Why Israel's AI21 Labs Will be a Success Story
One of Tel Aviv's most exciting startups.
I really like to cover Generative A.I. startups and it’s usually best to review them when they raise more funds. With the recent fiasco at OpenAI there are various stories and reports of enterprise customers looking and going elsewhere. Trust, privacy, safety and customization (not to mention cost) really matters.
This isn’t a race, it’s about dependability, utility and a solution that fits a firm’s business model, budget and capabilities to integrate LLMs and Generative A.I. into their products.
Don’t underestimate the tech startups from Tel Aviv. AI21 Labs, which develops AI systems for enterprise, announced on November 21st, 2023 (Tuesday), the completion of its $208 million Series C funding at a valuation of $1.4 billion. There aren’t that many Generative A.I. Unicorns on the planet. The company is growing fast, even through a pandemic and a war.
AI21 Labs was founded by AI pioneers and technology veterans in 2017, including Prof. Yoav Shoham (Professor Emeritus at Stanford), Ori Goshen (Founder of CrowdX), and their chairman, Prof. Amnon Shashua (Founder, Mobileye).
AI21 Labs came out of stealth in October 2020 with their first launch of [AI writing tool] Wordtune and haven’t looked back since then making steady progress. They closed a $53 million extension to its previously announced (TechCrunch) 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.
AI21 Labs is both a research lab and a commercial operation that’s focused on natural language processing, a subset of AI. They are easily the most promising Generative A.I. startup in their region and one of the top in Europe, if you count their ties to the EU as such.
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.
Given the cost of training sophisticated models, there’s likely significant investor pressure to expand. They have focused on utility and a broad range of business use cases. Participation from additional new investors includes Intel Capital and Comcast Ventures. Intel who are also backing UK based Stability AI we might note.
Contact them about developing a Generative AI project for your business.
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