The companies that are out there in the market, in order to serve their objectives better, need significant funding. In particular, for startups, fundraising is crucial to harness their rich potential to contribute to the growth of their respective industry and market. Without a funding source, a business, specially technology-business will flounder under the weight of its own debt. With the advancements in technology, the requirements, assets, and liabilities of such firms have grown exponentially in recent years. Amid this, funding works as a fuel on which a business runs and excels. When it comes to technologies like omnipresent AI or artificial intelligence, the pressure naturally increases to thrive in the market where big techs like Google, Microsoft, and significant others are operating. To rise amid this pressure, funding becomes even more vital for emerging businesses either to establish their offices, teams, equipment or technological portfolio.
By the end of last year, we observed a number of startups receiving funding to propel the boundaries of their AI capabilities to the sky limit. Therefore, Analytics Insight has enlisted the top 10 AI funding that made headlines in December 2019.
The San Deigo-based startup, Accel Robotics has recently announced a US$ 30 million Series A funding round led by SoftBank Group Corp. The company is focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and computer vision for checkout-free stores. It’s Series A funding includes existing investors like New Ground Ventures, Toyo Kanetsu Corporate Venture Investment Partnership, and RevTech Ventures, in addition to SoftBank.
The funding will enable Accel Robotics to enhance its expansion worldwide by growing operations, increasing manufacturing capacity, and streamlining its expanding deployment pipeline. Previously, the company had received a funding of US$ 7 million and the recent funding will be built on that to bring Accel Robotics’s total capital up to US$ 37 million.
Talking about SoftBank’s funding, Brandon Maseda, CEO, Accel Robotics said, “We are excited to partner with the team at SoftBank Group to help scale our frictionless commerce platform with retailers and brands around the world.”
PerceptiLabs, the San Francisco-based startup helps businesses efficiently utilize ML through its powerful drag-and-drop tool. The company has recently raised US$2 million in seed funding from Luminar Ventures and Brightly Ventures. Brightly Ventures, notably, has been funded from start by well-known angel tech-investors Hans Victor and Henrik von Schoultz who are also participating in this round along with Sting.
PerceptiLabs works with tech giant Google and offers an intuitively designed and powerful platform to enable companies to easily build complex ML models, without needing to code them, in turn simplifying the process of managing and monitoring ML models in production.
According to IEEE-USA Salary & Benefits Salary, the engineers with machine learning knowledge earn on average US$185,000 per year, making it impossible for many companies to recruit specialists within this field.
Therefore, the funding will enable PerceptiLabs, which has already launched several projects with some of the United States’ biggest technology companies, to gain momentum in the ML, and to expand its reach at the global level.
Martin Isaksson, PerceptiLabs CEO said, “Just as Apple and Microsoft paved the way for millions of personal computer users by introducing an attractive graphical user interface (GUI), rather than cumbersome command-line computing, PerceptiLabs is doing the same, but for AI models.” He further quoted, “this seed funding will enable us to scale and expand globally, and we are delighted to welcome Luminar Ventures and Brightly Ventures on board as we embark on the next stage of our journey.”
Augtera Networks announced in December 2019 that it has raised US$4 million for the industry’s first AI platform for networks. The company’s solution, which is built from the ground up for networks, brings the benefits of AI-augmented operations, planning, and orchestration to physical, virtual and cloud network environments. Moreover, the recent funding will enable Augtera to expand operations to support existing and rapidly growing production deployments across Global 1000 companies, scale strategic partnerships and accelerate adoption.
According to a report, Bain Capital Ventures led the round with participation from aCrew Capital. With this announcement, Enrique Salem, partner at Bain Capital Ventures and former CEO of Symantec, joins Augtera’s board of directors.
Rahul Aggarwal, founder, and CEO, Augtera Networks said, “the current paradigm of building and operating networks relies on engineering and operations teams to manually mine and find needles in an increasingly large and multi-layered haystack of data. These teams are not able to leverage the richness of the network data and their workflows are reactive while serving applications, customers and users that depend on the network. Augtera’s proprietary AI technology powered by a holistic network model finds the needles in the haystack automatically and proactively and enables a paradigm shift.”
