Salesforce took the lead in a $235 million financing round for Hugging Face, raising its valuation to $4.5 billion.
The financing round was also joined by technology giants, including Google, Amazon, Nvidia, Intel, AMD, and IBM.
The capital infusion will fuel Hugging Face’s team growth and open-source AI collaboration, CEO Clement Delangue shared with Venture Beat.
Innovation Through Open-Source Collaborations
Founded in 2016, Hugging Face is home to hundreds of thousands of AI models from Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft. and others.
Screenshot from Hugging Face, August 2023
Futurom Group analyst Todd Weiss noted that large enterprises’ interest in AI startups like Hugging Face is an ongoing trend.
Investment rounds like this are logical, given the cost of AI development and the growing demand in the space.
For example, IBM and NASA recently collaborated with Hugging Face to deploy open-source geospatial models for climate change.
In addition, a partnership with ServiceNow led to the development of coding LLM, StarCoder.
The latest round of investments could be a timely boost to facilitate more partnerships and open-source AI advancements.
Salesforce AI Investments
Salesforce has been making significant moves in the AI space.
In June, Salesforce Ventures doubled its generative AI fund to $500 million and participated in a $270 million funding round for Canadian generative AI startup Cohere.
Investments in Hugging Face and Cohere add to Salesforce’s growing AI technology portfolio, including Einstein with AI tools to manage sales, customers, and marketing.
To further assist customers with AI development, it also introduced the AI Cloud and Einstein Studio, a proprietary AI model builder for enterprises.
Accessible AI Development
The latest investments by big tech companies into AI startups underscores the growing importance of accessible paths to AI innovation.
Open-source AI models are becoming pivotal players in the technology ecosystem, allowing more companies to collaborate and make significant advances in AI.
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