French Startup Mistral AI Gains Traction In US, Targets OpenAI's Market

Zinger Key Points
  • Mistral AI hires Marjorie Janiewicz for U.S. expansion.
  • Mistral promotes open-source AI models for flexibility.

Mistral AI, a Paris-based startup, launched in early 2023 aiming to compete with OpenAI in the European market by developing generative artificial intelligence tools, is setting its sights on the U.S. market.

Marjorie Janiewicz, the former chief revenue officer of Foursquare, was hired in May as Mistral’s first U.S. general manager.

She revealed in an interview that the startup is "gaining momentum" in the U.S. and plans to expand its team. Some of this traction is driven by businesses seeking alternatives to AI models from giants like OpenAI and Alphabet Inc’s GOOG GOOGL Google, reported Bloomberg.

"They do not want to be forced into an AI stack," she said. “They want choices.”

Mistral, established by ex-AI researchers from Google DeepMind and Meta Platforms Inc META is a leading AI initiative in Europe.

The startup has attracted over $500 million from venture capitalists, billionaires, and the French government, and is rumored to be seeking another funding round valued at $6 billion.

In its first year, Mistral introduced various AI models and a ChatGPT-like feature called Le Chat. CEO Arthur Mensch believes the company can rival OpenAI and Google.

Also Read: Microsoft’s Massive €4 Billion Investment In French Tech

Mistral has garnered significant political attention in France, which aims to be a global AI hub. Cédric O, France's former digital minister, is a co-founder of Mistral.

President Emmanuel Macron has expressed a desire for Mistral to grow independently rather than being acquired by a U.S. company.

Despite this, Mistral’s U.S. expansion is supported by Microsoft Corp MSFT, which has invested in the startup and will host Mistral's latest AI model exclusively on its Azure cloud platform.

Mistral has also partnered with IBM Corp. and Snowflake Inc. for distribution.

Janiewicz mentioned that Mistral plans to attract U.S. customers through these partnerships and direct deals with companies using its open-source models.

She highlighted rising interest in running Mistral's open-source models on local servers, particularly among companies in financial services, tech, and healthcare sectors.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence, the generative AI software and cloud market could reach $350 billion by 2032.

While Janiewicz did not disclose sales figures, she acknowledged that it is "early days" for determining pricing strategies in the U.S. Despite the challenges, Mistral is gaining recognition in the U.S. "I've been pleasantly surprised with the brand awareness already," she said.

"Customers are even saying ‘Le Chat' and ‘la platform.' It seems that the French touch is having an effect."

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Read Next: Mistral CEO Shades OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Says Obsession With Reaching AGI Is About ‘Creating God’

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