After a crypto-related false start, Generative AI seems to be the best candidate to follow software in eating the world. Investors and social media have gone wild for this new class of machine learning models. Advances in the technology, as well as investor hype, have led to a whole new wave of startups being built, and existing ones leveraging the tech for existing products.
So who are the European companies building with generative AI? Sifted drew on global data sets from Antler and NFX, as well our own sources, to build a list of 135 companies in the generative AI space in Europe (we’re aware that the list will not be fully comprehensive, so please get in touch if you’re building with generative AI and aren’t featured).
Which country has the most generative AI startups?
The UK was by far the best represented in terms of generative AI startups, with 50 companies working in the space, compared to second-place Germany, with 17.
The market by subsector
In terms of the areas that generative AI startups are working in, text generation has seen the biggest explosion of companies working with the tech, with audio and image generation close behind.
The best funded generative AI startups in Europe
Here are the six startups that have raised the most capital so far.
InstaDeep (acquired by BioNTech)
InstaDeep — a London-based company delivering AI systems for enterprise clients — was acquired by the Germany-based Covid vaccine producer BioNTech in a deal worth £562m. Founded in 2014, the company had previously raised more than $107m to scale its technology, which will now be put to work by BioNTech to help discover new drugs, as well as develop personalised cancer treatments. The buyout follows a multi-year partnership between the two companies, with InstaDeep developing an early warning system to detect new SARS viruses.
Outside of pharma, the company has sold AI-powered systems to clients in the logistics, manufacturing and energy sectors.
London-based StabilityAI raised $101m in a single round in October last year, as it burst into the public consciousness via its image generation tool StableDiffusion (a competitor to Silicon Valley-based OpenAI’s DALL-E).
In an interview with Sifted, former hedge fund manager and Stabilty AI cofounder Emad Mostaque said that he believes his company’s open source approach will lead to wider penetration of its AI-powered tools, as they’ll be more customisable and localisable. He also said that the company’s three main focuses are media, education and gaming, and that Stability AI has already signed deals with a number of major entertainment companies, including an announced partnership with Indian Bollywood giant Eros.
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Based in London, PolyAI creates AI-powered, "human-like" voice assistants for customer service teams. The company's raised $68.4m to date and has clients like Starling Bank, Metro Bank and Greene King using its tech. When it raised a $40m round in September 2022 the company told TechCrunch it was benefitting from low unemployment and big labour shortages in the customer service sector.
Amsterdam-based Creative Fabrica launched in 2016 and this year raised $61m to scale its marketplace for on-demand graphics, fonts, posters and needlework patterns. The company’s generative AI tool lets creators make images and graphics based on text prompts.
Creative Fabrica has already been used by 4m people, with 150k paying for its subscription service. The founders told Sifted that its easy-to-use AI tool lets anyone become a creator, and that it’s “always been focused on building accessible content and tools”.
Stockholm-based Sana Labs was founded in 2016 and develops AI-powered tools to let businesses easily find, share and repurpose information from their own organisation, using OpenAI’s GPT API. It’s raised $54.6m to date and its clients include healtech company Kry, BNPL scaleup Klarna and Pharma giant Merck, which mostly use the tool for online training.
The tech was also used by more than 2,000 hospitals during the pandemic, to help deliver personalised training for healthcare workers on the treatment and prevention of Covid-19.
This AI-powered video maker lets users create talking head videos with text inputs and a short sample video of an actor. Headquartered in London, the company raised $50m in December 2021 and counts companies like Reuters, Accenture, Amazon and the BBC among its clients. Use cases include making training content for staff, as well as turning PowerPoint presentations into video.