According to Enrique Salem, “Augtera has built a ground-breaking AI system with algorithms designed specifically for networks, and we are already witnessing the efficacy and commercial potential of its highly-differentiated product in a number of customer environments. As an early investor, we are thrilled to partner with Rahul and Bhupesh and look forward to playing an active part in the company’s growth and success.”
Theresia Gouw, co-founder of aCrew Capital, “We are excited to be partnering with Rahul and Bhupesh, who bring world-class domain expertise that is needed to unlock the tremendous value of applying machine learning to the networking domain. We look forward to our journey ahead with them.”
The tech startup, Cosmose AI, that understands, predicts and influences how 1 billion people shop offline, has raised €10.8 seed investment. The funding was led by TDJ Pitango and OTB Ventures, to fund startup’s international expansion and help it become the global leader in offline behavioral solutions.
Moreover, the AI-driven startup has tripled its revenue in the last 12 months and continues to gather pace in the world’s biggest commerce market, China. According to a report, with this investment, Cosmose AI will focus on expanding operations to Japan and opening a Paris office to serve European luxury brands targeting the Chinese traveler market – which accounts for 21 percent of global tourism spending.
Besides, the company has added industry gurus, Ohad Finkelstein and Raymond Zage, to its board. Ohad currently serves as an Advisor to the CEO of Walmart, a board member of OneWeb and co-founded Marker LLC. Raymond Zage, a former CEO of Farallon Capital Asia and a member of the boards of Go-Jek and Toshiba, has almost three decades of investing experience in Asia.
Miron Mironiuk, CEO and founder of Cosmose AI said, “Machine learning allows us to increase the accuracy of location positioning to 1.6 meters, predict who is likely to visit a certain store and how to provide relevant consumer experience. In China, we’ve seen great results from retailers using Cosmose and now we are setting our sights further afield as we take on this new investment.”
Adam Niewinski, the Managing Partner at OTB Ventures, added, “Cosmose is a perfect example of our strategy, investing only in companies with globally unique and superior technology that can disrupt legacy markets. Cosmose combines accuracy with simplicity on an unprecedented scale and therefore disrupting marketing and retail.”
Current Health is a company that offers the leading FDA-cleared, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered patient management platform. The company recently announced it has closed a US$11.5 million (£9 million) Series A funding round led by MMC Ventures. Legal & General, the FTSE 100 life insurer and asset manager, is Current Health’s first corporate investor and the largest investor in the round as it continues to invest in the future infrastructure of healthcare globally. The funding, reportedly, will be used to scale Current Health’s platform, with the goal of preventing illness for one million patients around the world by 2021. Par Equity and Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, also participated in this round.
Founded in Scotland in 2015, Current Health uses wearable and wireless vital signs monitoring, clinical indicators from an ecosystem of more than 50 integrations and symptoms collected via its patient engagement tools, to continuously track patient health trends. Leveraging proprietary machine learning algorithms, the company’s end-to-end platform analyzes this data to proactively detect illness and alert providers to high-risk patients so they can deliver healthcare earlier.
Moreover, as of now around 13 of the largest healthcare systems in the United States and United Kingdom – including Mount Sinai and Dartford & Gravesham NHS Trust – use Current Health to manage patient care. With the Current Health platform, customers have been able to shorten hospital stays, reduce hospital readmission rates, improve patient satisfaction and deliver better patient outcomes.
Bruce Macfarlane, Managing Partner at MMC Ventures said, “healthcare is undergoing a paradigm shift from reactive, in-hospital treatment, to proactive, community-based care. Today’s healthcare systems must deliver improved patient outcomes while reducing costs. Current Health’s revolutionary solution offers unprecedented insight into patients’ health. Reliable, continuous patient monitoring enables earlier intervention in the event of patient deterioration, better patient experiences and fewer unnecessary hospital readmissions. With its world-class team and platform, Current Health has the right fundamentals to execute on a vast opportunity and become a global category leader in this important market.”
