Researchers at Google DeepMind are reportedly in discussions to leave and launch their own AI startup.

Two researchers affiliated with a technology giant’s artificial intelligence arm are reportedly in discussions with potential investors about establishing an AI startup in Paris, sources familiar with the matter revealed. The team, associated with Alphabet’s DeepMind, has engaged in talks regarding a funding round that could surpass EUR 200 million. Laurent Sifre and Karl Tuyls, both DeepMind scientists, are considering the formation of the startup, tentatively named Holistic, with a focus on developing a novel AI model.

Despite multiple attempts, Sifre and Tuyls have not responded to requests for comments. DeepMind has chosen not to comment on the startup plans. Sources indicate that the duo has provided notice of their departure from DeepMind, although this information is confidential.

Sifre, recognized for his role in the 2016 DeepMind research on Go, and Tuyls, known for contributions to game theory and multi-agent reinforcement learning, are seen as influential figures in the field. The substantial financing discussed underscores the heightened investor interest in AI, particularly in France, where significant funding has flowed into startups emerging from local universities and Silicon Valley AI hubs.

The significant funding rounds being contemplated suggest a robust investor appetite for technology, mirroring trends observed in other AI-focused startups. Notably, Mistral AI, a rival of OpenAI, secured substantial funding in 2023, achieving a valuation of approximately $2 billion by year-end. In a similar vein, Kyutai, a non-profit AI research lab, received an initial funding of EUR 300 million in November.

It’s crucial to note that the French startup in question is unrelated to Holistic AI, an enterprise software business based in London.

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