As we enter the halfway point of 2024, AI has continued to see rapid adoption. From the advanced virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa found in our homes, to the technology’s increasing usage in customer service and data management, its influence is ubiquitous.

Research and analysis company GlobalData forecasts that the overall AI market will be worth $909bn by 2030, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 35% between 2022 and 2030.

In the GenAI space, revenues are expected to grow from $1.8bn in 2022 to $33bn in 2027 at a CAGR of 80%.

It is perhaps no surprise then that Big Tech has continued to bet billions on AI and GenAI in 2024. The world is seeing more AI startups than ever before, fuelled by funding from giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple.

Here are the five highest-valued AI deals in 2024, so far.

CoreWeave Secures $1.1bn in Series C Financing

On 1 May, CoreWeave, a specalised cloud provider for AI, announced it had secured $1.1bn in new funding, led by Coatue.

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The new funding will support rapid growth across all business areas, as well as aid CoreWeave’s expansion into new geographic regions to meet the growing global demand for GPU-accelerated cloud infrastructure.

“CoreWeave continues to push forward as a provider of critical infrastructure in the development of AI, and the high calibre of investors who continue putting their trust in us validates the enormous opportunity we have to define the next generation of cloud computing,” said Mike Intrator, co-founder and CEO of CoreWeave. 

CoreWeave is designed specifically to tackle the most complex and pressing challenges in high-performance compute,” he added. “With this new round, we will continue investing in and working with the largest AI enterprises in the world.”

Wayve Technologies secures $1.05bn in Series C Venture Financing

On 7 May, UK-based autonomous vehicle (AV) technology startup Wayve announced that it had raised $1.05bn in a funding round led by SoftBank Group

The funding will be used to boost the development of its Embodied AI technology, which Wayve has claimed can learn from human behaviour. 

The Series C funding round also included NVIDIA as a new investor and returning investor Microsoft

Wayve’s latest funding efforts bring its total raised to over $1.3bn, the largest of any UK AI-focused startup. 

The funding will support Wayve in fully developing and launching its first Embodied AI products for production vehicles. 

As Wayve’s core AI model advances beyond 2024, these products will enable original equipment manufacturers to efficiently upgrade cars to higher levels of driving automation, from level 2 assisted driving to level 4 automated driving, according to the company. 

The UK unicorn, founded in 2017, said its AI autonomous driving technology will eventually allow vehicles to “navigate situations that do not follow strict patterns or rules, such as unexpected actions by drivers, pedestrians, or environmental elements.”

In an interview with Reuters, Wayve CEO Alex Kendall said: “This will enable automakers and fleets to accelerate their transition from assisted to autonomous driving.”

Chinese startup Moonshot AI raises $1bn in funding round led by Alibaba

On 20 February, Chinese AI startup Moonshot AI raised over $1bn in a new funding round led by Alibaba Group, the world’s largest e-commerce company, and venture capital firm HongShan. 

Beijing-based Moonshot AI, which uses AI to provide solutions for e-commerce businesses, was valued at $2.5bn in its latest funding round.

The company released its chatbot Kimi Chat in October 2023, built from its Moonshot large language model. Moonshot said the chatbot can process up to 200,000 Chinese characters during a conversation with a user. 

Moonshot AI’s latest funding marks the largest single financing round by a Chinese AI startup since generative AI became widely adopted after OpenAI’s ChatGPT launch in 2022.

Figure AI secures $675m in Series B Funding

On 29 February, Figure, an AI robotics company developing general-purpose humanoid robots, announced that it had raised $675M in Series B funding at a $2.6bn valuation with investments from Microsoft, OpenAI Startup Fund, Nvidia and Jeff Bezos. 

In conjunction with this investment, Figure and OpenAI entered into a collaboration agreement to develop next-generation AI models for humanoid robots. 

The partnership will see OpenAI’s research with Figure’s deep understanding of robotics hardware and software. 

The collaboration aims to help accelerate Figure’s commercial timeline by enhancing humanoid robots’ capabilities to process and reason from language.

“We’ve always planned to come back to robotics and we see a path with Figure to explore what humanoid robots can achieve when powered by highly capable multimodal models. We’re blown away by Figure’s progress to date and we look forward to working together to open up new possibilities for how robots can help in everyday life,” said Peter Welinder, VP of Product and Partnerships at OpenAI.

MiniMax Secures $600m in Series B Venture Funding

On 5 March, China-based AI startup MiniMax secured $600m in Series B funding led by Alibaba

The funding comes as Alibaba joined other big tech players in betting big on GenAI. It is the second big deal in the industry that Alibaba led on, following its large investment in Moonshot. 

Alibaba’s backing helped the ai startup establish its credentials alongside more high profile companies. Other investors included Tencent Holdings, IDG Capital and Hillhouse.

MiniMax competes with Moonshot in developing ChatGPT-like services. It focuses on AI technology for social connections and interaction and converts text into visual, audio, and text-to-text modes for free chat and plot tasks.