Runway attracts a new $141 million as next-level generative AI videos begin to emerge

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Runway, one of the hottest generative AI startups with its text-to-image video tools, announced a new round of funding, adding $141 million in a Series C from Google, Nvidia and Salesforce Ventures, among others investors.

The New York City-based company said in a press release that it will use this new funding to further scale internal research efforts, expand its world-class team, and continue to bring cutting-edge multimodal AI systems to market. while creating revolutionary and intuitive product experiences.

Runway started with a mission to create AI for creatives

In March, VentureBeat spoke with Runway CEO and cofounder Cristbal Valenzuela. He discussed the controlled rollout of the Runways Gen-2 tool, which is now generally available, and founding the company four years ago with a mission to create AI tools specifically for artists and creatives.

Since then, we’ve pushed the boundaries of the field and built products based on that research, he said, saying Gen-2 is a big step forward in the company’s text-to-video efforts. He pointed to the company’s millions of users, ranging from award-winning filmmakers and advertising and production companies to small-time creators and consumers.


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We’ve built an incredibly close-knit community that has helped us understand how creatives are actually using generative AI in their work today, he said, pointing to Runways’ work on the Oscar-winning film Everything Everywhere All at Once. One of the film’s editors used Runway to help with effects on some shots.

So we have a lot of people who have helped us understand how these models are going to be used in the context of storytelling, he explained. We’re heading into a world where most of the content, media and video you consume will be generated, which requires a different type of software and tools to enable you to generate those kinds of stories.

Runway CEO and co-founder Cristobal Valenzuela

The growth of the runway comes as artists push back against generative AI

The runway efforts, however, come at a time when artists are pushing back against generative AI. For example, thousands of screenwriters have been on strike for over two months, halting many film and television productions, because they want limits on the use of generative AI.

And VentureBeat recently reported that the creators of Adobe Stock aren’t happy with the Firefly company’s generative AI model. According to some creators, many of whom VentureBeat has spoken on record, Adobe trained Firefly on their stock images without express notification or consent.

There are also several lawsuits pending in the generative AI space. Just today, for example, the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging that the company used stolen data to train and develop its products including ChatGPT 3.5, ChatGPT 4, DALL-E and VALL-E.

Three co-founders went to art school

We listen a lot and we are part of the community, Valenzuela said, pointing to the Runways AI Film Festival in March as an example to guide conversations and understand how these technologies will be used by professional filmmakers and storytellers.

I think there’s confusion about how these algorithms are already being used in creative environments, he said. There is a misconception that you have systems doing everything for you and you have no input. We don’t see it that way. We see these tools as tools for human augmentation. They are tools to enhance creativity. They are not tools to replace creativity.

Valenzuela has emphasized that he comes from an artistic background. I went to art school and started Runway while I was an artist, she said. These are the tools I wanted to use.

Originally from Chile, Valenzuela came to New York City to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he met its cofounders Anastasis Germanidis and Alejandro Matamala, but soon realized that his artwork was best suited to tool making.

My craft was tool making, I was eager to see artists use the tools I was making, he said. So I went deep down the rabbit hole of neural networks the idea of ​​computational creativity.

Regarding the topics of copyright, fair use and substitution of work mentioned by the artists, Valenzuela argued that it is still very early to understand all the implications of generative AI. We’re really trying to make sure we can bring this conversation to a successful conclusion, she said. I think listening is still the most important aspect. I think being open to change and being able to adapt and understand how things are going to be used, those are the drivers of how we think about our product. I can’t really speak for other companies and how other companies are thinking about the space, but for us, we have the commitment to our users.

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