Generative AI Investment and M&A Tracker

The striking rise of ChatGPT, the chatbot that OpenAI launched in November 2022, along with increased interest in image generators (like DALL-E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion), music/sound generators, and code generators, generative artificial intelligence (“AI”) has taken the tech world by storm. Not limited to having an impact in Silicon Valley, alone, generative AI – which is a type of AI technology that is trained to produce various types of content, including text, imagery, audio, and synthetic data, in response to user prompts – is bringing with it the potential “to change how everything from the written word to art is created,” as Axios put it not too long ago. It is also raising some interesting and nuanced questions in the legal realm, including in terms of authorship/ownership and infringement.

Against this background (and in light of reportedly waning interest in/slowing spending for web3 endeavors), a flurry of funding and acquisition activity is coming to the generative AI space. In addition to tech titans – like Microsoft (which invested $10 billion in ChatGPT developer OpenAI in January) and Google (which backed ChatGPT rival Anthropic with a nearly $400 million investment in February) – pouring money into AI, venture firms have increased their investments in generative AI by 425 percent since 2020 to $2.1 billion, according to Pitchbook’s calculations.

In order to get a handle on what generative AI ventures are garnering the most traction – and funding – and to take the temperature of this space more broadly (and what it means for players in the fashion/retail space), we have compiled a (running) tracker of generative AI-specific funding and M&A. Among the firms on our list are those that focus on using generative AI to compile/analyze environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) data for companies, for instance; those that are looking to bring generative AI to the legal sector; and ones that are angling to deploy solutions to companies’ complex supply chains using AI …

Mar. 1, 2023 – ESG Data Startup SESAMm Raises $37M in Series B2 Round

SESAMm has raised €35 million ($37 million) in a Series B2 round co-led by Elaia and Opera Tech Ventures, the venture capital arm of BNP Paribas. A leader in natural language processing, which is a field of AI, SESAMm enables companies to track relevant ESG data by “generating insights for controversy detection on investments, clients and suppliers, ESG, and positive impact scores, among others.” The new funding will enable SESAMm to “further expand into U.S. and Asian markets, support technology development to generate AI-powered ESG and sentiment analytics, and hire key talent across sustainability, technology, sales, and marketing.” This round brings SESAMm total funding since mid-2016 to approximately €50 million.

Mar. 1, 2023 – AI Supply Chain Solutions Provider Transmetrics Raises €2.5M

Transmetrics has raised €2.5M in funding in a round co-led by European Innovation Council Fund and Impetus Capital. The Sofia, Bulgaria-based platform provides AI solutions for the supply chain industry, namely, helping to optimize transport planning by leveraging the power of predictive analytics and machine learning, addressing extreme inefficiencies in logistics. 

Feb. 28, 2023 – Text-to-Video Startup Colossyan Raises $5M in Series A

London-based generative AI startup Colossyan has raised $5 million in a Series A funding round. The startup – which turns text prompts into training videos – uses generative AI to enable companies to quickly produce training videos by replacing human presenters with a realistic computer-generated presenter. So far, Colossyan counts BMW, HP, and Procter & Gamble as clients. It plans to use the new cash to “enhance the core functionality of our product and add new features, such as our recently launched AI Script Assistant powered by GPT-3,” according to Colossyan CEO Dominik Kovacs.

Feb. 27, 2023 – Law-Focused Startup Robin AI Raises $10.5M in Series A

Robin AI, a startup that is bringing generative AI to the legal sector, has secured $10.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Plural with participation from Episode 1 and angels, including Tom Blomfield. The 3-year-old startup uses a machine-learning model to scour 4.5 million legal documents to suggest drafts and edits for contracts. The funding will enable Robin AI to “further develop our tech team and has enabled us to acquire a cohort of customers from LawGeex, whose customers include UBS, PWC, eBay, and Pepsi,” said founder and CEO Richard Robinson.

