Pika, the generative AI startup that turns ideas into videos

new.blicio.us Follow Nov 28, 2023 · 3 mins read
Pika, the generative AI startup that turns ideas into videos
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Pika, a startup creating an AI-powered platform to edit and generate videos from captions and still images, has raised $55 million in a new round of funding. The round was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and included participation from Homebrew, Conviction Capital, SV Angel, Ben’s Bites, and notable angel investors like Quora founder Adam D’Angelo, former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, and Giphy co-founder Alex Chung.

The funding comes just six months after Pika emerged from stealth mode and coincides with the early access launch of “Pika 1.0,” a new suite of videography tools featuring a generative AI model that can edit videos in different styles. According to Pika, the goal is to “push the boundaries of technology and design a future interface of video making that is effortless and accessible to everyone.” Since its founding six months ago, Pika says its community has grown to half a million users who are generating millions of videos per week.

Key capabilities of Pika 1.0 include:

  • Text-to-Video and Image-to-Video: Convert text descriptions or images into short, high-fidelity video content using AI generation.
  • Video-to-Video: Seamlessly transform existing videos into different styles, characters, and objects, while preserving overall structure. For instance, convert live action to animated format.
  • Expand: Widen the canvas or aspect ratio of videos through AI prediction of content beyond borders. For example, resize TikTok-style vertical footage to a widescreen 16:9 layout.
  • Change: Use AI to edit video content like apparel, characters, environment, props, and more.
  • Extend: Lengthen short video clips with additional AI-generated footage.
  • The platform is now accessible via both Discord and a new web interface available on mobile and desktop at https://pika.art, providing more users with access to Pika’s powerful generative video capabilities.

Pika was founded by Demi Guo and Chenlin Meng, both former PhD students at Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab. Guo previously worked as an engineer at Meta’s AI research lab, while Meng co-authored several AI research papers on generative AI. The startup competes with other generative video AI tools like Runway and Stability AI.

With the Pika 1.0 release, the company aims to differentiate itself with features that can extend video length, transform styles from “live action” to “animated,” edit content by changing clothing or adding characters, and more. Lightspeed partner Michael Mignano expressed optimism in Pika’s ability to “democratize professional-quality video creation” using generative AI, allowing anyone to bring creative visions to life.

Pika’s rapid growth reflects the surging demand for generative AI across areas like text, images, and video. IDC projects investments in the space will climb from $16 billion this year to $143 billion in 2027. While it only accounts for 9% of AI spending now, IDC expects it to make up 28% in five years. Recent surveys show strong adoption among younger demographics like Gen Z.

However, enterprise customers still face hurdles with real-world deployment, worried about potential challenges around outcomes, security, bias and more. O’Reilly data shows 26% of corporate AI adopters remain in early piloting stages. Finding use cases and addressing legal issues like copyright also act as barriers for business adoption. Still, with strong backing and demographic tailwinds, startups like Pika aim to push generative video AI into the mainstream.

Pika has launched a next-generation generative AI model on its platform that creates professional-quality videos. The upgrades also introduce new features that allow users to effortlessly edit videos with AI and generate clips in a wide variety of styles.

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