Artificial intelligence start-up iGenius seeks funding at a valuation of €1.7 billion

(Bloomberg) — Artificial intelligence startup iGenius, which wants to compete with OpenAI and other generative AI companies, is seeking to raise 650 million euros ($698 million) for a post-money valuation of around 1.7 billion euros, said CEO Uljan Sharka. said Monday.

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Completing a funding round with a so-called unicorn valuation would catapult the Italian startup into the elite ranks of Europe’s most dynamic and well-capitalized emerging AI companies, including France’s Mistral AI and Germany’s DeepL. IGenius is banking on continued investor enthusiasm to pour money into the sector, although some industry veterans warn that future progress in fundamental models will come primarily from incumbents such as Meta Platforms Inc. and Alphabet Inc.

Milan-based iGenius has launched a product known as “Italia,” which Sharka describes as a large, open-source foundational language model designed for use by, among others, organizations in the financial services industry.

The startup has secured the backing of a pre-money valuation of €1.05 billion from investors including Angel Capital Management – ​​the family office of Angelo Moratti – and Eurizon Asset Management, part of Eurizon Capital, Sharka said. It is also in ongoing talks with other potential investors, he added.

iGenius works with companies including Allianz SE, Aon Plc, Enel SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Sharka said. It aims to reach 20 million euros in annual recurring revenue by the end of 2024, he added.

Italy’s privacy regulator temporarily banned OpenAI’s ChatGPT in the country in 2023 over concerns the company could harvest user data. The regulator concluded in January that OpenAI had violated the privacy of Italian users.

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