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London Tech Week

OpenAI, GitHub execs back this Seattle startup in their $6.7M round, find out why?

OpenPipe funding
Picture credits: OpenPipe

Seattle-based OpenPipe is a tool that lets developers create their own application-specific LLMs. Now, the company just bagged $6.7 million in seed funding. The round was led by Costanoa Ventures, with participation from Y Combinator and prominent angel investors, including Logan Kilpatrick, former head of developer relations at OpenAI, Alex Graveley, creator of GitHub Copilot, and Tom Preston-Werner, co-founder of GitHub.

The funds will be utilised to scale its team and accelerate product development.

What does OpenPipe do?

OpenPipe eyes to make smaller LLMs (Large Language Models) match or exceed the performance of much larger ones when specialised to a specific task. This specialisation is done through a process known as fine-tuning.

Fine-tuning the existing LLMs (Large Language Models) massively improves response quality and correctness, but many developers aren’t able to perform this task because of the complex workflow required. Existing tools are designed for engineers with specialised knowledge and skills in machine learning, which limits teams and organisations without a dedicated specialist.

Its platform allows developers to fine-tune models for accuracy, reducing latency and costs, enabling full-stack and AI engineers and developers to successfully train and deploy fine-tuned models without relying on data science and machine learning specialists.

It works by integrating into a customer’s existing codebase to collect their existing prompts, which are then used as training data to fine-tune a much smaller, more specialised model. Developers can then use the fine-tuned model as a drop-in replacement for their existing prompts.

Founded by Ex-Google, Palantir execs

Headquartered in Seattle, OpenPipe founded by brothers Kyle Corbitt and David Corbitt, who were working with top tech companies, including Google, Palantir, and Qualtrics. Kyle also led Y Combinator’s Startup School team serving over 100,000 startup founders worldwide. 

OpenPipe has partnered with several industry leaders to provide fine-tuning like Langfuse and Athina AI for data collection, and OctoAI and Fireworks AI to serve the completed models.

Its active customer base includes startups and enterprises that use fine-tuned models to perform critical business workflows, like translating and extracting information from government regulations, categorising and filtering YouTube videos based on transcripts, or routing inbound customer service requests to the appropriate teams. As per the company, it has helped customers save over $3M in inference costs since September 2023. 

“The biggest challenge we see for developers deploying LLM applications today is going from proof of concept to usage at scale,” said Kyle Corbitt, co-founder and CEO of OpenPipe. “OpenPipe enables teams to easily convert their prompts into production-ready fine-tuned models. These fine-tuned models allow developers to deliver a much snappier user experience at a much lower price point, without sacrificing quality.” 

“OpenPipe is paving the way for greater accessibility and usability of large language models,” said Tony Liu, Partner at Costanoa Ventures. “This investment underscores our belief in the profound impact OpenPipe will have in enhancing the productivity of developer teams and their ability to launch competitive go-to-market applications faster and with more precision.”

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