French technology and artificial intelligence company Mistral AI has raised 105 million euros ($113.4 million) just a month after being set up, the company said on Tuesday, giving a boost to France’s plans to market itself as a major global tech hub.
The fund-raising highlights the rapid growth of the artificial intelligence (AI) sector as well as Europe’s desire to create rivals to Silicon Valley companies such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google‘s DeepMind.
Paris-based Mistral AI was set up by former Meta and Google artificial intelligence researchers Timothee Lacroix, Guillaume Lample and Arthur Mensch.
“We are proud to initiate this global project from France, our home country, and to contribute, at our level, to the emergence of a credible new player in generative artificial intelligence from Europe,” Mensch, Mistral AI’s president, said.
Mistral AI’s fund-raising was led by international venture capital fund Lightspeed Venture Partners.
Businessmen Xavier Niel and Rodolphe Saade were also involved, as were JCDecaux Holding, Italy’s Exor Ventures and Belgian firm Sofina. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt is also a shareholder in Mistral AI.
Paris has traditionally lagged New York, California and London as a technology hub, but Mistral AI’s fund-raising was lauded by French government minister Jean-Noel Barrot, as Paris aims to burnish its credentials as a global tech centre.
“Bravo to the start-up Mistral AI which has raised 105 million euros just a month after its creation: a record!” wrote Barrot on Twitter.