Challenger AI startup Mistral has raised a €600M round for its bid to rival industry leader OpenAI.


The round was led by General Catalyst as well as existing investors Lightspeed, Andreessen Horowitz, Bpifrance and BNP Paribas.


Microsoft, which previously backed Mistral but now has a partnership with OpenAI, did not participate. Mistral’s raise is now the largest all-purpose AI capital injection that Europe has seen; Mistral’s €1B total raised distinguishes it as Europe’s tech champion. Co-founders Timothée Lacroix Guillaume Lample and Arthur Mensch from Meta and Deepmind remain majority shareholders.


Mensch commented specifically on the amount of compute required by Mistral to Financial Times, saying that its software required “little more than 1,000” of the high-powered graphics processing units (GPU) chips needed to train AI systems. The comments are prescient as industry leaders scramble to create ever more efficient models. 


Mistral’s latest funding is made up of €468m in equity and €132m in debt and values the company, which was founded in mid-2023, at €5.8b including the new capital raised, people close to the company told FT. Many of its AI systems are open source, meaning their source code is available for anybody to examine or customise.


“It remains a capital-intensive market.” said Mensch. “The more capacity we have, the more people we can get into our team . . . to break the barriers of artificial intelligence.”