UPDATED 16:48 EST / MARCH 07 2023


Stability AI acquires Init ML amid fundraising reports

Stability AI Ltd., the startup behind the Stable Diffusion generative artificial intelligence model, today announced that it has bought photo editing provider Init ML.

The acquisition is Stability AI’s first since launch. It comes a few days after reports emerged that the startup is seeking to raise funding at a $4 billion valuation. That’s four times what Stability AI was worth in October, when it closed a $101 million funding round led by Coatue, Lightspeed Venture Partners and O’Shaughnessy Ventures.

London-based Stability AI is the developer of Stable Diffusion, an AI model that can automatically generate images based on text prompts. It’s not the only AI model with that capability. However, it’s available under an open-source license and can run on relatively simple hardware, two features that have helped it quickly amass a large user base.

Last October, Stability AI disclosed that Stable Diffusion reached 1 million users within about two months of launching. Some 200,000 developers downloaded the code for the AI model in the same time frame. The acquisition of Init ML could help Stability AI expand its installed base. 

Founded in 2020, Init ML offers an application called Clipdrop that uses AI to automate two common photo editing tasks. Clipdrop can automatically enhance the fidelity of low-resolution images, as well as crop individual elements of a photo and remove the background.

Init ML enables users to interact with its software in multiple ways. Clipdrop is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android and the web, as well as in the form of a Photoshop plugin. Stability AI detailed today that the different versions of Clipdrop have amassed a combined installed base of 15 million users.

Paris-based Init ML raised a seed funding round from Air Street Capital prior to the acquisition. Following the deal, the startup will become an independent business unit of Stability AI. Init ML plans to integrate its software with Stability AI’s newest neural networks to enhance its capabilities.

“This acquisition will provide Clipdrop with the resources it needs to advance the next era of generative AI, marking a new milestone in our shared journey to democratize the power of AI and multimodal foundation models in creative workflows,” said Stability AI founder and Chief Executive Officer Emad Mostaque.

Clipdrop will complement the two existing offerings in Stability AI’s product portfolio. The startup provides an application programming interface that makes it easier for developers to integrate Stable Diffusion into their software. It also offers DreamStudio, a tool that enables consumers to use Stable Diffusion without writing code.

Image: Stability AI

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