Aleph Alpha is considered a model company for AI in Germany. The latest annual report now provides insight into the startup's financial situation.

Founder and CEO of Aleph Alpha, Jonas Andrulis

The AI ​​startup Aleph Alpha generated less than one million euros in sales in 2023. As the recently published annual financial statements, which Gründerszene has obtained, show, sales revenues in the past calendar year amounted to around 945,000 euros. Although sales have more than doubled compared to the previous year (a good 426,500 euros), the sales growth is not enough to cover operating costs.

The Heidelberg-based company does not currently offer any products on the open market, but Aleph Alpha has made an AI chatbot freely available for testing. The startup focuses on AI offerings for business customers and administration and says it is working with the AI ​​research center Ipai run by Lidl owner Dieter Schwarz, who is also the main investor, as well as Bosch, PWC and two state administrations.

Aleph Alpha: Exploding costs and increasing losses

Aleph Alpha recently completed a major financing round and invested the capital last year primarily in personnel and office space, as the annual report shows. A look at the expenditure side shows the financial challenges – not unusual for a startup in this phase: Expenses for purchased services rose from 4.2 million to just over 6 million euros, while personnel costs climbed from 2.8 million to 11.3 million euros. These expenses led to an annual deficit of 18.8 million euros, more than twice the previous year's loss of 8.3 million euros.

Other operating expenses, which totaled 3.2 million euros, also contributed to the deficit. The largest items here include room costs, advertising and travel costs, as well as various operating expenses.

Aleph Alpha was founded in 2019 by Jonas Andrulis, an entrepreneur and former Apple manager. The Heidelberg-based startup says it wants to become Europe's leading platform for artificial intelligence (AI), but faces well-positioned providers such as the French startup Mistral, which is financed by Microsoft, among others.

Questions about the latest financing round

With a clear focus on research and development in the field of natural language processing and machine learning, Aleph Alpha quickly made a name for itself. The Heidelberg-based company's AI scored highly in a test against an early version of ChatGPT. However, US providers in particular have recently reported great progress in development, while in recent months various sources have expressed dissatisfaction with Aleph Alpha's AI.

As Capital and previously blogger Thomas Knüwer are now reporting, company boss Andrulis is also currently having to deal with allegations that the financing round from last autumn was inflated. In November last year, the company announced that it had raised around 500 million dollars. As the annual report now shows, however, only around 100 million had landed in the AI ​​startup's accounts by the end of 2023. Aleph Alpha was not available on Tuesday morning to answer a question from Gründerszene about whether the remaining 400 million was tied to certain milestones that had not yet been reached and what components the round consists of.


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