Israeli tech startup AI21 Labs raises $64m to change the way people read and write using artificial intelligence
AI21 Labs, an Israeli startup aiming to fundamentally change the way people read and write, announced the completion of its $64 million series B funding round, bringing the company's valuation to $664 million.
The round was led by Ahren with participation from existing investors, including Prof. Amnon Shashua, Walden Catalyst, Pitango, TPY Capital and Mark Leslie. The current round brings the company's total fundraising to $118 million. The funding will be used to invest in R&D and recruit new marketing and sales employees. Ahren will become a founding member of AI21 Labs' Advisory Board.
AI21 Labs specializes in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and has built AI21 Studio, an NLP-as-a-Service developer platform where developers can purchase state-of-the-art pre-trained and custom language models to build text-based applications, serving companies like Publicis and Latitude. AI21 Studio also features the company's newest product, Jurassic-X, an advanced natural language processing system that can handle tasks that lie beyond the reach of neural models alone.
The company has launched several products, including Wordtune, a browser extension with millions of active users that was chosen by Google as one of its favorite extensions for 2021, as well as Wordtune Read, which analyzes and summarizes documents in seconds, enabling users to read long and complex text quickly and efficiently.
Ori Goshen, Co-founder and co-CEO, AI21 Labs: "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. 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."
Alice Newcombe-Ellis, Founding and General Partner, Ahren: "NLP has reached a critical inflection point and AI21 has developed unique infrastructure and products to successfully serve a large and rapidly growing market. We consider this team to be of the highest caliber, both technically and commercially, leading a differentiated company in a transformative space."
Since first closing in 2019, Ahren has grown its assets under management to >$800 million and its portfolio to 22 companies across stages including three which have since become unicorns, two which have gone public and one which has been acquired. Ahren recently did a large first close of its successor fund. Core to Ahren's success is a strong partnership between its investment talent and its co-founding Science Partners, an interdisciplinary group who have previously built technologies and companies today worth over $100 billion. They include Professor Zoubin Ghahramani, VP Research at Google AI who previously founded and led Uber AI labs, amongst distinguished others.