OpenAI might be garnering all the headlines, but companies which are building their own competing models seem to be doing pretty well for themselves as well.
AI and data company Databricks has acquired Mosaic ML for $1.3 billion. Mosaic ML had been founded in December 2020, and had built a platform that empowers enterprises to build their own AI. Together, Databricks and MosaicML say they will make generative AI accessible for every organization, enabling them to build, own and secure generative AI models with their own data.
“At MosaicML, we believe in a world where everyone is empowered to build and train their own models, imbued with their own opinions and viewpoints — and joining forces with Databricks will help us make that belief a reality,” said Naveen Rao, Co-Founder and CEO, MosaicML. “We started MosaicML to solve the hard engineering and research problems necessary to make large scale training more accessible to everyone. With the recent generative AI wave, this mission has taken center stage. Together with Databricks, we will tip the scales in the favor of many — and we’ll do it as kindred spirits: researchers turned entrepreneurs sharing a similar mission. We look forward to continuing this journey together with the AI community,” he added.
“Every organization should be able to benefit from the AI revolution with more control over how their data is used,” said Ali Ghodsi, Co-Founder and CEO, Databricks. “Databricks and MosaicML have an incredible opportunity to democratize AI and make the Lakehouse the best place to build generative AI and LLMs. Databricks and MosaicML’s shared vision, rooted in transparency and a history of open source contributions, will deliver value to our customers as they navigate the biggest computing revolution of our time,” he added.
Mosaic ML had been founded just 2.5 years ago by Naveen Rao and Hanlin Tang. It had raised $37 million from investors including Correlation Ventures, Maverick Ventures, and Playground. Mosaic ML has offices in San Francisco, New York, Palo Alto and San Diego, and just 60 employees. Mosaic ML is perhaps best-known for its commercially usable, open-source MPT series of models, which organizations can fine-tune on their data to quickly and easily deploy their private LLMs. MPT-7b and MPT-30b are two of its popular LLMs which feature on Hugging Face’s Open LLM leaderboard.
And allowing people to build their own AI models could be a compelling use-case, which perhaps enabled Mosaic’s mega $1.3 billion acquisition. There appears to be daylight between OpenAI’s GPT-4 and other models, but companies which have made these other models — and allow others to customize and modify them — seem to be getting some impressive outcomes just the same.