Character AI Raises $150M at $1B Valuation for Conversational Generative AI Platform
Generative AI chatbot startup Character.AI has closed a $150 million Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The new investment turns Character AI and its large language model-powered generative AI chatbot platform into a unicorn and potential rival for OpenAI’s ChatGPT despite it still being in beta and lacking a revenue source.
Character AI hosts a conversational generative AI hub with chatbots mimicking a wide variety of real and fictional personalities as famous or personal as the designer chooses. The LLM filtered through that personality can then help users with specific services or general assistance depending on their choices. Character AI plans to invest in its core technology with the new capital, preparing to officially launch after coming out as a beta in September, a year after AI researchers Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas founded the company. Since then, the startup claims to have seen almost 100 million visits in two months, interacting with more than 2.7 million characters for an average of over two hours a day. The startup began by releasing a preview of the next iteration of its AI, called C1.2, which it claims is better at providing information, entertainment, and even sympathy.
“Daniel and I are pleased that a world class group of investors, led by the amazing team at a16z, believes in the remarkable advancements we’re making in AI, the company we’re building, and the value we can deliver to society and investors. We are gratified they recognize our ability to revolutionize AI and improve the way people live,” Shazeer said. “Character.AI’s power is our highly-sophisticated language model, which rapidly analyzes and contextualizes large volumes of information to produce useful intelligence tailored to each individual, making it a personalized superintelligence companion that enhances productivity, offers advice, educates, and entertains. The potential use cases are infinite.”