AI Startup Hugging Face Secures New Funding from Google, Nvidia at $4.5B Valuation

Hugging Face provides various tools with AI code for data science hosting and development. The startup plans to use fresh funds for further expansion.

In the latest Series D funding round, Hugging Face Inc – a startup making AI software and hosting it for other companies – secured $235 million in funding at a valuation of $4.5 billion. The latest funding round includes participation from tech giants such as Google, Nvidia, Amazon, AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, Salesforce, IBM, and Sound Ventures.

The recent fundraise comes at double the valuation of Hugging Face back in May 2022. Hugging Face provides various tools for data science hosting and development. These tools include an AI code repository hub similar to GitHub, where AI code, models, and datasets can be stored.

Additionally, they offer web apps to showcase AI-driven applications. Hugging Face also offers libraries for tasks like dataset handling and model evaluation. They even have an enterprise version of the hub that supports both software-as-a-service and on-premises installations.

Hugging Face Chief Executive Officer Clement Delangue said that the company plans to use the cash to add more people to its team. As of August, the AI startup has a total of 170 employees. Speaking to TechCrunch, Delangue said:

“AI is the new way of building all software. It’s the most important paradigm shift of the decade and, compared to the software shift, it’s going to be bigger because of new capabilities and faster because software paved the way. Hugging Face intends to be the open platform that empowers this paradigm shift.”

Hugging Face’s Push into AI

Founded by French entrepreneur Delangue, along with Julien Chaumond and Thomas Wolf in 2016, Brooklyn-based Hugging Face initially focused on a chatbot for teens. They shifted to a machine-learning platform after open-sourcing their chatbot algorithm. With over 10,000 customers and 50,000 organizations, their model hub holds 1 million repositories.

The company benefits from AI’s enterprise demand. A HubSpot poll reveals that 43% of business leaders plan to boost AI and automation tool investments in 2023. Additionally, 31% consider these tools vital to their business strategies.

Furthermore, Hugging Face is also considering dabbling into other areas. In 2021, Hugging Face introduced BigScience, a volunteer-driven initiative to create an open-source language model rivaling OpenAI’s GPT-3. This model, named Bloom, is accessible to everyone on Hugging Face’s model hub for experimentation. Bloom is just one of several open-source models supported by Hugging Face.

Hugging Face also collaborated with ServiceNow, an enterprise software company, to launch StarCoder, a free AI model for code generation. Another model, SafeCoder, was recently introduced. Additionally, Hugging Face teamed up with the German nonprofit LAION to provide a free version of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s popular AI chatbot.

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Bhushan Akolkar

Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.

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