An AI start-up founded by a trio of former Meta Platforms and Google researchers four weeks ago raised €105 million in funding from backers including billionaire Iliad Group-owner Xavier Niel.
The figure values Mistral company at around €240 million, Financial Times reported, adding the sum involved is the largest-ever first round of financing in Europe, based on figures from Dealroom.co, a research company which tracks private technology investments.
Former Google DeepMind researcher Arthur Mensch heads up Mistral, which he co-founded with recently-departed Meta Platforms’ researchers Timothee Lacroix and Guillaume Lample.
Mistral was formed in May and is yet to develop any products, with its first employees only beginning work a few days ago.
It has pledged to launch a new large language model, similar to a generative AI system, in early 2024.
Mensch said there is rising awareness of the fact the technology “is transformative and Europe needs to do something about it, both as a regulator, as a customer and an investor”.
The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, which also invested in Snap and Epic Games. Other participants include former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and state-backed French investment bank Bpi
Antoine Moyroud, a partner at Lightspeed, said the scale and speed of Mistral’s funding reflects the expertise of its founders. “The trio are part of a new breed of founders who combine deep technical expertise and operating experience working in the largest labs.”