Artificial Intelligence


By Lottie


November 2023

How Together is Revolutionising Open-Source AI Development


The world of technology is constantly evolving, with artificial intelligence (AI) at its forefront. In this landscape, generative AI has emerged as a key area of innovation, shaping new possibilities and applications. Amidst this progress, Together, a notable startup in the AI sector has made a significant move with its £81 million investment in generative AI. This investment is not just about financial figures; it represents a strategic advancement in AI technology, particularly in the realm of open-source development. In this blog post, we'll explore the nuances of Together's investment and its potential impact on the tech industry and AI development.

The Significance of Generative AI

Generative AI stands at the forefront of technological innovation, offering unprecedented capabilities in creating content that ranges from text and images to complex code. Its potential extends beyond mere content creation, promising transformative changes in various sectors like healthcare, automotive, entertainment, and more.

Together's Vision and Investment Impact

Together’s recent funding, led by Kleiner Perkins with participation from Nvidia and Emergence Capital, is more than just a financial boost. It represents a significant leap in open-source generative AI, empowering developers and researchers worldwide. The investment is aimed at expanding Together's cloud platform, enabling developers to build on open and custom models. Co-founder and CEO Vipul Ved Prakash emphasised the importance of building a generative AI strategy that is free from vendor lock-in, underscoring the vital role of open-source AI in providing a strong foundation for these applications​.

The Founders and Their Vision

Together was co-founded by Vipul Ved Prakash, Ce Zhang, Chris Re, and Percy Liang in June 2022. Prakash, who previously founded Topsy (acquired by Apple), along with his co-founders, seeks to create open-source models and services to aid organisations in integrating AI into their applications. Their cloud platform is designed to offer scalable computing at more affordable rates than major players like Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure​.

Operational Excellence and Customer Focus

Together operate as a cloud-spanning data centre in the U.S. and EU, delivering around 20 exaflops of computing. Their customers, including Pika Labs and NexusFlow, benefit from Together’s model-serving APIs. Vipul highlights the platform's ability to allow developers to integrate leading open-source models or create their own through pre-training or fine-tuning. The emphasis is on providing industry-leading performance and reliability while ensuring customers retain ownership and freedom regarding their AI investments​.

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Custom Models and AI Research Initiatives

To complement their cloud service, Together offers Custom Models, a consulting program that allows customers to bring their data to the platform. Together's team assists in designing, building, and testing models tailored to specific applications. Moreover, the company invests heavily in AI research. Projects like RedPajama focus on developing open-source generative AI models, including chat models akin to OpenAI’s ChatGPT. They have also released GPT-JT, a text-generating model, as part of their commitment to fostering open-source AI development​.

The Far-Reaching Implications of Together's Investment in Generative AI

Together's recent investment of $102.5 million in generative AI is a significant milestone that extends far beyond the realms of finance and technology. It represents a bold commitment to the future of AI, highlighting the growing recognition of generative AI's potential to revolutionise various industries. This investment not only propels Together to the forefront of AI innovation but also signals a broader shift in the technological landscape towards more open, accessible, and collaborative AI development.

As we witness this investment unfold, it becomes increasingly clear that the future of AI is not just about technological advancements but also about fostering a community-driven approach to innovation. Together's focus on open-source AI paves the way for a more inclusive and diverse technological ecosystem, where developers, researchers, and businesses can contribute to and benefit from AI advancements.

The impact of Together's investment is set to ripple across various sectors, potentially leading to breakthroughs in fields like healthcare, finance, education, and more. By democratising access to cutting-edge AI technologies, Together is not just shaping the future of AI but is also empowering organisations and individuals to explore new frontiers in their respective domains.

In conclusion, Together's investment in generative AI is a testament to the transformative power of AI and its ability to reshape our world. It's a step towards a future where AI is not just an exclusive tool of the tech giants but a resource that is available and beneficial to all. As we move forward, it will be fascinating to see the innovative applications and solutions that emerge from this investment, heralding a new era of AI-driven possibilities.