Bpifrance supports French companies in the Artificial Intelligence revolution

Bpifrance supports French companies in the Artificial Intelligence revolution. Paris, June 14th 2023 - Present at the Viva Technology trade fair and a pioneer in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI) through its investments via its Digital Venture fund since 2015, Bpifrance is today stepping up its support for the emergence of Generative Artificial Intelligence

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As announced by the French President at VivaTech, Bpifrance is mobilising €50 million to accelerate the launch of start-ups specialising in Generative AI. In recent months, the field of AI has seen major advances thanks to the growing emergence of generative AI. This advance is set to have a profound impact on all business functions, in all sectors, and on business models, by offering new possibilities for searching and analysing data, automating processes, and creating personalised content. According to the latest PitchBook report, venture capital (VC) funds have increased their investments in AI by a factor of 5 between 2018 and 2022.

Generative AI Innovation made possible thanks to Million euros fundings

As early as 2015, Bpifrance spotted the potential of AI and made its first investments in the field, via its Digital Venture fund, which acquired stakes in Cardiologs, then Gleamer, Kiro, Primaa, Mindee and AIVerse, its Innovation Defense fund, which acquired stakes in Preligens and XXII, and its Large Venture fund, which acquired stakes in Aqemia and Owkin.

It recently made its first major investment in generative AI by participating in the €100 million fund-raising of Mistral AI, one of the largest in Europe. This project, which aims to build an alternative to OpenAI’s GPT model, is led by Arthur Mensch, Thimothée Lacroix and Guillaume Lample, three French engineers with solid experience in the field, acquired in American technology companies such as Google and Meta.

To better support this major trend in generative AI, Bpifrance is today dedicating a €50 million envelope to seed investment in this technology. Investments will focus on cutting-edge technologies and emerging innovations capable of disrupting existing industries. These investments, made at the seed stage, i.e. the very early stages of funding, will target start-ups exploring and developing advances in the field of generative AI, including algorithms, models and practical applications. The Digital Venture team will be at the forefront of deploying this new envelope, which will increase the investment capacity of the Digital Venture fund. Other Bpifrance teams will also be mobilised, in particular those in charge of the culture and creative sectors, defense, as well as biotech and digital health.

Booster Program to Drive Artificial Intelligence Adoption in French SMEs

Véronique Jacq, Director of Digital Venture at Bpifrance, said: « Our team has demonstrated in the past its ability to make bold bets on emerging technologies. It’s up to us, along with the other teams at Bpifrance, to take up the challenge of generative artificial intelligence and support French players capable of using this new technology to create solutions tailored to the challenges facing our economy and our society. » As part of the government’s France 2030 Acceleration Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, Bpifrance is launching the AI Booster program alongside the General Business Directorate and the General Secretariat for Investment. Artificial Intelligence is also at the heart of the new AI Booster France 2030 support program, which aims to improve the competitiveness of French SMEs and STIs and modernise their production systems by integrating Artificial Intelligence solutions. Deployed by the Direction Générale des Entreprises, this program will be operated by Bpifrance, in coordination with local partners and schemes.

With a budget of €25 million, the AI Booster program is aimed at French SMEs and SMBs in all business sectors, with priority given to companies with between 10 and 2,000 employees and sales of over €250k. The program will provide almost 800 support services, dedicated to raising awareness among managers and their teams, identifying the best AI solutions for the use cases worked on with the company and testing their deployment. Provided they are eligible for the program, companies will be able to benefit from partial coverage of the cost of the service in question.

Nicolas Dufourcq, Chief Executive Officer of Bpifrance, comments: « Generative artificial intelligence is a real revolution. It will affect a huge number of businesses and professions. Bpifrance has a duty to be at the forefront of this new technological wave to help French businesses cope wit