GPU cloud upstart CoreWeave gets $1.1B injection as AI hype train chugs on

A $19B valuation sounds like a lot, but then you look at OpenAI

AI cloud firm CoreWeave scored $1.1 billion in a recent investment round, bringing its valuation up to $19 billion.

The backers that furnished CoreWeave with over a billion dollars were led by investment firm Coatue and included others, most notably Fidelity, according to a Wall Street Journal report. CoreWeave's new valuation is well ahead of similar operators like Lambda and Voltage Park, which were most recently valued at $1.5 billion and $1 billion respectively.

CoreWeave's previous investment round was five months ago, and it received $642 million on the basis of a $7 billion valuation, so we're looking at a near tripling in value. That said, among the wider world of AI startups, CoreWeave is well behind OpenAI, which is valued at $90 billion.

CoreWeave's business model is pretty simple: Buy Nvidia GPUs to rent out to companies through the cloud. As of November, CoreWeave has 22,000 H100 GPUs to power its datacenters. The $1.1 billion investment is for expanding CoreWeave's presence into Europe and other parts of the world, and likely buying up more GPUs, too. Founded in 2017, CoreWeave is based in New Jersey on the US East Coast.

In addition to seeking funding via additional investments, CoreWeave is using its H100 GPUs as collateral, which secured it a $2.3 billion loan in August. This tactic has certainly allowed the biz to access a big line of credit, but using its key asset as collateral could be risky. If CoreWeave fails to pay up on time, then it could lose the very thing that makes its business model actually work.

Such a thing happening may not be unrealistic, as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned last week that AI investments will take time to transform into profits. The stock market didn't take the news very well, and Meta's share price is down about 11 percent since then.

Stability AI may already be a real world example of this happening, as it paid $99 million in cloud computing costs to Amazon, Google, and CoreWeave to make just $11 million during 2023. The AI startup unsurprisingly ran out of cash and reportedly didn't fully pay its bills, including to CoreWeave.

But as long as the investments keep pouring in, CoreWeave has plenty of time and opportunity to make its GPU cloud rain, so to speak. ®

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