In recent years, the world of open-source AI has seen an unprecedented surge in funding and support. From startups revolutionizing natural language processing to platforms democratizing AI accessibility, the landscape is evolving at a remarkable pace. Major players in the tech industry, including Amazon, Google, and IBM, are recognizing the potential of these ventures and investing substantial amounts to propel them forward. This infusion of capital is not only indicative of the growing importance of open-source AI but also underscores the critical role it plays in shaping the future of artificial intelligence.
Let’s look at some of the funding rounds in 2023 for companies based on open-source:
1. Hugging Face
Hugging Face, an open-source AI startup, has successfully raised $235 million in funding from prominent tech giants. The company specializes in NLP models and is renowned for its widely adopted open-source library. This library has garnered substantial acclaim within the developer and researcher communities.
Participants in this funding round included Amazon.com Inc., Google LLC, IBM Corp., and Salesforce Inc., as well as Sound Ventures. Additionally, leading semiconductor companies such as Intel Corp., Nvidia Corp., Qualcomm Inc., and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. also contributed to the investment.
Together, an open-source AI startup, has secured $20 million in seed funding. This financial support will be allocated towards advancing the company’s objective of creating decentralized alternatives to closed AI systems, ultimately democratizing access to AI for all. Together envisions open source becoming the standard method for integrating AI and has already engaged in collaborations with decentralized infrastructure providers, open-source communities, and research institutions.
The company has released several generative AI projects and plans to expand its team, research, product, and infrastructure with the new funding. The goal is to provide open-source datasets, models, and research to promote data transparency and accessibility. Together also plans to improve its specialized cloud platform for training and inference of large models. Lux Capital led the funding round, with support from various venture funds and notable entrepreneurs.
3. Rocky Linux
Rocky Linux has successfully raised $26 million in Series A funding, with Two Bear Capital leading the investment round. This substantial funding will be instrumental in Rocky Linux’s strategic expansion within the enterprise sector. This comes in the wake of CIQ’s collaboration with Google Cloud to offer support for Rocky Linux issues. The project has garnered impressive traction, with monthly OS image downloads soaring to an impressive 750,000. Notably, Greg Kroah-Hartman, the maintainer of the main-line stable Linux kernel, has thrown his weight behind the project, working towards the creation of an optional enhanced kernel for Rocky Linux.
4. Invoke AI
Invoke AI, a pioneering developer of open-source GAI has secured $3.75 million in a seed funding round. Storm Ventures led this funding initiative, with significant participation from SignalFire and Universe Software. Additionally, it will facilitate the launch of an enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) platform catering to professional creative teams. Invoke AI’s core mission is to empower artists and transform the landscape of professional creativity, all while safeguarding intellectual property and models. The company is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
5. Godot Engine
The funding of Godot Engine primarily comes from multiple sources, including donations, sponsorships, and grants. The Godot community actively contributes financially to support the ongoing development and improvement of the engine. Companies that use Godot Engine often sponsor its development. Additionally, Godot Engine secures grants from governmental organizations, non-profit foundations, and institutions that support open-source software development. The funding received is crucial for the engine’s growth and improvement, allowing the development team to create a robust, feature-rich, and accessible game engine. The financial support ensures that the engine remains open-source and free for everyone to use, fostering a vibrant and inclusive community of game developers.
Deepchecks, a leading player in Machine Learning Operations (MLOps), has successfully raised $14 million in seed funding. Simultaneously, the company has unveiled an open-source platform designed for the continuous validation of machine learning (ML) models. The platform’s overarching objective is to set an industry standard for ML safety and predictability, effectively bridging the gap between research and production. To date, their tools have been downloaded over 500,000 times and are in active use by major companies including AWS, Booking, and Wix. The enterprise version boasts advanced collaboration and security features.
Ballerine, a dynamic fintech company, has secured $5 million in seed funding to advance its open-source risk decisioning platform. Ballerine’s open-source GitHub repository has attracted a global community of over 1500 developers, with many fintech enterprises incorporating its code into their production systems. The company was founded by a team boasting extensive experience in building risk infrastructure and aims to streamline the intricate task of verifying and monitoring businesses. The funding round was spearheaded by Team8, with contributions from Y Combinator and executives from various financial institutions.
The infusion of substantial funding into open-source AI startups marks a significant milestone in the evolution of artificial intelligence. These investments underscore the industry’s confidence in the potential of open-source models and libraries to drive innovation and accessibility. From natural language processing to decentralized alternatives, these startups are pushing boundaries, fostering collaboration, and democratizing AI for developers and researchers worldwide. As these ventures continue to expand and develop, we can expect to witness groundbreaking advancements that will redefine how we interact with and harness the power of artificial intelligence. The future is undoubtedly bright for open-source AI.