AI21 Labs secures $64Mn to scale up its AI-based language services


Amidst increasing focus on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies that are capable of decoding and generating text called language models, majority of tech leaders are stretching their budgets for AI language technologies.

As a result, new providers and vendors, placed between the large tech giants and well-resourced startups are also keen on introducing unique language modeling capabilities.

Israel’s AI21 Labs is among this herd of vendors to develop a model known as Jurassic-1 Jumbo, which is similar to its rival OpenAI’s language model GPT-3.

Gradually, AI21 has built products based on the model, including AI21 Studio, which is an ‘AI-as-a-service’ platform that allows customers to develop virtual assistants, content moderation tools, chatbots, and more.

Recently, AL21 Labs raised $64 million in Series B round funding round led by Ahren Innovation Capital Fund, extending the company’s valuation to $664 million.

The funding round involved other participants such as Walden Catalyst, TPY Capital, Pitango venture capital, Mobileye CEO & Co-founder Amnon Shashua, and venture capitalist Mark Leslie, contributing to a total of $118 million capital raised by AI21 Labs.

Speaking on the capital influx, Ori Goshen, CEO, and Co-founder of AI21 Labs mentioned that the money will be focused on R&D, particularly on developing highly sophisticated language models and talent recruitment.

Currently, AI21 employs 120 people and plans to add another 50 employees by the end of this year, contradicting the macroeconomic trend.

Goshen added that AI21’s proprietary language models showcase core capabilities that support the ingestion of enormous volumes of corporate data that are often used in customized content creation, classification, and summarization.

Founded back in 2017 by Shashua, Goshen, and Yoav Shoham, a Stanford University Professor, AI21 Labs first launched Wordtune, which was an AI-powered writing tool designed to compete with Grammarly.

The company rolled out AI21 Studio last year in August, along with a ‘pay-as-you-go’ service that enabled developers to seek access to custom models tailored with datasets compatible with their requirements.

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