- Startup Together raises $20 million in a seed funding round led by Lux Capital, attracting notable venture capital firms and angel investors.
- Together aims to pioneer open source generative AI models and services, offering an alternative to closed systems and providing privacy, transparency, customization, and ease of deployment.
- The company plans to build a cloud platform for running, training, and fine-tuning open source models at significantly lower costs compared to dominant vendors like Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure.
Generative AI, the cutting-edge technology that enables machines to generate content such as essays, artwork, and music, continues to captivate investors with its vast potential. Startups in this space raised a staggering $1.7 billion in Q1 2023, with an additional $10.68 billion in deals announced for the quarter. Amid fierce competition from established players like OpenAI and Anthropic, investors are showing enthusiasm for emerging startups in the field.
One such startup is Together, a company dedicated to developing open source generative AI. Today, Together announced it has successfully raised $20 million in funding, marking a substantial seed round. The investment was led by Lux Capital, with significant contributions from Factory, SV Angel, First Round Capital, Long Journey Ventures, Robot Ventures, Definition Capital, Susa Ventures, Cadenza Ventures, and SCB 10x. The round also attracted high-profile angel investors, including Scott Banister, co-founder of PayPal, and Jeff Hammerbacher, a Cloudera founding employee.
According to Brandon Reeves of Lux Capital, “Together is spearheading AI’s ‘Linux moment’ by providing an open ecosystem across compute and best-in-class foundation models.” Reeves emphasized that the Together team is committed to creating a vibrant open ecosystem that allows individuals and enterprises to participate.
Launched in June 2022, Together was founded by a group of visionaries in the AI and technology space. Vipul Ved Prakash, the co-founder of social media search platform Topsy (acquired by Apple in 2013), leads the team. Joining him are Ce Zhang, an associate professor of computer science at ETH Zurich; Chris Re, a seasoned entrepreneur who co-founded SambaNova, a company specializing in AI hardware and integrated systems; and Percy Liang, a computer science professor at Stanford University and director of the Center for Research on Foundation Models (CRFM).
Together aims to create open source generative AI models and services that facilitate the integration of AI into various production applications. The company’s cloud platform will provide the infrastructure for running, training, and fine-tuning open source models. The co-founders believe their platform will offer scalable compute at significantly lower costs compared to dominant vendors such as Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure.
Vipul Ved Prakash shared his vision for Together, stating, “We believe that generative models are a consequential technology for society, and open and decentralized alternatives to closed systems are going to be critical to enable the best outcomes for AI and society.” Prakash emphasized that as enterprises develop their generative AI strategies, they seek privacy, transparency, customization, and ease of deployment. Current cloud offerings with closed-source models and data fail to meet these requirements, prompting the need for innovative solutions like Together.
The $20 million investment will enable Together to accelerate the development of its open source generative AI platform and further establish its position as a disruptive force in the industry. With its commitment to openness, scalability, and affordability, Together is poised to make a significant impact on the future of generative AI and shape the way organizations incorporate AI into their operations.