Tech Giants Invest $235 Million in AI Startup Hugging Face

Why Companies Must Take AI Implications Seriously

Artificial intelligence (AI) startup Hugging Face has raised $235 million in a Series D funding round at a $4.5 billion valuation.

The new investors that participated in the round include Salesforce Ventures, Google, Amazon, Nvidia, AMD, Intel, Qualcomm Ventures, IBM and Sound Ventures, Hugging Face Co-founder and CEO Clem Delangue said in a Thursday (Aug. 24) post on LinkedIn.

“These partners alone shared over 1,000 open models and datasets and have over 10,000 users on Hugging Face already,” Delangue said in the post. “It takes a village to democratize good machine learning with open-source and we’re just getting started.”

In total, Hugging Face has more than 1 million models, datasets and apps on its platform, Delangue added in the post.

Delangue said the capital will primarily be used to attract top talent, ensuring the company remains competitive in the evolving AI space, CNBC reported Thursday. The investment surge reflects the growing interest of both large corporations and venture capitalists in the AI boom, which was ignited last year with the release of Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot.

What sets Hugging Face apart from other highly valued AI startups is its collaborative approach to building AI, according to the report. Unlike companies that guard their AI models and charge customers for access, Hugging Face provides a platform where developers can freely share code, models and datasets.

Additionally, the company offers developer tools to facilitate the implementation of open-source AI models, the report said. Hugging Face’s website allows users to upload models and weights. It also develops software tools called libraries that aid in model implementation, dataset cleaning and performance evaluation.

The company’s platform, similar in concept to code-repository GitHub, has gained popularity due to its belief that most AI companies will want to develop their own models or technology, per the report. Hugging Face aims to provide the necessary tools for these developers to succeed.

Delangue said per the report he hopes that AI builders will rely on Hugging Face’s platform extensively, and this is one of the reasons why major companies are investing in the startup.

The news comes about two weeks after it was reported that Hive AI is working to raise $200 million in a funding round, with a valuation of up to $4 billion. Hive AI uses AI to moderate digital content.