Stability AI Acquires Image Editing App Clipdrop Developer Init ML
Synthetic media startup Stability AI has acquired Init ML, the developer behind the popular generative AI image creation and editing service Clipdrop, for an undisclosed price. Stability, best known for its open-source text-to-image model Stable Diffusion, plans to weave its technology into Clipdrop’s platform and bolster its generative AI market ambitions.
Clipdrop uses machine learning and AI to provide advanced image manipulation tools on Windows and Mac computers, iOS and Android mobile apps, and as an Adobe Photoshop plug-in. Users can clean up a photo by removing extraneous objects and text or just isolate and export the subject of the image. The AI can also adjust lighting or “enhance” a blown-up section of the image like so many TV shows have imagined. Clipdrop rounds out its toolkit with a Stable Diffusion-based text-to-image generator for wholesale AI visual production, at least for the beta version of its app.
The acquisition will likely accelerate and deepen that connection as Stability is absorbing Init ML and its team as a subsidiary brand and rebranding its flagship product as “Clipdrop by Stability AI.” Init ML claims Clipdrop has garnered more than 15 million users since the company began in July 2020 and raised about $1.26 million in a 2021 seed funding round.
“Stability AI’s support of Init ML will bolster our efforts to create world-class, simple and elegant products powered by state-of-the-art multimodal generative AI models,” said Init ML CEO Cyril Diagne, who will now serve as vice president of innovation for Clipdrop at Stability. “I’m proud to announce that the Clipdrop team is now working with Stability AI’s researchers to bring exciting improvements to Clipdrop’s line of products and launch new ones very soon.”
Clipdrop is Stability’s first acquisition, a purchase made possible by the $101 million raised by Stability last year in a Lightspeed Venture-led funding round. The company’s ambitions don’t seem dampened by recent legal complaints. Stability has been accused of allegedly violating copyright and other intellectual property laws, with suits in the works from organizations like Getty Images and a class action lawsuit filed by a group of artists in California. Nonetheless, Stable Diffusion is growing rapidly, with estimates of more than 10 million users a day even just a few months after its August launch.
“We are excited to integrate the latest upcoming Stability AI generative models into the Clipdrop platform, enabling our technology to be easily accessible by creators everywhere,” Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque said. “This acquisition will provide Clipdrop with the resources it needs to advance the next era of generative AI, marking a new milestone in our shared journey to democratize the power of AI and multimodal foundation models in creative workflows.”