“AI21 Labs, a pioneering startup headquartered in Tel Aviv, dedicated to the development of an array of AI tools for generating text, has garnered an impressive $155 million in a Series C funding round, led by the venerable entities Walden Catalyst, Pitango, SCB10X, b2venture, in consort with Samsung Next and the luminary Amnon Shashua, the originator of Intel-owned Mobileye and a co-founder of AI21 Labs. Noteworthy participants also include the tech giants Google and Nvidia.
This tranche, culminating in a cumulative influx of $283 million for AI21 Labs, stamps the company’s valuation at an impressive $1.4 billion—slightly surpassing The Information’s prior approximation of $1.2 billion.
Yoav Shoham, one of AI21 Labs’ co-CEOs, in a correspondence with TechCrunch via electronic mail, expounded on the company’s trajectory, affirming, “AI21 Labs surfaced from the shroud of anonymity in October 2020, introducing our inaugural offering, the AI writing instrument christened ‘Wordtune.'” He proceeded to note, “Subsequently, our progress has been ceaseless, manifest in the twofold augmentation of our workforce, with intentions to augment our manpower even further.”
AI21 Labs came into existence in the year 2017, fostered by the combined efforts of Shashua, Shoham, and Ori Goshen, the startup’s additional co-CEO. Shoham, a venerable emeritus professor at Stanford, boasts of having successfully divested two entities to the behemoth Google—namely, the temporal management application Timeful and the social network contact organizer Katango. Notably, Goshen is no novice to entrepreneurship, being a co-founder and helmsman of various Israel-rooted tech enterprises, which encompass the analytics firm Crowdx, specializing in telecommunications.
The crowning glory of AI21 Labs’ repertoire is AI21 Studio, a developer platform accessible through a pay-as-you-go paradigm, designed to erect bespoke text-oriented business applications utilizing AI21’s exclusive reservoir of text-generating AI models. This ensemble encompasses the avant-garde Jurassic-2 model. Wordtune, a versatile multilingual AI assistant akin to Grammarly, also features prominently in AI21 Labs’ portfolio.
The patrons of AI21 Labs can access the startup’s platform through APIs, tailor-made for distinct applications of generative AI, such as summarization, paraphrasing, grammar and orthography rectification. The ambit of the startup’s models extends to an expanding constellation of languages, encompassing Spanish, German, Italian, and Dutch.
AI21 Labs finds itself in the midst of a burgeoning consortium of startups and established contenders vying for supremacy within the dynamic realm of generative AI.
A trifecta of behemoths—Google, AWS, and Microsoft—deliver tooling analogous to AI21 Studio. Concurrently, startups including but not confined to Cohere, OpenAI, and Anthropic, and to a certain degree, marketing-oriented vendors such as Jasper, Regie, and Typeface, partake in this arena. Notwithstanding, AI21 Labs contends with a fiscal asymmetry; OpenAI has amassed an astonishing $11.3 billion to date, while Anthropic and Cohere have amassed $1.6 billion and $435 million, respectively.
Shoham avers that AI21 Labs’ solutions, despite superficial resemblance and the absence of a robust R&D budget, excel on several fronts. He elucidates that they are germinated from “some of the planet’s most colossal and sophisticated large-scale language models,” offering “more nuanced control” than the generative AI applications dotting the market. Furthermore, he emphasizes that they undergo training on contemporary data, as opposed to text-generating models, which remain rooted in antiquated data, rendering them incapable of proficiently addressing queries regarding ongoing events.
cise outcomes,” Shoham pronounces confidently. He accentuates, “Within the industry, the confluence of quality and quantity of training data constitutes a substantial challenge