Stability AI faces leadership turmoil amid talent exodus

Stability AI Image credit: Koshiro K / Shutterstock.com

British artificial intelligence startup Stability AI has held early talks with potential buyers amid an exodus of senior staff and pressure from investors for its CEO to resign, according to reports.

The startup behind the Stable Diffusion image generator has participated in discussions with multiple companies over a potential takeover in recent weeks, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

It comes after Coatue Management, a New York-based fund that backed Stability last year, reportedly wrote to Stability last month calling for founder Emad Mostaque to step down as CEO.

The London-based company has become one of the UK’s biggest players in the generative AI space.

Founded in 2019, the firm – which develops generative AI tools that can create realistic images, audio and video in response to user prompts – has raised more than £120m and has been valued at $1bn.

UKTN has contacted Stability AI but did not receive a response at the time of publication.

A spokesman told The Telegraph: “While several parties have expressed interest in the purchase of Stability, we are not trying to sell the company and are focused on releasing leading models.”

Coatue did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, 10 senior employees left Stability AI, Sifted reported in August. The startup’s head of audio resigned earlier this month, citing a disagreement with Stability AI’s stance of training generative AI models on copyright material under ‘fair use’.

A further two senior executives have since resigned.

Reports of internal turmoil at Stability AI come just a week after the chaos at OpenAI, the US startup behind advanced chatbot ChatGPT. The saga resulted in the reinstatement of ousted CEO Sam Altman.