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Eye On AI: Huge AI Valuation Jumps Are Here Again

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This column is a look back at the week that was in AI. Read the previous one here.

Here we go again with valuations in the AI startup space.

While the first quarter saw only a single $1 billion round and a few big valuation jumps, this month has certainly brought both back to the forefront and shown that investors are still willing to say yes to a deal no matter the cost.

Just a few weeks ago, AI cloud infrastructure startup CoreWeave locked up a $1.1 billion round led by Coatue that values the company at $19 billion, per The Wall Street Journal.

The new value represented an almost threefold increase from the company’s valuation just five months ago, when it was valued at $7 billion following a secondary sale, and nearly a 10x jump from its $2 billion valuation in a Series B extension last May.

Then last week it was reported that Paris-based Mistral AI — a competitor to OpenAI and Anthropic — was closing in on a round of about $600 million from existing investors General Catalyst and Lightspeed Venture Partners that would value it at $6 billion.

That’s triple what Mistral’s value was just last December when it raised approximately $415 million at a $2 billion valuation, per a Bloomberg report.

Finally, reports have swirled in recent weeks, including one from Bloomberg, that Elon Musk’s generative AI startup, xAI, is closing in on a $6 billion funding round from the likes of Sequoia Capital and others that would value it at $18 billion pre-money.

Musk’s startup is only 10 months old and reportedly was originally seeking around $3 billion at a $15 billion pre-money valuation, but bumped that up due to intense investor interest.

This is no commentary on the quality of any of those companies, but when a startup can see a 10x jump in valuation in a year, or a 3x pop in about five months, it may make some quickly grab a calendar to see if this is 2020 or 2021.

It also should make some question if we truly have learned from all the mistakes investors made in that time.

Things that caught our eye and other stuff:

  • This may not be pure AI, but Sam Altman made another interesting investment this week. The OpenAI co-founder — who is also an active investor in other companies— backed robocar network startup Glydways through his Apollo Projects firm. Joining Altman in the round was Japanese automaker giant Suzuki Motor. The South San Francisco-based autonomous vehicle and infrastructure developer raised a total $76 million. The round values Glydways at $350 million to $400 million, per Bloomberg.
  • Healthcare continues to see its share of AI startups. This week, New York-based SmarterDx raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Transformation Capital. The startup uses AI to understand patients’ clinical journeys and help hospitals process claims correctly in a more rapid fashion. Founded in 2020, SmarterDx has raised $71 million to date, per the company.

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Illustration: Dom Guzman


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