasing, and grammar and spelling correction. The startup’s models support a growing number of languages, including Spanish, German, Italian and Dutch.