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OpenAI most-funded AI firm, US$14 billion raised
Company also ranks as world’s third most valuable unicorn behind ByteDance, SpaceX
The Asset 18 Apr 2024

The explosive growth of the artificial intelligence (AI) market has drawn huge attention from venture capital (VC) investors, who poured billions of dollars into AI companies and start-ups, even when most other sectors saw a considerable funding drop, but one company has stood out, OpenAI, according to a recent report.

OpenAI is the most-funded AI company in the world, with US$14 billion raised in funding rounds so far, raising more capital than all other most-funded AI companies combined, finds the report by Stocklytics.com.

The release of OpenAI`s ChatGPT marked a turning point for the AI industry. The chatbot, which became the fastest-growing app in history with 100 million users in just two months, turned AI, the report states, into one of the biggest stories in 2023 and started an AI renaissance that continued this year. So, it’s unsurprising that the ChatGPT owner, OpenAI, has drawn the most attention from VC investors.

Of the 100 most promising AI start-ups, CB Insight’s analysis shows that OpenAI raised the over US$14 billion in capital through partnerships with Microsoft and other investments, pushing valuation to a whopping US$80 billion.

This figure is even more impressive when compared with the capital raised by other most-funded AI companies. OpenAI alone raised more money, statistics show, than the seven other companies on the list, including Anthropic, Databricks and Shield AI.

Anthropic, the company behind ChatGPT competitor Claude, is in second place with US$4.2 billion raised in funding rounds, or three times less than OpenAI. The big data analysis platform Databricks ranked third with US$4 billion, followed by Shield AI’s US$1 billion. All other most-funded AI companies raised less than US$1 billion in funding rounds.

The US AI robotics company, Figure, raised US$854 million of fresh capital. Mistral AI, a French company founded just a year ago by former Meta and Google DeepMind employees, is one place behind with US$544 million raised in less than 12 months. Another two US companies, Lightmatter and Adept, follow with US$422 million and US$415 million, respectively.

Seven of the eight best-funded companies in the top 100, based on deal activity, industry partnerships, team strength, investor strength and patent activity, CB Insights data show, are based in the United States.

And with US$14 billion of fresh capital poured into its business, OpenAI has climbed to the top of the global unicorn club. Valued at US$80 billion, the ChatGPT maker is now the world’s third most valuable unicorn company in the world, the report points out, behind ByteDance and SpaceX, and ahead of Chinese e-commerce giant Shein or the US payments provider Stripe.

The AI sector, statistics show, delivered more unicorns than any other market in 2023. Last year, 95 companies joined the global unicorn list, one-fifth of which were from the AI industry. These companies have collectively added more than US$35 billion in value to the global unicorn club.

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