Character.AI: $150 Million Funding And $1 Billion Valuation

By Amit Chowdhry ● Mar 28, 2023
  • Character.AI announced recently that it closed a $150 million funding round. These are the details.

Character.AI announced it has closed a $150 million Series A fundraising round at a $1 billion valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with participation from previous investors, including Nat Friedman (former GitHub CEO), Elad Gil, SV Angel, and A Capital. Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Sarah Wang will join Character.AI’s board of directors.

The funding will enable Character.AI to continue its significant growth trajectory by expanding its computing abilities, which would drive a more sophisticated model with advanced reasoning and greater accuracy, delivering new features and capabilities to users, and expanding its engineering team.

Founded in 2021 by artificial intelligence (AI) and large language model experts Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, Character.AI is considered at the forefront of critical conversational AI technology that makes everyday tasks easier when solving complex societal issues.

Character.AI essentially offers users the ability to create a fully-customizable and personalized AI companion with a distinct personality. Whether users are seeking a sympathetic ear or an analytical problem-solver, there’s an AI at Character.AI to meet the unique needs of every person. And for those less interested in complete personalization, the growing community of creators at Character.AI have developed millions of AI characters for people to connect and use.

Since the platform launch in beta in September 2022, Character.AI experienced rapid growth, including:

— Nearing 100 million monthly site visits, which was a four-fold increase in two months.

— An average time on site of over two hours per day for users who send a message.

— Over two billion messages sent by users since launch. And the first one billion user messages were sent in the span of four months. The second billion user messages were sent in the past one month.

— Users have created over 2.7 million characters. The platform launched with fewer than 100.

— Character.AI is now placed in the top 400 websites globally based on monthly visits according to Similarweb rankings.

Character.AI also announced it released an early preview of C1.2, which is their new, smarter, more helpful model – which introduced new productivity capabilities and builds on the entertainment, roleplay and emotional support of the C1.1 model. The C1.2-powered Characters can help draft emails, assist with test prep by being a study buddy, brainstorm ideas, etc.

KEY QUOTES:

“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. 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.”

— Noam Shazeer

“For years, we’ve known the potential and power of conversational AI, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see people from around the globe use Character.AI for a huge variety of use cases. We understand the importance of providing an AI that truly feels like your own. Our world-class team of engineers continue to develop new frontiers in large language models and AI, bringing together the EQ and IQ to deliver an unparalleled and personalized experience to each user. ​​Whether you’re looking for productivity, entertainment, or a supportive friend, Character.AI is here for you, ready to assist and support you every step of the way. Character.AI is proud to be a full-stack AI company, meaning we do everything from training the language models to building the user interface. This gives Character.AI the power to create personalized experiences no other AI can match.”

— Daniel De Freitas

“Character.AI is rapidly and dramatically advancing generative AI, with the potential to transform how humans connect not just with AI, but more broadly reinvent how we interact with technology as a whole in our everyday lives. Noam and Daniel have been trailblazers in AI for nearly two decades, and we’re excited to support them in the next chapter of their journey. They’ve built a powerful platform, with an end-to-end combination of both model and application that allows Character.AI to continuously improve its product as more people create and engage with its characters.”

— Sarah Wang, General Partner at a16z