AI Startup and Alexa Fund Investment DefinedCrowd Raises $11.8 Million
AI Startup DefinedCrowd has raised an $11.8 million series A round led by Evolution Equity Partners according to a media release today. Kibo Ventures, Master Card and EDP (Energias de Portugal) came aboard as new investors. Previous investors from a $1.1 million seed funding round in 2016 also participated, including Sony, Portugal Ventures, Busy Angels and the Amazon Alexa Fund. The company has previously participated in three different accelerator programs operated by UPTECH, Microsoft and Startup Lisboa. Two headquartered are operated out of Seattle and Lisbon, Portugal.
DefinedCrowd claims to have grown six times over the past year and will apply the new funding to product development, hiring, marketing and sales. Dennis Smith, Founder and Managing Partner at Evolution Equity Partners, has joined DefinedCrowd’s board and commented:
DefinedCrowd’s SaaS platform has very quickly positioned the company as an innovative leader to solve AI/ML’s global most pressing problem, the need for continuous access to highly accurate data.
Collecting Training Data to Make AI Better
Earlier this year, DefinedCrowd announced its SaaS platform designed to help data scientists more easily manage their training data. TechCrunch quoted DefinedCrowd CEO Daniela Braga in January as saying:
“Our value proposition is around quality of data, speed and scale. There is a challenge that if you use bad data, then you get garbage out of the [AI] model. We are solving these pain points, which were my own pain points when I started my career as a data scientist.”
The bigger asset may well be its Neevo community of 45,000 people that are paid to perform tasks such as labeling speech or images. Much of AI is still manual and Neevo is DefinedCrowd’s own version of Mechanical Turk. Crowdsourcing information can help data scientists and AI researchers collect and label data used to test their algorithms. The company says it can support 46 languages through Neevo and claims data quality is 98% accurate. DefinedCrowd says BMW, MasterCard, Nuance and Yahoo Japan are customers.
Crowdsourcing AI Data is Not New
DefinedCrowd is not the only company competing in this space. Mighty Ai raised $14 million in a January 2017 round led by Intel Capital for it’s own training-data-as-a-service SaaS and community based solution. Post-money valuation of that transaction was $85 million compared to $38 million for DefinedCrowd. It’s not clear which is further along, but there are plenty of opportunities to differentiate product offerings in a very broad space.