Ritual raises $25M to build a decentralized AI network. Image by ipopba, Adobe Stock.
Ritual, a startup based in San Francisco, has successfully raised $25 million in a seed funding round. The funding was led by venture capital firm Archetype, with participation from Robot Ventures and Canonical.
The primary goal of Ritual is to provide universal access to AI technology. Currently, access to high-quality AI models is primarily concentrated at big tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Meta. Ritual aims to address this issue by building an open, decentralized network for hosting, training, and running AI models.
The co-founder of Ritual, Niraj Pant, emphasized the threat posed by the consolidation of AI among a small group of powerful companies and stressed the importance of opening access to this critical infrastructure.
Democratizing Access to Cutting-Edge AI
Ritual’s network connects distributed computing devices to power various AI workloads, enabling anyone to participate in training and running models, not just large tech companies with massive computing resources. An API layer provides easy access to models hosted on the network, and a proof system offers guarantees around computational integrity. The decentralized nature of Ritual also makes it resistant to censorship and provides inherent data privacy and verifiability.
Ritual’s Unique Use Cases
Ritual’s decentralized approach enables unique use cases, such as autonomous agents and integrating AI with decentralized finance (DeFi) protocols to enable dynamic governance. The platform also claims to be the first to allow smart contracts to natively integrate AI capabilities. Enterprises can leverage the network for private fine-tuning and inference with foundation models.
A Strong Team to Realize the Vision
Ritual was founded by former investor at Polychain Capital, Niraj Pant, and machine learning researcher turned quant at Palantir, Akilesh Potti. The 15-person team combines experts from OpenAI, Coinbase, Palantir, and other leading technology companies. Ritual plans to use the new funding to build out the network, hire key roles, and grow its ecosystem of users. The company is targeting an alpha launch in early 2024.
Advisors include AI and crypto experts such as NEAR Protocol co-founder Illia Polosukhin, EigenLayer founder Sreeram Kannan, and Robot Ventures GP Tarun Chitra.
In conclusion, Ritual is set to contribute to long-term infrastructure for safe and secure open-source AI innovation across all industries, with the potential to power the next wave of growth and innovation.