No, it's not bingo at your local silicon chip enthusiast meetup, and no, I am not trying to game Google's search algorithms (well, maybe just a bit). Rather, it's a combination of technologies that are predicted to become critical for the future of the Internet of Things across industries as diverse as shipping and security. One way to get all these technologies into single devices is just to agglomerate a bunch of off-the-shelf silicon chips and jam them into a product. Take a wireless radio chip, add some computing capacity, add some AI chip wizardly and voilà, you have yourself a modern IoT device. There's just one problem: These devices often have a lot of constraints.
Verta, an AI/ModelOps company whose founder created the open source ModelDB catalog for versioning models, has launched with a $10 million Series A led by Intel Capital. The Verta system tackles what is becoming an increasingly familiar problem: not only enabling ML models to get operationalized, but to track their performance and drift over time. Verta is hardly the only tool in the market to do so, but the founder claims that it tracks additional parameters not always caught by model lifecycle management systems. While Verta shares some capabilities with the variety of data science platforms that have grown fairly abundant, its focus is more on the operational challenges of deploying models and keeping them on track. As noted, it starts with model versioning, ModelDB was created by Verta founder Manasi Vartak, a software engineering veteran of Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, as part of her doctoral work at MIT. It versions four aspects of models, encompassing code, data sources, hyperparameters, and the compute environment on which the model was designed to run.
RTIH rounds up the retail technology startups who have been making waves with major investments. Syte, an Israeli artificial intelligence tech startup that powers visual search for the likes of M&S and boohoo, has raised $21.5 million in a Series B round led by Viola Ventures. Smart grocery cart startup Caper has closed a $10 million Series A led by Lux Capital. The round also saw participation from First Round Capital, Y Combinator, Hardware Club, FundersClub, Sidekick Fund and Red Apple Group. Akeneo, a US-based SaaS venture that provides product information management solutions for omnichannel retailers and brands, has raised $46 million in a funding round led by Summit Partners.
Amperity, a Seattle, WA-based AI-powered Customer Data Management platform, raised a $50M Series C financing. Backers included Tiger Global Management, Goldman Sachs, Declaration Partners, Madera Technology Partners, Madrona Venture Group, and Lee Fixel. The company, which has now raised total funding to-date to $87m, intends to use the funds to accelerate new capabilities, as well as expand into new verticals including financial services, automotive, insurance, and healthcare, while continuing to grow within the retail, travel, and hospitality industries. Led by Kabir Shahani, CEO and co-founder, Amperity leverages artificial intelligence to provide a Customer Data Management platform for companies to connect, identify, and understand their customers, improve marketing performance, accelerate accurate customer insights, and enable customer experiences. The company serves brands such as Alaska Airlines, Starbucks, The Gap Inc, Moët Hennessy USA, Wynn Resorts, Kendra Scott, Lucky Brand, Planet Fitness, Seattle Sounders, Stanley, and many more.
Marketers are increasingly using AI to streamline workflows and automate monotonous tasks. According to an Adobe survey, about 15 percent of agencies are already using some form of machine learning, and 31 percent are planning to adopt it by the end of 2019. London-based Adthena is hoping to lure some of those soon-to-be customers with its AI-driven search marketing intelligence platform. Roughly seven years after its founding and a year after it established a presence in the U.S., the company is today announcing that it has raised $14 million in a series A funding round led by Updata Partners, bringing its total venture capital raised to $18.1 million. Founder and CEO Ian O'Rourke says the funds will be used to accelerate the company's stateside and global growth and to "strengthen" product development as it prepares to launch new channels.
Alphabet is broken out into its core Google business and a number of other subsidiaries, which it deems "Other Bets." The majority of Google's business comes from advertising revenues, which the company generates through its search engine as well as a number of other Google-affiliated and partnership websites. Outside of search and advertising, Google generates revenue from products including cloud and enterprise, consumer hardware, mapping, and YouTube. In addition to Google, Alphabet encompasses a host of other subsidiaries called "Other Bets." These companies are more experimental in nature, and as a result are not material to Alphabet's bottom line.
Above the Trend Line: your industry rumor central is a recurring feature of insideBIGDATA. In this column, we present a variety of short time-critical news items grouped by category such as people movements, funding news, financial results, industry alignments, rumors and general scuttlebutt floating around the big data, data science and machine learning industries including behind-the-scenes anecdotes and curious buzz. Our intent is to provide you a one-stop source of late-breaking news to help you keep abreast of this fast-paced ecosystem. We're working hard on your behalf with our extensive vendor network to give you all the latest happenings. Be sure to Tweet Above the Trend Line articles using the hashtag: #abovethetrendline.
Lucidworks has technically raised about $59 million since it was founded about a decade ago in 2007 and last took in $6 million debt financing in 2016. However, Hayes says he hit the reset button when he took the reins in 2014, so the official war chest stands at about $23 million. The shuffle makes Lucidworks a Series D company playing in a Series B ballpark, as it prepares to raise a new round of money. Its Series $21 million Series D raise in 2015 included Allegis Capital, Shasta Ventures and Granite Ventures.
Paul Allen's artificial-intelligence research outfit is opening its doors to a handful of startups, dangling $250,000 in funding and the promise of opportunities to draw on the human brain power of its in-house Ph.D.s. The Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence has already lent a hand to a couple of Seattle startups that have gone on to success. Kitt.ai was recently acquired by Chinese search giant Baidu, and Xnor.ai has raised a round of venture capital funding. As of Tuesday, AI2, as the research unit calls itself, is seeking applications for startups to follow in those companies' footsteps. "We've decided to formalize and double down" on that work, said Oren Etzioni, the institute's chief executive.