Runway, one of many organizations behind the controversial Secure Diffusion picture and video era mannequin launched earlier this 12 months, introduced it has closed a Sequence C spherical of enterprise capital funding price $50 million.
Secure Diffusion is a deep generative neural community that may create photographs based mostly on textual content enter, just like OpenAI’s DALL-E. The supply code for the AI mannequin, which was created by the CompVis group on the German college LMU Munich, was launched publicly in August by way of a collaboration of Runway, Stability AI, and CompVis LMU.
Secure Diffusion, which was skilled on billions of publicly obtainable photographs, has confronted controversy throughout its quick public life over the potential for abuse. Along with robotically producing surreal photographs that will fall into the fantasy and sci-fi classes, Secure Diffusion may also be used to create photographs that violate neighborhood requirements concerning violence, racial bias, and pornography. Whereas its phrases of service forbid that, specialists say it’s comparatively straightforward to bypass.
Firms behind the AI mannequin nonetheless are shifting ahead with the expertise, which they are saying places superior inventive powers into the arms of extra individuals. StabilityAI introduced a $101 million funding spherical in October, and now Runway is on the brink of make its personal push into the doubtless profitable realm of AI-generated photographs and movies.
“As content material wants proceed to skyrocket, creators will turn into overwhelmed by the quantity of rote duties their jobs require,” says Runway CEO and Co-Founder, Cristóbal Valenzuela, in a press launch. “Runway is pushing the boundaries of creativity and enabling creators to satisfy these calls for and improve their craft, whereas saving enterprises and creatives important quantities of money and time with latest developments in AI.”
The Sequence C funding spherical was led by Felicis, a brand new investor. It additionally noticed participation from current traders Amplify Companions, Coatue, Compound, and Lux Capital, in addition to Madrona, a brand new investor. The Sequence C spherical brings the full funding for Runway–which was based in 2018 by Valenzuela, Alejandro Matamala, and Anastasis Germanidis and is predicated in New York–to $95.5 million. Coatue is also an investor in StablityAI, which reportedly has a valuation above $1 billion.
Runway can be a creator of Latent Diffusion, a diffusion mannequin that can be utilized to create photographs. The corporate plans to earn a living by promoting entry to its AI expertise, together with AI Magic Instruments, a collection of greater than 30 utilities for producing and modifying photographs. Along with creating photographs with just some phrases, Runway’s choices can create photographs based mostly on different photographs. It additionally makes use of AI to deal with fundamental picture modifying duties, like eradicating backgrounds and objects from photographs and movies.
“Powered by proprietary cutting-edge AI analysis, Runway empowers people and main inventive groups everywhere in the world to create multimedia content material in magical methods and collaborate over a browser in 4K definition,” says Aydin Senkut, founder and managing accomplice of Felicis in a press launch. “We’re thrilled to accomplice with Cris, Anastasis, and Alejandro as they proceed to develop and broaden the universe of inventive instruments at a blazing-fast tempo.”
Runway counts CBS, New Stability, Harbor Image Firm, and Publicis as prospects. Among the many comfortable customers are the graphics workforce for The Late Present with Stephen Colbert, which used Runway to hurry the event of a latest “Americone Dream” bit for the present (you may view the video right here).
“I believe if we hadn’t had Runway, it could have been a catastrophe, and a a lot larger carry,” stated Late Present Artwork Director Andro Buneta in an interview posted to the Runway web site. “You possibly can form of pull a key, however there have been a variety of tough edges and a variety of stuff was disappearing. The Runway matting course of was good and it allowed us to truly deal with shadowing reflections.”
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