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Funding highlights: December 1 to December 7

Here’s a recap of recent funding developments from Australia, India, the US and beyond.

Leonardo.Ai raises $47 million to empower creativity with AI

Australian GenAI startup, Leonardo.Ai, has successfully raised AUD$47 million (USD$31 million) from investors such as Blackbird, Side Stage Ventures, Smash Capital, TIRTA Ventures, Gaorong Capital, and Samsung Next.

The platform has gained significant traction, boasting 7 million users worldwide who generate 4.5 million images daily, accumulating over 700 million images in total within just a year.

Arkeus secures $4.45 million to scale real-time, AI-powered search

Australian optical autonomy company Arkeus has raised AUD $4.45 million in seed funding to scale manufacturing and enhance its core product suite, the Hyperspectral Optical Radar (HS-OR). The funding round was led by Main Sequence, with participation from Steve Baxter from Beaten Zone Venture Partners and Salus Ventures. Arkeus focuses on AI-powered hardware for autonomous drones and aircraft, providing customers with real-time environmental insights.

Vantari VR raises $7 million to reduce medical error globally

Vantari VR, headquartered in Sydney and Seattle, has secured AUD $7 million in a Pre-Series A capital raise to expand its mission of eliminating medical error and democratizing healthcare training. Led by Co:Act Capital, the funding will support Vantari VR’s expansion into more healthcare organizations globally. The company stands out for its ‘mediverse,’ offering a virtual hospital in the metaverse through a procedural training platform featuring real-world physics and dynamic imaging.

Elon Musk’s startup xAI seeks up to $1 billion in investments

Elon Musk’s startup xAI, focused on artificial intelligence, has filed paperwork with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, aiming to raise up to $1 billion through an equity offering. According to the filing, the company has already secured $134.7 million in equity financing out of the total offering pool. xAI is making significant strides in the AI space under Elon Musk’s leadership.

Sarvam AI, Indian Startup in GenAI, secures $41 million funding

Sarvam AI, based in Bengaluru and specializing in generative artificial intelligence (GenAI), has successfully raised $41 million in Series A funding, with Lightspeed Venture Partners leading the investment. The funding round also saw the participation of Peak XV Partners (formerly Sequoia India and Southeast Asia) and Khosla Ventures.

The startup plans to utilize the newly acquired capital to develop a comprehensive stack for GenAI. This includes research-driven innovations in custom AI model training, as well as the creation of an enterprise-grade platform for authoring and deployment.

YC-Backed Fintech Bujeti raises $2 million

Bujeti, an African corporate cards and spend management platform backed by Y Combinator (YC), has secured $2 million in seed funding. The fintech startup, which plays a crucial role in how African businesses, including SMBs, startups, and enterprises, manage their finances, attracted investment from lead investor Y Combinator, along with other backers such as Entrée Capital, Voltron Capital, Unpopular VC, Kima Ventures, Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi, Alan Rutledge, Tristan Walker of Heirloom VC, and Mono CEO Abdul Hassan.

Global startups raise $19.2 billion in VC funding in November

In November, global startups secured a total of $19.2 billion in venture capital funding. While this represents a significant drop of two-thirds compared to the record high set in November 2021, early-stage startups experienced the most substantial decline at 34% YoY. Seed and late-stage funding saw more modest decreases of 15% and 7% YoY, respectively. U.S. startups accounted for less than 50% of the total global funding, ending the month with $9 billion.

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