OpenAI Acquires Multi, Bolstering Desktop AI Capabilities

In a strategic move that further solidifies its position in the AI-driven enterprise solutions market, OpenAI has acquired Multi, a startup specializing in video-first collaboration and screensharing technologies. The acquisition, announced on June 24, 2024, comes just days after OpenAI’s purchase of database tech firm Rockset, signaling an aggressive expansion of the company’s capabilities.

Multi, formerly known as Remotion, was founded in 2019 by Alexander Embiricos and Charley Ho, with a focus on creating innovative tools for remote technical teams. The startup had raised $13 million in funding from notable investors including Greylock and First Round Capital before the acquisition.

Embiricos, Multi’s CEO, confirmed the news in a blog post, stating, “We’re beyond excited to share that Multi is joining OpenAI!” He emphasized the company’s recent shift in focus towards exploring how humans should work “with” computers and AI, describing it as “one of the most important product questions of our time.”

While the terms of the deal remain undisclosed, sources familiar with the matter have characterized it as an “acqui-hire,” with most of Multi’s five-person team set to join OpenAI. Specifically, the team will be integrated into OpenAI’s “ChatGPT desktop team,” responsible for developing the ChatGPT for Mac desktop app unveiled in May 2024.

This acquisition has sparked speculation about potential enhancements to OpenAI’s enterprise offerings. Industry observers suggest that Multi’s technology could be leveraged to allow AI models like GPT-4 to perform actions on users’ computers based on text or voice prompts, or to augment ChatGPT’s Team and Enterprise subscription plans with advanced collaboration features.

However, the acquisition comes with a bittersweet note for current Multi users. The company announced it will be sunsetting its existing platform on July 24, 2024, after which all user data will be deleted. Multi has provided instructions for users to export their data and has opened channels for those requiring extensions or assistance in finding alternative solutions.

This latest move by OpenAI aligns with its broader strategy of investing heavily in enterprise solutions. The company recently revealed that its corporate tier of ChatGPT boasts nearly 600,000 users, including 93% of Fortune 500 firms. With Multi’s expertise in collaborative technologies now under its belt, OpenAI seems poised to further enhance its offerings in the corporate space.