In a significant endorsement of the surging interest in artificial intelligence (AI) and platforms that foster its growth, AI startup Hugging Face has raised a whopping $235 million in its Series D funding round. The news, initially brought to light by The Information and subsequently confirmed by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on Twitter, has the tech industry buzzing.

With participation from tech behemoths such as Google, Amazon, Nvidia, Intel, and many others, Hugging Face’s latest funding round brings its total capital raised to $395.2 million. The new valuation pegs the firm at an astounding $4.5 billion, marking a twofold increase since May 2022. This valuation notably exceeds Hugging Face’s annualized revenue by more than a hundred times.


Among AI startups, Hugging Face’s funding places it amongst luminaries like OpenAI, which boasts $11.3 billion in funding. Cohere, Anthropic, Inflection AI, and Adept follow closely behind.

“AI is the new way of building all software. It’s the most important paradigm shift of the decade and, compared to the software shift, it’s going to be bigger because of new capabilities and faster because software paved the way,” co-founder and CEO Clément Delangue told TechCrunch. “Hugging Face intends to be the open platform that empowers this paradigm shift.”

Founded in 2016 by the French entrepreneur Delangue, along with Julien Chaumond and Thomas Wolf, Brooklyn-based Hugging Face was originally designed as a chatbot for teens. However, the trio's vision evolved to form a platform tailored for AI applications after they open-sourced the app's algorithm. Today, the company provides various data science tools, much like a GitHub for AI, where developers can find code repositories, datasets, and AI models.

With over 10,000 customers and 50,000 organizations, Hugging Face has secured its place in the AI domain. Their model hub alone boasts over a million repositories. A HubSpot poll further underscores the growing enterprise interest in AI, with 43% of business leaders intending to boost their AI investments in 2023.

Hugging Face’s contributions extend beyond just MLOps, a set of tools essential for taking AI models from development to production. In 2021, they unveiled BigScience, aiming to rival OpenAI’s GPT-3 with an open-source alternative. Named Bloom, this language model has been a significant hit on Hugging Face's platform.


The startup’s collaborations span across big players in the tech industry. From partnering with Nvidia to ensure broader cloud compute access to teaming up with Amazon and Microsoft for product extensions, Hugging Face is leaving no stone unturned.

Delangue has ambitious plans for the future. With a current strength of 170 employees, Hugging Face is set to intensify its foray into various domains, scaling its efforts while also aiming to bolster its workforce in the coming months.

Editor's note: This story was drafted with Decrypt AI from sources referenced in the text, and fact-checked by Stacy Elliott.

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