Chris Knight, CEO, Legal & General Retail Retirement asserted, “Current Health is helping change the fundamentals of healthcare by expanding the accessibility and affordability of care through its patient management platform. We strongly believe in its mission and approach and are excited to partner with the company as it continues to scale its solution globally. Our investment in Current Health reinforces our commitment to provide innovative solutions to help improve personal well-being. It demonstrates our commitment to helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.”
Iterable is a cross-channel growth marketing platform, that has recently announced the close of a US$ 60 million Series D funding round of primary capital led by Viking Global Investors, with participation from several key investors from Iterable’s US$50 million Series C funding round earlier last year: CRV, Index Ventures, Blue Cloud Ventures, Harmony Partners, and Stereo Capital. This second round of financing in less than 12 months brings Iterable’s total capital raised to over US$140 million.
This announcement signs of a tremendous year of growth at Iterable where the company opened new offices in London and Denver to house its expanding workforce, launched its metadata-driven individualization engine, Iterable Catalog, and was also recognized as a Strong Performer in The Forrester WaveTM: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q4 2019 report.
Moreover, Iterable will use this new funding to further expand the core platform, invest in emerging engagement technologies and scale its global offices across San Francisco, New York City, Denver, and London.
Justin Zhu, co-founder, and CEO of Iterable said, “Deploying the modern growth stack is no longer a secret strategy reserved for Silicon Valley startups. Mainstream companies around the world are adopting highly integrated best-of-breed solutions and leveraging their own data—in real-time—to achieve growth and customer engagement never seen before. Iterable is at the core of this stack: Our customers are consolidating email service providers, mobile point solutions and homegrown messaging systems into one platform, using Iterable to gain a unified view of their customers. With Iterable, brands have one platform to create, run and iterate on the best way to engage with each customer across their lifecycle.”
Matt Annerino, VP of Growth, CRM & Media at Fender quoted, “Iterable has helped our team ignite a digital transformation of our brand, and we’re excited to see how their exponential growth will enable our own. As a core platform in our marketing stack, Iterable allows us to maximize engagement, retention and lifetime value.”
Former McKinsey enterprise analyst and Morgan Stanley affiliate Bryan O’Connell based Huckleberry is a provider constructed on a strong cloud-based software program and knowledge science and analytics backend. The San Francisco-based firm ambitiously goals to digitize the acquisition and administration of economic insurance, a class of protection that’s notoriously sluggish to purchase and which traditionally has been wrapped up in layers of forms. And Huckleberry has achieved a measure of success thus far, with investments from Great Oaks Venture Capital, Promus Ventures, and others.
Recently, the startup introduced that it has raised US$18 million in the collection A funding led by Tribe Capital, with follow-on investments from Amaranthine, Crosslink Capital, and Uncork Capital. It comes after a US$ 4 million seed spherical in March 2018 and brings the corporation’s complete raised to over US$ 20 million. O’Connell says the funding will speed up the growth of Huckleberry’s operations (together with engineering, knowledge science, and advertising) and its insurance choices in private care, auto restore, eating places, and different verticals.
O’Connell said, “Huckleberry was born due to the painful process I encountered when purchasing business insurance at a prior startup. Having worked at an insurance carrier, I knew that it was possible to build a platform that eliminates tedious offline paperwork and puts the small business owner first.”
He also said, “our biggest challenge is navigating 50 states’ worth of extremely complicated regulations on something that is much more complicated than a software product. We’re trying to protect individual workers and businesses all while staying fully compliant in every market.”
Paige which is the leader in computational pathology transforming the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, announced in December 2019 that it has closed its Series B funding round of US$ 45 million. Post this the company’s total capital has been raised to over US$ 70 million. Healthcare Venture Partners brought the largest contribution to the round, with Breyer Capital, Kenan Turnacioglu, and other funds participating. The funded amount will be used by Paige to drive FDA clearance of its products and expand its portfolio while delving deeper into cancer pathology, novel biomarkers, and prognostic capabilities. Moreover, the company will accelerate commercial efforts in the US and expansion in Europe, Brazil, and Canada.
