Biweekly VC Insights by Uniborn #38

Inside: Latest about AI in Europe and the world
Barbara Krassner
🇬🇪 Uniborn Team
3 min read

Andreessen Horowitz, the Silicon Valley titan known for spotting gems like Facebook and Airbnb early on, just raised a whopping $7.2 billion, with a significant chunk earmarked for generative AI startups. Feeling inspired, we've curated today's roundup of the latest buzz in the world of AI.

🔥After the EU's move in AI regulation, is it the UK's turn?

In a landmark move this March, the EU finally ratified the AI Act following years of debate. Billed as "the world's first standard" to mitigate AI risks, it has sparked fierce debate. Critics lament its lagging and strict data protection measures, fearing it could stifle innovation. In other words, a real battle has broken out between AI restrictionists and accelerationists (Twitter and Reddit serving as the battleground, of course).

Just some of last year's views on this Act. (Image: Reddit)
Just some of last year's views on this Act. (Image: Reddit)

Now the spotlight shifts to the UK, which is beginning to draft its own AI legislation, a few months after the Prime Minister promised to take a cautious approach. Speculation is that the coming rules could put a leash on the production of large language models — a foundational technology driving marvels like ChatGPT. So, brace yourselves for the next chapter in the AI regulation saga.

View the full article on the Financial Times.

🔥 Discover the European frontrunners in Gen AI

Are curious to know which 100 generative AI companies are making waves with their hefty investments worldwide? Fortune analysts have compiled a list based on Dealroom data.

Unsurprisingly, when it comes to funding, US-based companies, particularly those in the San Francisco Bay Area, reign supreme by a wide margin. Leading the pack is none other than OpenAI, with Anthropic and Inflection AI close behind in California.

But what about Europe? Germany's Aleph Alpha tops the charts, trailed by France's Mistral AI and Israel's AI21. The UK also boasts a vibrant scene. Additionally, seven companies originally hailing from Europe have since migrated to the US, securing $1.7 billion in funding.

View the interactive chart on Fortune.

🔥What AI (besides generative) interests investors?

Take a look at the chart, and you'll see that VC investment in AI in the first quarter of 2024 is higher than the previous quarter or the same period in 2023, excluding investment in OpenAI.

Image: The Information
Image: The Information

This is not just thanks to big language models and generative AI: this year, investors are diversifying their portfolios. Applied solutions such as anthropomorphic robots and speech generation are gaining traction.

And let's not overlook machine learning, a perennial favorite among investors. Projections show that the global machine learning market could grow to an impressive $777 billion plus by 2032, a staggering 35% compound annual growth rate from its $38 billion value in 2022.

With this exponential growth in mind, it's worth checking out the 20 fastest-growing machine learning companies where British, Irish, and French innovators are making their mark.

View the ranking on Spectre.

🔥What about leaders across the AI spectrum?

In case you missed it, CB Insights recently released its annual list of the most promising private AI companies. It's based on many criteria, including deal activity, industry partnerships, team capabilities, investor support, and patent activity.

Here are the top AI companies by equity funding. (Image: CB Insights)
Here are the top AI companies by equity funding. (Image: CB Insights)

Key takeaways from this ranking?

  • The crème de la crème of AI companies hail from 16 countries, with nearly a third based in the US. European startups also shine, accounting for 19%, with notable representation from the UK, France, and Germany.
  • Since 2020, this cohort has collectively amassed a staggering sum of nearly $30 billion in funding. A significant portion of this financial influx — over $12 billion — is attributed to OpenAI.
  • Furthermore, an impressive 68% of these standout companies are in the early stages of fundraising, up to and including Series A.

View the list on CB Insights.

🔥 AI startups seem to drive the unicorn recovery this year

In a remarkable surge, 37 startups crossed the billion-dollar threshold in the first quarter of 2024, the highest quarterly number in the last year, according to PitchBook's unicorn tracker. This number was up 48% from the fourth quarter of 2023.

Among the newly crowned unicorns are a number of generative AI startups, including Mistral AI, Celestial AI, Perplexity, and Together.

An inspiring fact: More than half of new unicorns call Europe or Asia their home, continuing a trend seen since last year. This is a significant departure from the past when American companies traditionally dominated the unicorn landscape.

View the details on PitchBook.

Cover image: Unsplash

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