AI21 Labs raises $64M to help it compete against OpenAI

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AI21 Labs has raised $64 million in a funding round to help it compete against OpenAI and other NLP leaders.

Competition in NLP (Natural Language Processing) is heating up. OpenAI is currently seen as the industry leader with its GPT-3 model but rivals are gaining traction.

Investors see AI21 Labs as one of the most promising contenders.

“We completed this round during a period of market uncertainty, which highlights the confidence our investors have in AI21’s vision to change the way people consume and produce information,” said Ori Goshen, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AI21 Labs.

“The funding will allow us to accelerate the company’s global growth while continuing to develop advanced technology in the field of natural language processing. We are looking forward to growing our team and our offerings.”

The latest funding round was led by Ahren and brings AI21 Labs’ valuation to $664 million.

“NLP has reached a critical inflection point and AI21 has developed unique infrastructure and products to successfully serve a large and rapidly growing market” commented Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Founding and General Partner of Ahren.

“We consider this team to be of the highest calibre, both technically and commercially, leading a differentiated company in a transformative space.”

AI21 Labs’ Jurassic-1 Jumbo model is around the size of GPT-3. The company has been gradually building products around it, including its ‘AI-as-a-Service’ platform AI21 Studio.

One of the consumer-facing products launched by AI21 Labs is Wordtune, an AI writing tool with millions of active users that was chosen by Google as one of its favourite extensions for 2021.

Another product, Wordtune Read, is able to analyse and summarise documents in seconds—enabling users to read long and complex text quickly and efficiently.

A survey last year by John Snow Labs found that 60 percent of budgets for NLP technologies increased by at least 10 percent in 2020, while 33 percent reported a 30 percent increase and 15 percent said their budget more than doubled.

NLP specialists like AI21 Labs are set to benefit greatly from the clear appetite for such technologies over the coming years.

(Image Credit: AI21 Labs)

Related: Meta’s NLLB-200 AI model improves translation quality by 44%

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