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Character.AI, a16z-backed chatbot startup, hits 1.7M installs in first week

In its first six days, industry leader OpenAI’s ChatGPT smartphone app had over half a million downloads. Character, an a16z-backed AI app, is claiming launch success.AI app claims 1.7 million installs in less than a week. The AI app company, which raised $150 million in Series A funding earlier this year, lets users create their own avatars and customize AI companions with various personalities.

While there are several AI character generators in app stores, interest in Character.Founders shaped AI. Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, AI scientists who led a Google team that developed LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications), founded the Palo Alto firm.

The Wall Street Journal stated that Google’s founders were dissatisfied by the company’s reluctance to release AI chatbots to researchers and the public, even through Assistant integrations. Despite CEO Sundar Pichai’s requests to stay and develop LaMDA, the couple left Google in late 2021, believing AI will change search and other sectors. Shazeer and De Freitas formed Character Technologies, now Character, that November.AI.

On May 23, the mobile AI chatbot platform launched globally to iOS and Android users, with a strong showing on Google Play. The app had 700,000 Android installs in its first 48 hours, surpassing Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video. The company told that installs in large Android markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil are continuing that pace after the launch. The business says the U.S. leads Android downloads.

The web experience’s prominence increased mobile app interest. Character before the app launches. AI online app Character has 200 million monthly visits. AI estimates consumers spent 29 minutes per visit, 300% more than ChatGPT.

Character too. AI says people are engaged after initial use. This month, the business said that users spend more than two hours on the platform after sending their first message to a character. The company said users had generated over 10 million bespoke AI characters.

This month, the 30-person team released c.ai+, a subscription service with similar benefits to ChatGPT Plus, including faster response times, access during high usage, and early access to new features. It also formed a strategic agreement with Google Cloud for AI model development. The startup will use Google Cloud’s tensor processing units to train and infer LLMs faster and more efficiently.

Character is honest about its download numbers, unlike some firms. AI’s numbers seem accurate. Data.ai compared characters. Estimates and statistics from AI.ai reported greater app downloads. (Since the apps are new, third-party estimates may not be realistic, but they do show initial user interest.)

ChatGPT remains No. 3 on the U.S. top free apps chart, but Character. Post-launch, AI demand has decreased. The iOS app ranks No. 13 in the U.S. App Store’s Entertainment category. The app was No. 4 on U.S. iOS for two days before dropping to No. 89. Data.ai said it hit No. 5 on U.S. Android on May 27 but plummeted to No. 27 today.

Character. AI denies spending any of its massive marketing budget on initial installs. The firm said 99% of app downloads were organic.


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