AI startup Hugging Face has raised $235 million in a Series D funding round, bringing its total funding to $395.2 million. The funding round saw participation from major tech giants such as Google, Amazon, Nvidia, Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, IBM, Salesforce, and Sound Ventures. This investment values Hugging Face at $4.5 billion, reflecting the significant appetite for AI and platforms supporting its development. Hugging Face offers a range of data science hosting and development tools, including a model hub with over 1 million repositories. The company plans to use the funding to expand its efforts in research, enterprise, and startups.
Hugging Face, founded in 2016, pivoted from building a chatbot app to focusing on creating a platform for machine learning after open-sourcing the algorithm behind their original app. Today, the company boasts over 10,000 customers and more than 50,000 organizations on its platform. Hugging Face’s paid features include tools such as AutoTrain, Inference API, and Infinity, which automate training AI models, host models without managing infrastructure, and increase processing speed, respectively. The company’s success is driven by both the sustained interest in AI from enterprises and the growing MLOps market, estimated to reach $16.61 billion by 2030.
Hugging Face has also made notable contributions to the open-source AI community. The company is involved in the BigScience project, which aims to produce an open-source language model as powerful as OpenAI’s GPT-3. Hugging Face has collaborated with ServiceNow and the German nonprofit LAION to release free AI models, and it has partnerships with major cloud providers such as Nvidia, Amazon, and Microsoft. With the new funding, Hugging Face plans to further its supportive efforts in various domains, including research, enterprise, and startups, and expand its team of 170 employees.