Posted by z3d in ArtInt

In December 2022, someone was looking for Emad Mostaque. The founder and CEO of Stability AI, one of the hottest startups in the nascent generative AI field, could not be found.

Even Mostaque’s wife, Zehra Qureshi, was not sure. She texted an employee, worried about Mostaque and noting that he’d left home in his pajamas.

Mostaque would soon reappear, brushing it off. But the bizarre episode hinted at a deeper dynamic destabilizing the AI unicorn. When Mostaque was gone, employees had to scramble to communicate with investors, who’d recently poured more than $100 million into the company and wanted to speak to their star founder. The relationship between Mostaque and Stability AI’s top investors, formed practically overnight, was vital to the company’s early success—even as it began to crack almost immediately. On Saturday, many months after a pressure campaign by investors to oust him had begun and questions about his credibility had been raised, Mostaque resigned from the company he founded.

It’s a stunning fall from grace for a founder who made headlines in 2022 when he nabbed a $1 billion valuation for his startup while raising its “seed” funding—the stage at which the median tech startup is typically valued at a mere $12 million, according to PitchBook.



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