Reportedly, Paige continues its mission to create and deliver advanced computational diagnostics for pathologists and oncologists, which have been shown to work effectively across different slide preparation methodologies and the scanners used to digitize the images. The company plans to deliver the powerful technology via partnerships, such as the recently announced Philips deal and Paige’s own AI-native platform, which is designed to help doctors maximize the benefits of these solutions while addressing the infrastructure and interoperability hurdles encountered by many of the early adopters of digital pathology.
Leo Grady, CEO at Paige said, “this influx in funding reflects the acknowledgment and recognition that Paige’s technology is ready for prime time. We believe that AI will have a transformative impact on pathology and cancer care by improving pathology quality, throughput, costs and by enabling new biomarkers and diagnostics. We are committed to offering these powerful technologies to hospitals around the world, and helping biopharma more effectively treat their patients and bring new therapies to market faster.”
Thomas Fuchs, Founder of Paige and a researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) added, “The funding comes on the heels of a milestone year: Paige achieved the first FDA breakthrough designation for AI technology in Pathology and Oncology and later received the first CE mark in the space.”
Hugging Face, a computer software company that specializes in conversational artificial intelligence has raised a US$15 million funding round led by Lux Capital. The company first built a mobile app that lets you chat with an artificial BFF which is a type of chatbot for bored teenagers. Hugging Face has recently released an open-source library for NLP applications which went on to become massively successful.
A.Capital, Betaworks, Richard Socher, Greg Brockman, Kevin Durant, and others also participated in the funding round. With this funding, Hugging Face plans to triple its headcount in New York and Paris.
Moreover, the company launched its original chatbot app back in early 2017. After months of work, the startup wanted to prove that chatbots don’t have to be a glorified command-line interface for customer support. With the app, people could generate a digital friend and text back and forth with their companion. And it wasn’t just about understanding what they meant — the app tried to detect their emotions to adapt answers based on their feelings.
In a recent post on Medium, VC Brandon Reeves from Lux Capital wrote that “More than 1,000 companies are using Hugging Face’s technology in production across applications such as text classification, information extraction, summarization, sentiment analysis, text generation, and conversational artificial intelligence. The models and APIs are used by startups to some of the largest tech companies with open source contributors spanning researchers from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and many more.”
According to Hugging Face CEO Clément Delangue, tech companies can’t build open-source NLP on their own because research and engineering teams appear to be completely disconnected. Hugging Face and the 200 contributors to its open-source project instead focuses on providing state-of-the-art performance.
Anyscale, the distributed programming platform company, last month announced US$20.6 million in Series A funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from NEA, Intel Capital, Ant Financial, Amplify Partners, 11.2 Capital, and The House Fund. The company plans to expand its leadership team and amplify its contribution to the open-source community through this funding.
With the power of Ray, Anyscale simplifies distributed programming. Applications built with Ray can easily be scaled out from a laptop to a cluster, eliminating the need for in-house distributed computing expertise and resources. Supported by a rich ecosystem of libraries and applications, Anyscale helps software developers and machine learning engineers scale their applications quickly and easily. With these tools, Anyscale removes the barriers to entry for building scalable distributed applications that have held organizations back from reaping the benefits of all the recent advances in AI.
Robert Nishihara, co-founder, and CEO, Anyscale quoted, “As the adoption of Ray has grown, we’ve seen it become the open-source project of choice for scaling complex distributed applications from a laptop to a datacenter. As distributed computing continues to grow, the natural next step is to bring Ray to more organizations that can benefit from its capabilities. Our mission is to help more developers, enterprises, and organizations solve their problems without having to worry about scalable infrastructure and without needing to be experts in distributed computing. With this investment, we’ll fortify our ability to continuously improve Ray and grow our team to make this mission a reality.”
Moty Fania, Principal Engineer and Chief Technology Officer for Intel IT’s Enterprise and Platform Group said, “Intel IT has been leveraging Ray to scale Python workloads with minimal code modifications. With the implementation into Intel’s manufacturing and testing processes, we have found that Ray helps increase the speed and scale of our hyperparameter selection techniques and auto modeling processes used for creating personalized chip tests. For us, this has resulted in reduced costs, additional capacity, and improved quality.”
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