You probably don't know Schwarz Group, the German group which has an annual turnover of 154 billion euros and employs 575,000 people. But you have obviously heard of Lidl, its chain of hard discount stores. And in fact, this retail giant has decided to invest in the German startup Aleph Alpha alongside other partners, including Bosch, Hewlett Packard, and venture capital companies. Enough to grant this company the tidy sum of 500 million euros.
A very ambitious AI startup
Launched in 2019, this company is positioned in the generative AI market, a sector very crowded by American tech giants, but where it hopes to find a place. According to the Financial Times, it focuses in particular on products focused on data protection and security for customers concerned about these subjects, notably in law enforcement and health care .
Quoted by our colleagues, Andre Retterath, partner of the venture capital company Earlybird and member of the board of directors of Aleph Alpha, underlines: “< em>Money is necessary, but not sufficient.” This windfall will, however, give the startup serious advantages, including “access to computing, access to talent and distribution on the market”.
For his part, Jonas Andrulis, CEO and founder of Aleph Alpha, affirmed that the company“will continue to expand its offering while maintaining independence and flexibility for customers across infrastructure, cloud compatibility, on-premises support and hybrid configurations”. Jargon which underlines the extent to which the startup targets the professional market and not that of individuals.
The company, which today has 70 employees, intends to move up a gear, and we can understand it . A merciless battle is underway in the AI market, and it is over the next 12 or 24 months that many companies will test and select the products they will use in the years to come.
Finally, we can recall that on the European market, other players are already positioned, and this is the case of Mistral AI, the tricolor nugget. We spoke to you in particular last spring about this fundraising of 100 million euros that it was preparing to carry out.
We find big names in AI at the helm of this company, and in particular its founder is Arthur Mensch, an expert in language models who spent three years at Google developing DeepMind.