Kai-Fu Lee’s 01.AI hits $1 billion valuation, leads open-source AI models

  • Kai-Fu Lee’s startup, 01.AI, hits $1 billion valuation.
  • 01.AI has quickly gained recognition by releasing the open-source bilingual model Yi-34B, outperforming larger models in rankings.
  • The company’s vision includes fostering an opnen-source ecosystem for developers to create AI-powered applications.

Kai-Fu Lee’s latest venture, 01.AI, has reached a billion-dollar valuation. Lee, renowned for his AI-focused bestseller “AI Superpowers,” is setting out to develop a proprietary large language model (LLM) tailored to the Chinese market, taking on competitors such as Sogou’s Wang Xiaochuan and China’s equivalents of OpenAI.

Open-source bilingual model

Just seven months after its inception, 01.AI has made a significant mark by releasing its debut model, Yi-34B, an open-source bilingual model with 34 billion parameters. Yi-34B has quickly risen to the top of pre-trained LLM models, outperforming larger counterparts in the rankings by Hugging Face.

Also read: Hiroshima AI Process: AI ‘code of conduct’ to be ready by end of 2023

Kai-Fu Lee expressed confidence in Yi-34B’s potential, hinting at even larger models on the horizon. 01.AI’s success is built in part on the solid backing by renowned companies including Sinovation Ventures and Alibaba Cloud.

Proprietary model as the goal

01.AI’s ability to swiftly train models can be attributed to their successful fundraising efforts. As its valuation continues to grow, the startup has attracted top-tier talent, including LLM experts from global tech firms. The team’s expertise ranges from Google’s Bard to TensorFlow pioneers which help ensure their continued success in the AI landscape.

However, building LLMs is a costly endeavor, and the company recognises the need for monetisation. While they continue to open source some models, 01.AI’s ultimate objective is to establish a state-of-the-art proprietary model that can serve as a foundation for a diverse range of commercial products.

China AI startups could take lead in AI development

Lee sees China as a potential leader in AI application development. The success can be built on the nation’s mobile internet ecosystem, which has thrived over the past 12 years.

While he remains tight-lipped about the specifics, Lee hints at productivity and social applications in the pipeline and is optimistic about releasing an app within the calendar year.

Also read: Pokemon GO will bring together AI and AR to create hyper-realistic Pokemon interactions

Ultimately, 01.AI’s vision extends beyond cutting-edge models. Lee aims to build an ecosystem where outside developers can easily build meaningful applications. As he puts it, “At the end of the day, it is an ecosystem play.”

Time will tell if Kai-Fu Lee’s latest AI endeavor will revolutionise the market and empower developers to create the next generation of AI-driven applications.

Image credit: Ryan Lash via flickr


Bal M

Bal was BTW's copywriter specialising in tech and productivity tools. He has experience working in startups, mid-size tech companies, and non-profits.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *