Startups in the realm of artificial intelligence (AI) continue to captivate investor interest, raising eye-watering amounts of capital.
In a recent example, Runway AI Inc., an AI video startup renowned for its technology that can create a short film from a few lines of text, announced a $141 million funding round. It was led by tech powerhouses like Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Nvidia Corp., as well as Salesforce Inc., among others.
This recent capital injection extends Runway’s previous $50 million Series C round led by Felicis Ventures in December. Since its founding in 2018, the New York-based startup, which specializes in AI-based film and editing tools, has amassed approximately $237 million in funding.
Runway co-founder and CEO Cris Valenzuela told Bloomberg that the latest funding would fuel further research into models the company uses for video and image generation. He noted that improving consistency and controllability in model generation were key focuses for the team. The company’s newest product, Runway ML Gen-2, exemplifies this, producing short, silent videos in response to written text.
Jensen Huang, CEO of Nvidia, hailed Runway’s technology as a potential game-changer in how artists create and narrate stories. He cited generative AI as a revolutionizing force in the content creation industry, bringing forth novel ideas and narratives.
Investors are lavishing their funds on artificial intelligence startups, riding the wave global interest. Generative AI, an subset of the technology that can produce new content like images or poetry from simple written prompts, is particularly attractive —especially after the boom of tools like ChatGPT (text generation) and MidJourney (image generation). Despite the proliferation of chatbots and image generators, AI’s potential in video creation is in its nascent stages.
Amidst all these developments, Inflection AI, known for its Pi chatbot, announced a staggering $1.3 billion in funding. This significantly increases Inflection AI’s estimated valuation to around $4 billion. Tech giants Microsoft and Nvidia, and industry veterans such as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, are backing this endeavor.
The investments come amid estimates that the generative AI category alone could add as much as $1.4 trillion to the economy annually.