Google DeepMind scientists are reportedly talking about leaving and founding an AI startup
January 21, 2024

Google DeepMind scientists are reportedly talking about leaving and founding an AI startup

Leading scientists from DeepMind-a they held talks with potential investors about financing theirs AI startup companies that can exceed 200 million euros.

Two scientists in Google DeepMindto the department for artificial intelligence of Alphabet, are talking to investors about founding an artificial intelligence startup in Paris, according to people familiar with the talks. The team has been talking to potential investors about a funding round that could exceed 200 million euros, a large sum even for the popular field of artificial intelligence, sources said.

Laurent Sifre, who worked as a scientist at DeepMind, is in talks to start the company, currently known as Holistic, with his colleague Karl Tuyls, also a DeepMind scientist, the people said, speaking on condition of anonymity to protect their privacy. They claim that this entrepreneurial association could be aimed at developing a completely new model of artificial intelligence.

DeepMind declined to comment

Sifre and Tuyls did not respond to multiple requests for comment, while a representative of DeepMind declined to comment on the startup’s plans. A person familiar with the situation claims that both have resigned from the company, but wishes to remain anonymous because the information is private.

Sifre is a co-author of the research on Fr the 2016 Go game, a paper that became pivotal because it showed a computer system defeating the masters of this ancient game for the first time, sparking an international craze for artificial intelligence. Tuyls has worked on game theory research and multimodal learning, a branch of artificial intelligence that studies interactions between autonomous actors, often through video games.

Both Sifre and Tuyls are considered leaders in their field, and talks of an unusually large funding round are further evidence of strong investor interest in this technology. This is particularly visible in France, where investors have been eager to invest in startups emerging from Parisian universities and from the artificial intelligence centers of Silicon Valley firms.

Mistral AI, an OpenAI rival whose CEO also worked for DeepMind, was founded in early 2023 and by the end of the year had attracted two significant rounds of funding, reaching a valuation of around $2 billion. Kyutai, a non-profit research laboratory for artificial intelligence, was formed in November with an initial funding of 300 million euros.

The new French startup being discussed is different from Holistic AI, a software company based in London.