Palo Alto-based startup, Modular, has successfully garnered $100 million in new funding to refine their innovative AI platform. General Catalyst spearheaded this round of financing, with key contributors like GV (formerly Google Ventures), SV Angel, Greylock, and Factory stepping up.
With this recent funding announcement on TechCrunch, Modular’s funding coffers now stand at $130 million. The fresh infusion will be channeled towards enhancing product offerings, broadening hardware compatibility, and accelerating the growth of their exclusive programming language, Mojo, shared CEO Chris Lattner.
Lattner, who previously worked with Google, remarked in an interview, “Our goal with this financing isn’t just to beef up AI computing capabilities. We’re aiming to refine our core offerings and cater to the surging demand from our clientele.” He co-founded Modular in 2022 alongside Tim Davis, another Google alum. They both realized the potential of AI and saw the existing technical landscape as a hindrance to its growth. Their joint venture, Modular, aims to simplify the construction and upkeep of expansive AI systems.
One of Modular’s unique offerings is an engine that enhances the performance of AI models, especially on CPUs. By year-end, it’ll extend support to GPUs. This powerhouse promises developers cost benefits and compatibility with renowned cloud platforms and AI accelerator engines. Lattner boasts that Modular’s engine can supercharge trained model performance, achieving speeds up to 7.5 times faster than prevalent frameworks.
Moreover, Mojo, Modular’s novel programming language, is poised to bring together Python’s user-friendliness with advanced features like caching and adaptive compilation. This promising language is set to debut to the broader public next month.
Lattner envisions Modular as the game-changer for developers globally. “Our platform simplifies AI tech stacks, spurring faster innovations and offering enhanced ROI on AI investments. We’re tackling the intricate challenges that currently hamper AI progression,” he elaborated with TechCrunch.
Given the ever-growing AI landscape, companies like Deci and OctoML also pitch solutions to boost the efficiency of AI models. However, as AI models become increasingly intricate, computing demands are stretching the existing capacities. Even tech giants like Microsoft are grappling with hardware shortages, and Nvidia, a leading GPU provider, has seen its top-tier AI chips sell out, with no stock expected until 2024.
Lattner underscores the challenges, “AI’s computational demands are monumental. We’re witnessing a phase where demand exceeds supply, and only industry titans can afford such operations. Modular aims to democratize AI, making it feasible and affordable for any business.”
Skepticism remains about Modular’s ability to overthrow Python’s dominance in the AI sector. Yet, Lattner is optimistic about Mojo. He contends that AI is a holistic data issue, encompassing various operations that typically use Python and C++. “Only with Mojo can we integrate all these functions without compromising efficiency,” he emphasized.
The community’s faith in Modular is evident. Post their product announcement in May, their developer community swelled to over 120,000, with many industry leaders integrating Modular’s system, and a substantial 30,000 queued up.
Lattner concludes, “Complexity is Modular’s main adversary. AI’s immense potential also makes it demanding. Our tools aim to level the field, and our journey has only just begun.” With such formidable backing, Modular’s journey indeed looks promising.
Some Key Benefits of Modular for Developers
Modular’s inference engine unifies AI industry frameworks and hardware, enabling you to deploy to any cloud or on-prem environment with minimal code changes – unlocking unmatched usability, performance, and portability.
Seamlessly move your workloads to the best hardware for the job without rewriting or recompiling your models. Avoid lock-in and take advantage of cloud price efficiencies and performance improvements without migration costs.
Mojo is a programming language that combines the usability of Python with the performance of C, unlocking unparalleled programmability of AI hardware and extensibility of AI models.
Move beyond Big Tech’s trickle-down infrastructure. Check out Modular today and get direct access to industry experts that will help solve any issue you have with our infrastructure and make sure we’re meeting your SLA/SLOs.