BentoML Raises $9 Million in Funding to Accelerate AI App Development

AI Investment

BentoML, an AI development framework, recently announced that it has secured $9 million in seed financing to further expedite AI app development. The funding round was led by DCM Ventures, with participation from Bow Capital. This investment will enable BentoML to enhance its platform and provide developers with the tools they need to build, ship, and scale AI applications more efficiently.

With the success of large language models like GPT, there has been a surge in developers eager to create AI-powered applications. However, building AI services can be challenging, especially due to the shortage of skilled developers in the market. Many programmers entering the AI landscape lack the necessary skills to build the required infrastructure, resulting in prolonged development processes.

BentoML aims to address this issue by providing a high-level API that abstracts away the complexities of running AI models on the cloud. The platform targets data scientists, DevOps engineers, and developers, making it easier for them to train AI models, manage their lifecycles, and build applications on top of these models.

Traditional AI development often involves multiple machine learning models, which can make management and operation complicated. BentoML simplifies this process by offering a comprehensive set of tools that streamline AI application development. Similar to a construction toolkit used to build a house, BentoML provides developers with the necessary resources to create scalable and cost-efficient AI applications.

One example of an AI application that can benefit from BentoML is Microsoft’s Visual ChatGPT. This chatbot upgrade allows it to produce responses from both text and image prompts. However, developing a production-ready version of Visual ChatGPT can take three to six months. With BentoML, developers can expedite this process and make the application production-ready in as little as two days.

While tech giants like Microsoft have the resources to train AI models and deploy them in the real world, smaller businesses often lack the infrastructure for AI development. BentoML aims to bridge this gap by providing an accessible platform for businesses with valuable data that can benefit tremendously from AI. By democratizing AI app development, BentoML empowers businesses of all sizes to leverage AI technology and gain a competitive edge.

BentoML was initially open-sourced in 2019, allowing developers to integrate the framework into their projects. Over the past year, BentoML’s open-source community has grown significantly, with its membership quadrupling to more than 3,000. This organic growth is a testament to the platform’s effectiveness and the value it provides to developers.

Notable early adopters of BentoML include Line and Naver, two social networking giants based in South Korea. These companies recognized the potential of BentoML and embraced its capabilities to enhance their AI development processes.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Chaoyu Yang, co-founder of BentoML, compared the company’s vision to that of Vercel, a platform that focuses on serving front-end developers. BentoML aims to be the equivalent of Vercel but for AI app development. By providing a user-friendly and efficient framework, BentoML strives to become the go-to platform for developers looking to build AI applications.

Yang believes that AI will eventually become more production-ready, allowing developers to focus on fine-tuning and product engineering. He expects AI app developers to account for over 90% of BentoML’s user base in the future. This shift in focus indicates the growing importance of AI in various industries and the need for tools like BentoML to facilitate its development.

While the exuberant AI market has been advantageous for BentoML, it also presents challenges. The rapidly changing industry requires the BentoML team to juggle short-term goals that cater to current trends while also building long-term strategies. Yang acknowledges the importance of striking a balance between the two to ensure the company’s success.

BentoML’s recent funding round of $9 million marks a significant milestone for the company and the AI app development landscape. With its user-friendly framework and comprehensive set of tools, BentoML aims to simplify the process of building, shipping, and scaling AI applications. By democratizing AI app development, BentoML empowers businesses of all sizes to leverage the power of AI and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market.

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