Together Raises $20 Million in Seed Funding to Propel Open-Source AI Revolution

Together, an open-source AI startup, has announced a successful seed funding round, securing $20 million to drive its mission of creating decentralized alternatives to closed AI systems and democratizing AI access for everyone. The company aims to establish open source as the default method for integrating AI while developing open models that outperform closed counterparts. By collaborating with decentralized infrastructure providers, open-source groups, and academic and corporate research labs, Together has assembled a formidable team of researchers, engineers, and AI practitioners.

Jamie de Guerre, the founding SVP of product at Together, expressed their mission, stating, “Our goal is to empower innovation and creativity by providing leading open-source generative AI models and an innovative cloud platform that makes AI accessible to anyone, anywhere.” The company has already released several generative AI projects, such as GPT-JT, OpenChatKit, and RedPajama, gaining support from hundreds of thousands of AI developers. The newly acquired seed funding will be allocated to expanding the team, research, product development, and infrastructure.

Together’s primary focus is to lay the foundation for open-source AI by providing datasets, models, and research. The RedPajama project is an initial step, but Together aims to make computational resources for training, fine-tuning, and operating large models more accessible. To achieve this, the company is building an innovative AI-specific cloud platform on a decentralized computing network. By making datasets and models fully open-source, Together aims to counteract the risks and challenges posed by closed models, such as lack of transparency, liability concerns, and limited customization options.

De Guerre highlighted the advantages of open-source generative AI models and datasets, stating, “They enable the open community to conduct advanced research, build on existing models, and push innovation in new directions.” By investing in their specialized cloud platform, Together plans to enhance scalability for training and inference of large models through distributed optimization. This will enable rapid customization and integration of foundation models into production tasks securely and efficiently.

To foster AI progress, Together promotes open-source AI advancements through partnerships with open-source groups, corporate research labs, and decentralized infrastructure providers. The company aims to overcome networking bottlenecks by leveraging fast networking capabilities across multiple networks, resulting in a scalable infrastructure accessible to more individuals. Together has also developed technologies that significantly improve inference throughput.

Together emphasizes its commitment to user privacy, noting that it does not store or utilize customer or training data by default. However, customers have the option to opt-in and share their data with Together for training models. The company remains dedicated to building the best open-source generative AI models and an AI-specific cloud platform while continuing to release open-source models and projects to support its vision.

The seed funding round was led by Lux Capital, with support from various venture funds, angel investors, and notable entrepreneurs, including Scott Banister, the co-founder of PayPal, Jeff Hammerbacher, the co-founder of Cloudera, and Lip-Bu Tan, the founder of Cadence Systems.