Hugging Face Raises $235M, Soaring to $4.5B Valuation
Open-source generative AI startup Hugging Face has raised $235 million in a Series D funding round led by Salesforce Ventures, doubling the startup’s valuation to $4.5 billion compared to May last year. Hugging Face’s new funding draws from a selection of the biggest names in tech, including Amazon, Google, Nvidia, IBM, Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and Sound Ventures. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff confirmed the rumored funding first reported by The Information on X (formerly known as Twitter).
Hugging Face Funding
Hugging Face operates an open platform where developers share models, data, and code. At the core of the company’s offering is a website hub where users can find and freely use AI models, datasets, and code. The platform hosts 500,000 models 250,000 datasets, and receives contributions from over 100,000 users monthly. In contrast, OpenAI, Anthropic, and many other generative AI developers keep those details hidden as proprietary knowledge.
Hugging Face has partnerships with many of its investors. Nvidia and Hugging Face recently began working together on a new large language model developer tool called Training Cluster as a Service designed to streamline the process of building and customizing LLMs for enterprise developers using Nvidia’s “supercomputing” DGX Cloud and related software and available expertise. Hugging Face had previously announced that AWS would host its LLMs, but that’s a non-exclusive deal and probably won’t have an impact on the Nvidia partnership. The generative AI model platform has steadily expanded its generative AI tools and features for developers, including the Starcoder coding assistant and the HuggingChat open-source generative AI chatbot.
Hugging Face has now raised $395.2 million in total. The doubled valuation over a little more than a year is remarkable, especially since it’s reportedly more than 100 times the startup’s revenue. Instead, the $4.5 billion seems built on anticipated value. That would fit with other expectations for the industry over the next several years. The substantial valuation and high-profile backers may reflect a growing interest in Hugging Face’s collaborative approach to AI. This allows AI practitioners to build on each other’s work instead of starting from scratch. Hugging Face also produces developer tools to streamline working with open-source AI. It’s similar to how Meta’s recent spate of generative AI models have been open-source and free to license. By providing the picks and shovels needed to find, use, and create AI, Hugging Face is poised to advance next-generation applications across industries.