AI startups continue to attract investors

AI startups continue to attract investors

Artificial intelligence (AI) loves money. On Thursday, March 14, venture capital firm Elaia announced the launch of its third fund for young startups in the world deep technology, resulting from fundamental research. Compared to its two predecessors with just over 75 million euros each, the newborn should have an envelope of 120 million euros, two-thirds of which will be spent on the future of IT, starting with artificial intelligence solutions.

The amount, even though it testifies to a growing ambition of Elaia, remains small compared to the major players in the sector, who can mobilize vehicles worth more than a billion. Nothing inconsistent though, as the company focuses on startups that are about to launch or have just launched.

To identify them, Elaia has built strong links with research centers, such as the National Institute for Research in Digital Sciences and Technologies or the University of Paris Sciences et Lettres in France, as well as with important European research centers. The aim is to identify projects before they leave the laboratory and to support entrepreneurs in their first steps.

As a result, the venture capital firm will only be able to issue tickets ranging from 300,000 euros to 3 million euros per program. But it remains confident that it can benefit from a return on investment, as its quality projects are numerous “trendy”in the words of Anne-Sophie Carrese, head of the new fund.

Significant amounts

Artificial intelligence startups are certainly in vogue, especially since the rise of generative AI software like ChatGPT, which is capable of autonomously generating natural language content. This is evident from the successive fundraising of the French Mistral IA, founded in April 2023, which managed to raise 105 million euros the following June, and then 385 million euros in December.

Since then, other French nuggets have managed to raise significant amounts, despite the major slowdown in the venture capital market observed in France in 2023 (8.32 billion euros, or -38% compared to 2022). Among them we can mention Photoroom (40 million euros, February 27) or more recently Adaptive ML (18 million euros, March 12), just five months after the creation of the company, which today has only nine employees)

For Julien Launay, co-founder and CEO of Adaptive ML, the interest in the funds reflects what companies are now showing for these generative artificial intelligence solutions: “Over the past one or two years we have been more in a demonstration phase, but this year it is one of putting projects into production. » With the new fundraising, the young company plans to open a research and development center in France, but will remain based in the United States, where its customer base is larger. As well as investments.

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