Major Tech Giants Invest $235M in Hugging Face, Boosting Open-Source AI Development

In a notable move indicating the rising prominence of open-source artificial intelligence (AI), Hugging Face has secured $235 million in Series D funding. The funding round saw participation from industry behemoths including Google, Amazon, Nvidia, IBM, Intel, AMD, and Salesforce, underscoring the increasing corporate interest in generative AI technologies. According to CNBC, this new injection of capital raises Hugging Face’s market valuation to an impressive $4.5 billion.

Often described as the GitHub for AI, Hugging Face serves as a central repository for machine learning models, codes, and data sets. The latest investment will be utilized to expand its 170-member team and further develop open-source AI technologies, said CEO Clement Delangue in an interview with The Verge. Delangue emphasized that the investment is not just a milestone for Hugging Face but also validates the broader role of the open-source community in the generative AI landscape.

“The funding is a testament to both Hugging Face and the expansive open-source AI ecosystem,” Delangue stated. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that businesses aim to construct their own AI solutions, and the open-source framework is instrumental for this vision.”

Hugging Face is the host for a range of widely-used generative AI models, such as Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion and Meta’s Llama 2, among others. The company has also entered into a strategic partnership with Amazon’s AWS, making it Hugging Face’s go-to cloud service provider.

While the term ‘open-source’ can often be confusing or misused, the generative AI sector boasts a robust open-source community. Many leading AI enterprises are opting for a semi-open approach, releasing their models for developer experimentation but subjecting users to certain license limitations. This trend suggests a nuanced but growing openness in the field, facilitated by platforms like Hugging Face.

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