More show than substance? This is the accusation made by critics against the AI ​​star Aleph Alpha. The startup contradicts this – and gives details.

That was before the 500 million: Aleph Alpha founder and CEO Jonas Andrulis in 2021.
Andreas Rentz / Getty Images

The AI ​​startup Aleph Alpha is commenting on allegations that the company “inflated” its high-profile, $500 million financing round at the end of 2023. The allegations were most recently made by the business magazine Capital. According to an annual report from Aleph Alpha, only around 100 million euros had landed in the AI ​​startup's accounts by the end of 2023. Capital added that the startup had only wanted to raise 100 million euros from the start anyway, as new research had shown.

Aleph Alpha has now responded to questions from Gründerszene as to whether the remaining 400 million is tied to certain milestones that have not yet been achieved and what components the round consists of.

Aleph Alpha is expected to reach 500 million

According to the Heidelberg-based company, this is a structured financing round, with the total investment consisting of three components: real equity financing accounted for 110 million eurosfurther research funding includes 300 million euros and a component in the form of contract commitments amounted to 60 million euros.

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The total investment volume of the financing round thus amounted to 470 million euros, which corresponded to more than 500 million US dollars on the day of the signing.

300 of 500 million euros go to research subsidiary

The 300 million euros in research funding went entirely to Aleph Alpha Research, a company for application-oriented AI research and development. There are no conditions attached to it and it is not available to anyone else. The total grant will be “distributed gradually, as various stages of development are planned.”

An insider from Aleph Alpha's corporate environment wants to see last year's sales figures separated from the financing round: After the million-dollar deal in mid-November 2023, the startup only had a few weeks to use the capital it had raised. This money should have its effect in 2024.

The AI ​​startup Aleph Alpha had a turnover of less than one million euros in 2023. As the recently published annual financial statements, which Gründerszene has in its possession, show, sales revenues in the past calendar year amounted to around 945,000 euros, roughly double the previous year. The report also shows that Aleph Alpha invested heavily in personnel last year.


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