Illustration by William Joel
Open-source AI model repository Hugging Face just got massive investments from Google, Amazon, Nvidia, and Salesforce as demand for AI model access grows.
Hugging Face, which acts like GitHub for machine learning and other AI models, codes, and datasets, raised $235 million in a Series D fundraising round, reported CNBC. This latest financing brings Hugging Face’s valuation to $4.5 billion, just one of the many businesses benefitting from investors’ interest in generative AI.
Investors in this round included Google, Amazon, AMD, Intel, IBM, Nvidia, and Salesforce, all of whom have invested significantly into generative AI foundation models or processors running these models.
Clement Delangue, Hugging Face CEO, tells The Verge the new round of financing will be used “to grow the team currently at 170 and invest in more open source AI and platform building.” He says the investment also underscores the importance of the open-source community in building up the generative AI community.
“It’s a validation both for Hugging Face, but also for the broader open-source AI ecosystem,” Delangue says in an email interview. “Companies want to build AI themselves and need open-source AI for this.”
Hugging Face hosts several popular generative AI models, such as Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion and Meta’s Llama 2 and its variants. Amazon’s AWS and Hugging Face partnered to make AWS Cloud Hugging Face’s preferred cloud provider.
Open source is a term often misunderstood and used in confusing ways. However, generative AI has an extensive open source community, and many big AI companies choose to release their models with some semblance of openness by allowing developers to experiment but at the same time requiring users to abide by a limited user license.