Stable Diffusion’s parent company achieved unicorn status after raising funds from big names in venture capital.
The parent company of Stable Diffusion, an artificial intelligence tool that makes digital art, achieved unicorn status after raising funds from a few big names in venture capital.
Stability AI Ltd. raised $101 million in a funding round led by Coatue Management and Lightspeed Venture Partners, according to a statement reviewed by Bloomberg News.
The round values London-based Stability AI at around $1 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified as the details are private. A representative for Stability AI declined to comment on the assessment.
Stable Diffusion is one of a handful of upstart AI models with the potential to disrupt the visual arts, along with DALL-E 2. The way it works is people type in a description of an image – say an astronaut at horse – and the program spits out a realistic or surreal image.
What sets Stable Diffusion apart from its competitors is that its open source software is publicly available. Users can rely on its code to produce applications related to design, cinema, augmented reality, video games, advertising and even e-commerce. It also works on small devices.
Its DreamStudio web application has more than 1.5 million users and Stable Diffusion has more than 10 million daily users across all channels, according to Emad Mostaque, managing director of Stability AI.
Practical uses range from designing applications in the metaverse to creating PowerPoint presentations, he said.
“Every creative company in the world is testing this right now because it allows instant creation of any image in any style, especially when refined,” Mostaque said in an interview. “There has been this promise of personalized interactive content for many years. It is the first technology that can provide it.
Stability AI plans to use the funding to deploy custom versions of the model to users on a larger scale and invest in more intensive computing power. It will also hire more people, with Mostaque saying it expects to grow from about 300 employees to 100 over the next year.
Coatue and Lightspeed have previously invested in machine learning and artificial intelligence, with Lightspeed backing video game maker Epic Games Inc. and Coatue investing in Scale AI Inc., a data platform.
According to Lightspeed Partner Gaurav Gupta, Stability AI has the potential to significantly reduce the “inefficiency” of content creation.
“It basically empowers people to do more,” Gupta said in an interview. “Stability has done what many people thought was impossible.”