Pika Labs secures $55 million in funding and introduces a cutting-edge AI video platform poised to compete with Runway.

Today, Pika Labs, a young video AI startup founded just six months ago, has announced a significant milestone by securing $35 million in a Series A funding round. Leading this funding round is Lightspeed Venture Partners, following earlier rounds, resulting in a total capital injection of $55 million into the burgeoning company.

In conjunction with this financial news, Pika Labs has introduced Pika 1.0, a web platform that builds upon its initial beta release. This innovative platform empowers users to effortlessly create and modify videos in various styles, including 3D animation, anime, and cinematic, all through simple text prompts.

This development signals the latest advancement in the ever-evolving field of AI-driven video generation. Pika Labs now stands in competition with rivals such as Runway and Stability AI, while Adobe also explores similar terrain with tools designed for object generation and video editing.

Pika Labs proudly reports that its product is already in use by over half a million individuals. The platform is open for sign-ups and will gradually become accessible to users, transforming everyone into a creative video director and producer.

What to Expect from Pika 1.0? Pika Labs was initially launched by Demi Guo and Chenlin Meng, former Ph.D. students from Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, on the messaging app Discord in late 2023. Since its inception, the platform has evolved into a sophisticated tool, generating millions of videos each week. Remarkably, top users on Discord spend up to 10 hours daily crafting videos using Pika Labs.

This enthusiastic user engagement has drawn substantial investor interest, resulting in the company raising $20 million in quick succession across pre-seed and seed funding rounds. Leading these earlier investment rounds were Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross, with participation from prominent investors like Elad Gil, Adam D’Angelo, Andrej Karpathy, Clem Delangue, Craig Kallman, and Alex Chung.

Demi Guo, the CEO of Pika Labs, emphasized the company’s mission to democratize high-quality video content creation, stating, “Our vision is to enable anyone to be the director of their stories and to bring out the creator in all of us.”

Pika 1.0, the next iteration of the video AI platform, leverages a new AI model and offers users a user-friendly web interface, departing from the Discord app. With simple text prompts, users can instruct the platform on their desired style, and the AI model will swiftly generate the corresponding video content. This encompasses the creation of 3D animations, live-action scenes, cinematic videos, and even the manipulation of moving objects, such as horses or outfits.

Pika 1.0 extends its capabilities to support image-to-video and video-to-video transformations, allowing users to convert their existing content into diverse video styles. For example, it can breathe life into memes or transition a cinematic video into an animated format. Users can also upload content and provide text prompts for edits such as expanding the canvas, adjusting aspect ratios, or introducing new objects, props, and characters to videos, thereby delivering an entirely novel video creation experience.

Accessing Pika 1.0 Pika Labs has outlined its plan for making Pika 1.0 available to users. The new version will be accessible on both Discord and a dedicated website that can be accessed from mobile and desktop devices. Interested users can visit the website and sign up, although it’s important to note that access to the new video AI capabilities will be granted gradually, using a waitlist system to prevent system overload.

Intensifying Competition in the Video AI Arena With this substantial funding, which brings Pika Labs’ total capital raised to $55 million and its valuation close to $200 million, the company has firmly established itself as a notable player in the video AI domain, an industry that has been rapidly gaining traction in recent times. Notably, Stability AI recently introduced Stable Video Diffusion models capable of generating high-quality video clips from images, although it is limited in terms of video length.

Pika’s AI tool, in contrast, is capable of generating longer video clips and even offers the ability to extend the length of existing videos. However, the quality of these extended videos remains to be seen.

Other significant contenders in the video AI sector include Runway and Adobe. Runway is already employed for adding motion to memes, contributing to their virality, while Adobe is experimenting with features like video upscaling and object editing within its Creative Cloud products. Additionally, Adobe has reportedly acquired Rephrase AI to bolster its video generation capabilities.