Mistral AI raises 600 million euros in latest funding round

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and computer motherboard

By Yuvraj Malik and Krystal Hu

(Reuters) - France's Mistral AI has raised 600 million euros ($643.7 million) in a funding round led by existing investor General Catalyst, it said on Tuesday, as AI continues to draw the bulk of technology-focused venture capital funds.

The Series-B funding round valued the one-year-old company at 5.8 billion euros, according to two sources directly involved with the deal. This is a sharp increase from its valuation of 2 billion euros during its prior funding round in December.

"This new round puts us in a unique position to push the frontier of AI and bring state-of-the-art technology to everyone's hands," co-founder and CEO Arthur Mensch said.

The latest round also included investments from firms such as Lightspeed, Andreessen Horowitz, Cisco Systems and Nvidia, bringing the AI startup's total funding to more than 1 billion euros.

The runaway success of OpenAI's ChatGPT following its launch in late 2021 has turned the spotlight on large language models (LLM), a technology that underpins generative artificial intelligence products.

Paris-headquartered Mistral, widely considered as OpenAI's European competitor, said it would use the proceeds to add computing capacity, recruit workers and expand its international presence, particularly in the U.S.

In February, Microsoft invested $16 million in Mistral as part of a partnership to make the company's AI models available through its Azure cloud computing platform.

The partnership attracted scrutiny from the European Union, with lawmakers demanding an investigation into what they see as concentration of power by the tech giant.

($1 = 0.9321 euros)

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Mohammed Safi Shamsi)