The AI image generator Stable Diffusion, which has attracted a large following, has now become the platform for enthusiasts experimenting with AI technology to create and share their own models. Civitai, a startup founded by CEO Justin Maier, allows users to upload their Stable Diffusion-based AI models and browse AI photos. Maier identified the need for a place where people could share their models and work, after working on web development projects at Microsoft. He was inspired by Midjourney, a text-based generator, but was limited by its credits-based plan. With the rise of Stable Diffusion, people began sharing their own models, resulting in Maier founding Civitai. The site has grown rapidly, with over 3 million registered users and 12 to 13 million unique visitors each month. With the ability to train new models on the site, the number of unique creators is increasing. In June, Civitai raised a $5.1 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The platform allows users to create their own images using different styles and base models. Civitai handles copyright issues by allowing artists to flag resources they believe are using their work and negotiating with the user. Maier envisions a future where artists can monetize their work, such as allowing brands to create unique concepts using AI. The company plans to create a consumer-facing mobile app and focus on allowing users to monetize their work. In the long term, the startup aims to expand to other modalities beyond AI image models.

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