Mistral AI, Anthropic CEOs are the new tech rockstars in AI boom


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French founder of artificial intelligence start-up Mistral AI, Arthur Mensch attends the Viva Technology show at Parc des Expositions Porte de Versailles on May 22, 2024 in Paris, France.

Chesnot | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

PARIS — It’s not unusual for well-known technology CEOs to be mobbed by fans or start-up founders looking to make connections at industry conferences around the world.

But it wasn’t the high-profile names getting swarmed. Instead, it was the founders of some of the world’s hottest and newest artificial intelligence startups getting all the attention — and trying to bat it away.

VivaTech, one of Europe’s biggest tech shows, enjoyed the attendance of Arthur Mensch, the co-founder and CEO of Mistral AI and Anthropic CEO Dario Amodei.

Just over a year old, Mistral AI is a French startup that has raised hundreds of millions of dollars and the backing of Microsoft. The company is valued at $2 billion, but several recent reports suggest that it is seeking more funding at a $6 billion valuation. The astronomical rise of Mistral AI, which develops AI models much like OpenAI, has put the spotlight on its CEO Mensch.

After he finished his panel on the official VivaTech stage in front of an audience on Wednesday, he was quickly whisked out of the waiting room for speakers and into a meeting room next door. The speakers’ room is in an exclusive and limited-access part of the VivaTech event called the Viva Lounge.

Once his meeting had finished, Mensch was very quickly spirited out of the venue by his two associates, who ran through the back exit. It appeared as if Mensch’s colleagues did not want him to be mobbed by press or other startup representatives. One person very briefly managed to engage Mensch with a handshake.

Anthropic’s Amodei also garnered a lot of attention. As soon as his on-stage VivaTech session ended on Wednesday, he exited the Viva Lounge and was greeted by a mass of people, as well as numerous cameras — most likely belonging to media.

Amazon has invested around $4 billion into Anthropic, which was only founded in 2021.

Both Mistral AI and Anthropic are emblematic of the way in which AI firms are seemingly thrust into the spotlight overnight, thanks to the massive investments from prominent industry giants and the hype around the technology.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, for example, has become a much better known figure, as his firm grows at an astonishing pace and its share price continues its rampant rally.



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