Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaque resigns Stability AI founder and CEO Emad Mostaque resigns
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Following the resignation of top researchers at Stability AI earlier this week its original founder and CEO Emad Mostaque has also stepped down, according to a statement put out by the company on its website and emailed to journalists including VentureBeat.

“I am proud two years after bringing on our first developer to have led Stability to hundreds of millions of downloads and the best models across modalities,” Mostaque said in a prepared statement. “I believe strongly in Stability AI’s mission and feel the company is in capable hands. It is now time to ensure AI remains open and decentralised.”

Stability AI claimed Mostaque’s resignation was to “to pursue decentralized AI.”

The company’s board has replaced Mostaque on an interim basis with Stability’s chief operating officer (COO) Shan Shan Wong and chief technology officer (CTO) Christian Laforte, as it begins a search for a permanent replacement.

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Read the full statement here.

Enormous impact

Mostaque founded Stability AI on his own in 2020 in London, UK and San Francisco, and self-funded/bootstrapped the company initially, financing and building a 4,000 Nvidia DGX A100 compute cluster that it made available to researchers from Stability AI as well as Patrick Esser from video AI startup, Runway and Robin Rombach from the Machine Vision & Learning research group at LMU Munich (formerly CompVis lab at Heidelberg University), combined with support from communities at Eleuther AI, LAION.

That all culminated in the release of the now wildly popular and heavily used open source text-to-image generation model Stable Diffusion in August 2022, before Stability AI took on outside investment of $101 million at $1 billion valuation a few months later.

Open-source Stable Diffusion models from Stability AI have since been taken and used to build and launch numerous other companies such as Leonardo AI,, and Visual Electric.

Altogether with these and numerous other apps, Stability has seen “hundreds of millions of downloads” of its models and is likely responsible for hundreds of millions, possibly billions, of AI images now found on the web.

It is no exaggerated to say that the boom in AI image generators and AI imagery more generally would not have occurred without Stable Diffusion.

A rocky reign

Stability AI had been plagued by sporadic bad press and reports of issues within the company for much of Mostaque’s tenure, with a major investigation by Forbes magazine last year indicating he exaggerated his resume and his role in founding the Stable Diffusion image generation models and his role in seeding rival image generation service Midjourney.

Mostaque denied that he had misled or exaggerated his resume, saying he didn’t technically have degrees from Oxford as listed because he didn’t attend his graduation ceremony despite presenting himself as such, but said he would pay to have them mailed to him, and told VentureBeat he was neuro-atypical and that people sometimes misinterpreted his directness.

Stability AI was sued by co-founder Cyrus Hodes in July 2023 over claims Mostaque deceived him about the company’s value when Hodes sold his 15 percent stake for $100 in 2021 and 2022.

Stability AI is also among the image and video AI generation companies named in a lawsuit by artists alleging the companies violated their copyright by scraping images without permission from the internet to train their AI models.

Sifted reported earlier this week that Rombach was leaving the company, and Forbes reported that “fellow researchers Andreas Blattmann and Dominik Lorenz…three of the five authors who developed the core Stable Diffusion research,” also exited the company.

Forbes further reported that Stability AI’s director of supercompute and strategic partnerships, Tyler Saltsman, also resigned recently, allegedly over frustrations with Stability AI’s commercialization efforts — the company introduced subscription membership tiers for commercial use of newer models in December 2023 priced around $20-per-month USD.

Stability AI raised a convertible note of $50 million from Intel in late 2023, Bloomberg reported after allegedly struggling to raise more at a $4 billion valuation.

Yet the company has continued shipping new, more powerful, faster, and more capable models through it all, including most recently, Stable Video 3D.

Mostaque, for his part, recently posted on his social account on the website X (formerly Twitter) that “I had a campaign against me to paint me as an unreliable liar grifter who doesn’t know AI & it took a while to get over being sad about that..Got cancelled in SV [Silicon Valley] which is a very interesting type of cancelled. Very interesting backstory that that..” He also later posted that there was a “paid campaign” against him and suggested he would elaborate on it in future posts.

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