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DeepMind Scientists Considering $220 Million Round for AI Startup

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A pair of scientists at Google DeepMindLaurent Sifre and Karl Tuyls, are reportedly in discussions with potential investors to establish their own artificial intelligence (AI) startup in Paris. 

The potential startup, currently known as Holistic, aims to develop a new AI model, Bloomberg reported Friday (Jan. 19). The startup is different from the London-based enterprise software business Holistic AI, the report noted. 

The significant financing round being considered for Holistic, which may exceed 200 million euros (about $220 million), underscores the strong investor interest in AI technology, according to the report. 

Both scientists are considered leaders in the field, the report said. Sifre co-authored groundbreaking 2016 DeepMind research on the capabilities of AI systems in the game of Go. Tuyls has researched game theory and multi-agent reinforcement learning. 

The interest from investors in Holistic reflects the growing fascination with AI technology, per the report. This trend is particularly evident in France, where venture capitalists and business magnates have been heavily investing in startups emerging from Parisian universities and AI hubs in Silicon Valley. 

In 2023, Mistral AI, a rival of OpenAI, secured substantial funding and achieved a valuation of approximately $2 billion. 

Mistral AI, which was founded by researchers from Google and Meta, has quickly gained prominence in the European AI startup space, PYMNTS reported at the time of the fundraise. The company specializes in open-source software for chatbots and generative AI tools, tapping into the expertise of its founders in working on large language models (LLMs) similar to those created by OpenAI. 

Additionally, Kyutai, a nonprofit AI research lab, obtained 300 million euros (about $327 million) in initial funding last November, the report said. 

Kyutai is focused on open research in AI and aims to develop large multimodal models that utilize text, sound, images and other data types, while also inventing new algorithms to enhance the capacities, reliability and efficiency of the technology, PYMNTS reported at the time of the lab’s launch. 

There is intense activity taking place in the venture capital landscape surrounding AI, PYMNTS reported in November. Investors are eager to support companies developing advanced AI models, particularly generative AI. 

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