GPU cloud operator Together reportedly seeking $100M+ in new funding

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Together Computer Inc., one of several startups operating cloud platforms geared toward artificial intelligence workloads, is expected to raise a fresh round of funding.

The Information late Wednesday cited sources as saying that the company is seeking more than $100 million. Salesforce Inc.’s venture capital arm, which has emerged as a major generative AI investor in recent quarters, is expected to lead the round. It’s believed that Coatue will take part as well.

The Information’s sources indicate that the round is poised to value San Francisco-based Together at over $1 billion, or about double what it was worth after its previous raise in November. That investment included contributions from Nvidia Corp. and several other institutional investors. The report cautioned that the terms of the company’s latest raise could change before the transaction closes.

Together’s cloud platform provides access to top-end H100 and A100 graphics processing units from Nvidia. Customers can deploy those GPUs in clusters of between 16 and 2,048 chips. The platform spares companies the hassle of building AI infrastructure from scratch, a complex undertaking made especially difficult by the fact that high-end GPUs are currently in short supply.

Alongside hardware, Together offers several software features designed to ease the task of training large language models. Most notably, the company’s cloud is equipped with an open-source performance optimization tool called FlashAttention-2.

GPU clusters include several types of memory that AI models can use to store the data they process. The fastest memory type, SRAM, is built directly into the graphics cards and is available in only limited quantities. FlashAttention-2 allows AI models to leverage SRAM more extensively than would otherwise be possible and thereby reduce their use of a GPU’s cluster slower memory pools, which increases performance.

Together’s customers also have access to a training dataset called RedPajama-Data-v2. The company, which developed the dataset in-house, says that it includes more than 100 billion documents written in five languages. Together claims customers can easily filter documents that don’t align with an AI project’s requirements, which is usually a highly time-consuming process.

Once a neural network exits the development phase, it’s usually made available to workloads via an application programming interface. Together says its cloud lends itself to that use case as well. The platform monitors the volume of API requests sent to AI models running on its platform and automatically adds capacity when needed.

The funding round Together is reportedly raising could make it easier for the company to finance product development efforts. As of last November, a single H100 graphics card reportedly retailed for between $25,000 and $40,000. Alongside GPUs, a cloud provider seeking to expand its AI infrastructure must also buy a significant amount of auxiliary hardware that further drives up procurement costs.

Together’s competitors have also ramped up their fundraising efforts recently. Lambda Inc., another startup with an AI-optimized cloud platform, today announced that it has closed a $320 million round at a $1.5 billion valuation. Last year, CoreWeave Inc. raised $2.3 billion in debt financing from Coatue, one of the investors expected to back Together’s new round, and a half-dozen other institutional backers. 

Photo: Unsplash

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