Feb. 27, 2023 – Enterprise Content Co. Typeface Launches with $65M in Backing

Typeface has formally launched with $65 million in funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Menlo Ventures, M12 (Microsoft’s venture fund), and Google Ventures. The San Francisco-based generative AI startup boasts a platform that is tailored specifically for “enterprise content creation,” enabling companies to create “product shots, blog posts, social media ads and job posts” customized to their brand specifications, and to tailor their marketing to niche audiences.

Feb. 23, 2023 – Personalized Email Co. Autobound Raises $4M

Autobound raised $4 million in funding in a round led by Dundee VC. The San Francisco-based company enables users of its chrome extension to “automate the tedious workflow of writing personalized sales emails.” Autobound’s AI “suggests hyper-personalized content to the specific individual you’re reaching out to. Think ChatGPT, but for sales emails. We’re making it simple for any seller to write an A+ sales email instantly, so they can focus on revenue-producing activities like actually talking to buyers.” says CEO Daniel Wiener. The company will use the funding to “accelerate product development and to scale their marketing, design, and machine learning functions.”

Feb. 16, 2023 – Natural Language Platform Kern AI Raises $2.9M

Kern AI has raised €2.7 million ($2.9 million) in seed funding to build out its natural language processing platform, which has already been adopted by clients, such as insurance companies Barmenia and VHV Versicherungen, logistics firms such as Metro Supply Chain Group subsidiary Evolution Time Critical, and venture-backed startups such as The company revealed that its open-source software has been used at companies, such as Samsung and DocuSign.

Feb. 7, 2023 – AI Video Generator GlossAi Raises $8M Seed Round

GlossAi has closed an $8 million seed round led by New Era Capital Partners with participation by Guidestar ventures, 97212 Ventures, MindCET Ventures, and Ginossar Ventures, among others. The company – which developed an AI-driven video generator that enables users to rapidly create multi-audience content at scale using generative AI capabilities – says that the new funds will allow it to further expand its global presence and develop increasingly advanced AI capabilities for its platform. “We’re allowing organizations to be omnipresent, generating targeted content at scale with fewer resources,” said GlossAi co-founder and CEO Ofer Familier. “Our customers are seeing a 30-40% uptick in engagement with up to 70-80% cost reduction. Based on the creative ways our enterprise customers are using our technology, we see webinars with their own trailers, podcasts promoted on TikTok, eBooks created from classes, and more.”

Feb. 6, 2023 – AI-for-Video Games Co. Latent Tech Raises $2.1M in Pre-Seed

Latent Technology has raised $2.1 million in pre-seed funding led by Root Ventures and Spark Capital, with participant from Bitkraft. The UK-based startup “uses machine learning (specifically, reinforcement learning) trained on motion capture data to enable video game characters to react to virtual anything that happens in a game,” per Axios. The company will use the new cash to scale its team and develop the first version of its product.

Jan. 19, 2023 – Scenario Raises $6M in Seed Round

Scenario, a company that uses AI to enable users “to create their own image generators trained on the specific style of their games,” has raised $6 million in a seed round led by Play Ventures, with participation from Anorak Ventures, Founders, Inc., The VR Fund, Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe, Twitch founder Justin Kan, and Hugging Face founders Clem Delangue and Julien Chaumont. “Using Scenario, game developers – regardless of the level of technical expertise – can create dozens or hundreds of custom generators capable of producing entirely new game assets that are perfectly style-consistent with a given style or art direction,” Scenario co-founder Emmanuel de Maistre told TechCrunch.

Nov. 29, 2022 – Retail-Focused AI Startup Netail Raises $5M in Seed

Netail closed $5 million seed round co-led by Magarac Venture Partners and Dr. Andrew Ng’s AI Fund, with participation from HKSTP Ventures. With retailers struggling to adapt to changing consumer purchasing behavior, Netail says “real-time data and decision-making are essential for retailers to better understand how products are positioned.” The Pittsburgh-based company’s AI-driven tech enables retailers to “auto-identify competitors across the internet and track their assortments, availability and optimize prices in real time.”