PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Italian AI Startup iGenius Aims to Raise $698 Million


Italian artificial intelligence (AI) startup iGenius reportedly aims to raise 650 million euros ($698 million).

This would give the startup a post-money valuation of 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion), Bloomberg reported Monday (June 10), citing iGenius CEO Uljan Sharka.

The startup offers an open-source AI model that is used by financial services companies and other businesses, according to the report.

It aims to compete with OpenAI and other generative AI firms, the report said.

This report comes four days after iGenius launched its open-source foundational large language model (LLM) dubbed “Italia,” saying this LLM was trained exclusively in Italian, can understand linguistic and cultural nuances, and has knowledge of decades of national and international history.

“We believe that Italia represents the first step towards a new Digital Renaissance, where AI solutions are designed with people, not technology, at the center,” Sharka said in a Thursday (June 6) press release. “Our goal now is to invest in new models that are representative of other languages and cultures.”

In another recent development in this space, French AI startup “H” — which had been known as Holistic AI before a rebrand — raised $220 million for its goal of building artificial general intelligence.

Artificial general intelligence is a level of AI that matches or exceeds human capabilities.

Amazon and Samsung participated in H’s funding round.

In December 2023, French AI startup Mistral AI raised $415 million in a funding round that valued the then-7-month-old company at around $2 billion.

Mistral AI quickly gained prominence in the European AI startup space by specializing in open-source software for chatbots and generative AI tools and tapping into the expertise of its founders — researchers from Google and Meta — in working on LLMs similar to those created by Open AI.

Investors reportedly funneled $21.8 billion into generative AI companies in 2023, a fivefold increase from 2022, in hopes of discovering the next ChatGPT.

All chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed for a PYMNTS Intelligence report said that their organizations are now using generative AI. How these companies use the technology varies widely, however, according to “The Impact of Implementing GenAI — and How to Maximize ROI.”

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