March 2, 2024
How is Stability AI going to make money? It’s trying out a new membership model

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2023 has been a busy year for Stability AI with the generative AI startup rolling out model after model. And now it’s looking to help keep that model rollout going with a new membership model announced today.

The venture-backed Stability AI was founded in 2019 and has raised significant funding including a $101 million round announced in 2022.

The company got its start with the stable diffusion text-to-image generation AI model has had several different ways it makes money. Although, it has typically made many of its models free and easily available for researchers to try.

The new membership model is an attempt to standardize how Stability AI’s models can be used for commercial purposes, enabling broader enterprise deployments as well as other companies to build businesses on top of the models.

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The memberships include a non-commercial personal and research use free tier, a professional tier priced at $20 a month and an enterprise tier for larger organizations with custom pricing. Even with the new membership approach, Stability AI still aims to keep its models open in various ways.

“We remain committed to open models,” Emad Mostaque, founder and CEO of Stability AI told VentureBeat. ” The code and weights will continue to be available for all tiers of our membership including commercial and non-commercial usage, this is similar to the Meta Llama model.”

What do memberships change? and how Clipdrop fits in

Stability AI models have been available for general consumer usage in several ways to date, including Stability AI’s own Clipdrop site.

Mostaque explained the new membership model is for self-hosted applications providing full control of data and products inside of a user’s own environment. In contrast, Clipdrop is an imaging application that enables users to experiment and create with Stability AI models via a consumer-facing website.

In terms of what changes now with the new membership approach he said that existing usage will remain unchanged. 

“New users will need to obtain a membership for commercial and non-commercial use,” Mostaque said. “The offering is starting with our core models, new and updated models will be available as released to members. “

Even for non-commercial (free) members, Mostaque expects that membership will provide value. He said even the free personal users will receive early access to future model releases as well as invitations to public forums and the opportunity to be featured on Stability AI channels.

For commercial users, Mostaque is particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of the new membership approach.

“We have seen strong interest from funded startups and large companies in particular,” Mostaque said. “Our suite of models provide an easy solution as adoption of generative AI steadily increases across the business landscape.”

“We believe this will be a solid base of revenue that will grow over time,” he added.

1,2,3 Get ready for even more models

Stability AI is also continuing to roll out new models.

In 2023, the company announced a new high-end text-to-image model with SDXL, a faster version of SDXL (SDXL Turbo), StableLM Zephyr 3B for text content generation, Stable Audio for audio generation, Stable Video for video generation and StableCode for code generation.

Just yesterday (Dec. 13), the Stable Zero123 model was released, offering new capabilities for building 3D images.

“This is the first of a series of 3D models from our talented team led by Varun Jhampani who joined us from Google Brain,” Mostaque said. ” We think next year will be the year of generative media, just as this year was the year of language models.”

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