Runway Raises $50M to Expand Its Suite of Generative AI Tools

The NYC startup plans to add to its engineering, research and go-to-market teams and establish an in-house creative agency.

Written by Jeff Rumage
Published on Dec. 06, 2022
Runway Raises $50M to Expand Its Suite of Generative AI Tools
Runway team
Photo: Runway / LinkedIn

Generative AI startup Runway, a co-developer of the popular text-to-image model Stable Diffusion, announced Monday it has raised $50 million to advance its research of multimodal artificial intelligence systems for content creation.

The Series C round was led by Felicis and included participation from Amplify Partners, Coatue, Compound, Lux Capital and Madrona.

Text-to-image generation is one of the more than 30 “AI magic tools” that Runway has developed. One tool allows users to erase objects from images and replace them with another image created through a text description. Runway has also developed an image-to-image generator that allows users to tweak a generated image by uploading the image and writing a description that includes any changes they would like to see.

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Runway has committed to releasing new AI Magic Tools every week. Runway co-founder and CEO Cristóbal Valenzuela told Built In in an email that the company plans to launch a text-to-video tool next year.

“As content needs continue to skyrocket, creators will become overwhelmed by the volume of rote tasks their jobs require,” Valenzuela said in a statement. “Runway is pushing the boundaries of creativity and enabling creators to meet these demands and enhance their craft while saving enterprises and creatives significant amounts of time and money with recent advancements in AI.”

The company has found commercial success with its video editing technology, which allows users to remove objects from a video, change the background and track the motion of objects. Runway’s video editing tool is used by the post-production studio Assembly and the graphics team at The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

In October, Runway launched a platform that allows creative teams to collaboratively edit videos together in real time. The company also allows creators to train their own custom AI models by uploading their own images. Runway plans to use its new funding to expand its tools for enterprise teams.

Runway co-founder and CEO Cristóbal Valenzuela
Runway co-founder and CEO Cristóbal Valenzuela. | Photo: Runway

Runway is not just a product, though. It is a full-stack applied research company that builds generative AI models and develops infrastructure to deploy those models to production.

“This full stack approach allows us to generate comprehensive knowledge of the technology and how to best serve our customers,” Valenzuela told Built In via email. “Generative AI is as transformative to the creative industry as the CGI revolution, and we’re excited to pave the way.”

This funding round brings the company’s total funding to $95.5 million, according to Crunchbase. Runway plans to use the fresh funds to develop new tools, particularly around audiovisual applications.

Runway currently has 35 employees. Valenzuela said the company plans to double its headcount due to this capital raise. The company is currently hiring across engineering, research and go-to-market teams. It also plans to establish an in-house creative agency.

This article was updated on Dec. 8 with additional information from Runway co-founder and CEO Cristóbal Valenzuela.

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