Venture Capital

Andreessen Horowitz Leads $150 Million Series A in Character.AI

PALO ALTO — Character.AI has closed a $150 million Series A fundraising round at a $1 billion valuation led by Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) with participation from previous investors, including Nat Friedman (former GitHub CEO), Elad Gil, SV Angel and A Capital. Andreessen Horowitz General Partner Sarah Wang will join Character.AI’s board of directors.

The funds will help Character.AI to expand its computing abilities resulting in a more sophisticated model with advanced reasoning and greater accuracy, delivering new features and capabilities to users, and expanding its engineering team.

Founded in 2021 by AI and large language model pioneers Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, Character.AI is at the forefront of critical conversational AI technology that inspires imagination, discovery, and understanding to help people live their best lives, from making everyday tasks easier to solving complex societal issues.

Character.AI offers users the ability to create a fully-customizable and personalized AI companion with a distinct personality and values. Whether a user is seeking a sympathetic ear or an analytical problem-solver, there’s an AI at Character.AI to meet the unique needs of every person. For those less interested in complete personalization, the growing community of creators at Character.AI have developed millions of AI characters for people to connect and use.

“Daniel and I are pleased that a world class group of investors, led by the amazing team at a16z, believes in the remarkable advancements we’re making in AI, the company we’re building, and the value we can deliver to society and investors. We are gratified they recognize our ability to revolutionize AI and improve the way people live,” said Shazeer. “Character.AI’s power is our highly-sophisticated language model, which rapidly analyzes and contextualizes large volumes of information to produce useful intelligence tailored to each individual, making it a personalized superintelligence companion that enhances productivity, offers advice, educates, and entertains. The potential use cases are infinite.”

Since the platform’s beta launch in September 2022, Character.AI says it has experienced rapid growth, including:

  • Nearing 100 million monthly site visits, a four-fold increase in two months.
  • An average time on site of more than two hours per day for users who send a message.
  • More than two billion messages sent by users since launch. The first one billion user messages were sent in the span of four months. The second billion user messages have been sent in the past one month.
  • Users have created more than 2.7 million characters. The platform launched with fewer than 100.
  • Character.AI is now ranked in the top 400 websites globally based on monthly visits according to Similarweb rankings.