Stable Diffusion Developer Raises $50M, Values the Company at $500M

The buzz around artificially intelligent (AI) image generators shows no signs of abating as one of the companies behind Stable Diffusion announces it has raised $50 million at a $500 million valuation.

Runway ML, which helped to create the algorithm behind the popular text-to-image generator Stable Diffusion, raised the money in Series C funding led by Felicis venture capital firm.

The company says that the money will be used for “continued research and developments, model training, and GTM expansion.”

“Powered by proprietary cutting-edge AI research, Runway empowers individuals and leading creative teams all over the world to create multimedia content in magical ways and collaborate over a browser in 4K definition,” says Aydin Senkut, Founder and Managing Partner at Felicis.

Runway boasts numerous generative AI features having teased a text-to-video generator earlier this year.

According to Forbes’ sources, annual revenue is around $1 million indicating that investors are enthusiastic about the AI generative space.

Runway ML was started by three immigrants who met at a New York university. Anastasis Germanidis, Alejandro Matamala-Ortiz, and Cristóbal Valenzuela bonded over digital design tools and the trio worked together on machine learning research that evolved into founding Runway in 2018. Valenzuela and Matamala-Ortiz are both from Chile while Germanidis is from Greece.

In a Series B round of funding last year, the company raised $46 million when it was valued at $200 million. Valenzuela tells Forbes that he will use the money to bolster research efforts, accelerate its product roadmap, and make new hires.

“Picture you’re watching a movie and you are the lead actor in the movie: your voice, your body, your face,” he adds.

Runway’s stated goal is to democratize content creation and make professional multimedia creation more accessible. However, the open source nature of Stable Diffusion has led to confusion over the model’s ownership.

Many of Runway’s customers are individual creatives, who pay at least $12 per month to use the software. However, large enterprises like CBS’s Late Show with Stephen Colbert and the visual effects team for Hollywood hit Everything Everywhere All at Once for video editing.

In the long run, Valenzuela envisions building an Adobe-style suite of AI-native video editing software tools with fantastical applications.