November 28, 2023

Pika Launches AI Video-Creation Platform, Announces $35M Series A

Pika, the company redesigning the entire video-making and editing experience with AI, is making its public debut.

The launch comes alongside the announcement of its $35 million Series A round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners.

“Our vision for Pika is to enable everyone to be the director of their own stories and to bring out the creator in each of us,” stated the company in a blog post. “Today, we reached a milestone that brings us closer to our vision.” 

An Idea-to-video platform

Founded by Demi Guo, CEO, and Chenlin Meng, CTO, both former PhD students from Stanford University’s renowned AI Labs, Pika Labs is unveiling Pika 1.0. 

The update introduces a new AI model capable of generating and editing videos in diverse styles, including 3D animation, anime, and cinematic genres.

Pika’s features allow users to create short, high-quality videos from text, image, and video inputs, adjust camera movement, and extend videos to any length.

Since launching in beta on Discord this April, Pika has accumulated over half a million users who generate millions of videos each week. 

Pika-generated videos have gained significant visibility on social media platforms, with the #pikalabs hashtag amassing nearly 30 million views on TikTok alone.

Creativity meets AI

“While Pika Labs is just launching publicly today for the first time ever, the story of the world’s best AI video team was being written many years ago,” Michael Mignano, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, wrote on X, formerly Twitter. 

“Founders Demi Guo and Chenlin Meng were all but destined to build Pika.”

Guo grew up with a passion for poetry and creative writing, while Meng dreamed of becoming an animator. Ultimately, both women’s passions would lead them to computer programming, where they both excelled, gaining PhDs from Stanford University. 

Before Stanford, Guo also worked as the youngest full-time employee at Meta AI Research during her sophomore year in college and has won numerous international awards in software development.

Meng has published over 28 research papers in the last three years, including Denoising Diffusion Implicit Models (DDIM). Now a default approach for content generation, DDIM has been widely used in OpenAI’s DALLE-2, Google’s Imagen, and Stability AI’s Stable Diffusion. Her professional experiences at Google Brain and Stability AI further cemented her impact on AI research.

Video creation for the everyday consumer

While many AI video tools target professionals and commercial applications, Pika focuses on an effortless and accessible video-making and editing experience for everyday consumers and creators.

Pika aims to empower anyone to become a creative director, democratizing high-quality video content creation.

“My Co-Founder and I are creatives at heart,” Guo said in a press statement. “We know firsthand that making high-quality content is difficult and expensive, and we built Pika to give everyone, from home users to film professionals, the tools to bring high-quality video to life.

“Our vision is to enable anyone to be the director of their stories and to bring out the creator in all of us.”

Series A

This $35 million Series A round brings Pika to $55 million in the company’s first six months. Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross led the Pre-Seed and Seed rounds. 

Additional investors include other prominent angel investors in AI, including Elad Gil, Adam D’Angelo (Quora), Andrej Karpathy, Clem Delangue (Hugging Face, Factorial Capital), Craig Kallman (Atlantic Records) and Alex Chung (Giphy).

Venture firms such as Homebrew, Conviction Capital, SV Angel, and Ben’s Bites also participated.

“Given such an impressive technical foundation, rooted in an early passion for creativity, the Pika team seems destined to change how we all share our stories visually,” said Mignano.

“At Lightspeed, we couldn’t be more excited to support their mission to allow anyone to bring their creative vision to life through video, and we’re thrilled to be investing alongside other amazing investors at the forefront of AI.”

Samara Linton

Community Manager at POCIT | Co-editor of The Colour of Madness: Mental Health and Race in Technicolour (2022), and co-author of Diane Abbott: The Authorised Biography (2020)