AI Start-Up Rakes In $141 Million In Investment For AI Funding

New York City-based AI company Runway gained funding from investors including Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Nvidia Corp., and Salesforce Inc.

Jul 04, 2023 | By Sanjeeva Suresh
Image courtesy of Runway

At a valuation of $ 1.5 Billion, Runway is touted to be the next phase of generative AI video innovation. Dubbed “Gen-2”, Runway’s latest release is an AI text-to-video model that creates videos using pre-existing images and text prompts. Gen-2 is the follow-up to its predecessor Gen-1 which was launched in February. One of the world leaders in artificial intelligence computing and software, Nvidia (who also saw rising stock market prices) contributed to the $141 Million sum next to Google and Salesforce.

Image courtesy of Runway

Founded by Cristóbal Valenzuela, Alejandro Matamala and Anastasis Germanidis in 2018, Runway was created to democratise machine learning while encouraging its use in the creative industry, particularly with filmmakers, photographers and cinematographers. An accompanying mobile app was launched earlier this year, giving Runway users access to its generative AI software.

A customer base comprising Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies alongside legions of individual creators shows the significance of AI as a tool for content creation for businesses. The founders of Runway aim to reimagine content creation and build a “new type of creative, generative suite”. The success and growth of ChatGPT and AI sees both big technology companies and venture capital firms willing to invest billions into burgeoning startups that are working with groundbreaking technology.

Image courtesy of Runway

Founder Valenzuela has stated that, “Content creation today is very expensive and time-consuming. We want to help bring those cost and time factors as close to zero as possible, especially as companies’ content needs are only increasing.” What is the future of Runway? Well, the company recently launched the AI Film Festival, an event that, as reports say is “dedicated to showcasing films produced in whole or in part by AI”. With this new cash injection, only time will tell if Runway and other AI startups will be able to placate skeptics.  

Image courtesy of Typeface

Skeptics aside, according to Reuters reports, Inflection (another similar generative AI application) raised $1.3 billion from Microsoft at a valuation of $4 billion while Typeface also raised a hefty investment of $100 million (in Series B of funding), with the latter having only launched in February this year. 2023 seems to be the year of technological innovation with generative AI continuing to shape how we produce stories and ideas, bringing imagination into the tangible.

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