Clarifai goes beyond computer vision to manage unstructured business data – TechCrunch

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Clarifai wants to bring artificial intelligence into the lives of developers, business operators and data scientists so that they can automate and accelerate the development of their models.

Matt Zeiler founded the New York-based company in 2013 focused on computer vision. Since its $ 30 million Series B in 2016, Clarifai has rolled out new features and products targeting a company’s unstructured image, video, text and audio files.

New features include natural language processing, audio recognition, scanning and an automatic data labeling feature, Scribe, launched last year. It is also deploying its Edge AI capability that overlays AI on data streams using a variety of local hardware, from high-powered servers to cameras and drones. The company plans to unveil even more at its annual deep learning conference, Perceive 2021, on October 20.

Amidst all this activity – and to continue – Clarifai on Friday announced a $ 60 million Series C funding round, led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from existing investors Menlo Ventures, Union Square Ventures, Lux Capital, LDV Capital, Corazon Capital and NYU Innovation Venture Fund, and new investors CPP Investments, Next Equity Partners, SineWave Ventures and Trousdale Capital. The latest round brings the company’s total funding raised to $ 100 million.

“We were able to hold out for a long time without raising more funds,” Zeiler told TechCrunch. “We have significantly increased our revenues while controlling costs and operating efficiently. We saw an opportunity and increased the round.

This opportunity included building the right team to execute the company’s sales, he added. At the start of the business, the market was immature, so Clarifai started selling to small businesses and individuals. Now he is making deals with Fortune 500 companies as the market has matured.

For the company, “unstructured data” is data that the human brain is good at, but computers, like images, videos and text are not. This is something companies have consistently realized is of tremendous value, and in fact up to 95% of a company’s data is unstructured, providing “a huge opportunity” for Clarifai, Zeiler said.

When the company started seeing these corporate signals in the market, it turned to the C-series. It also partnered with Snowflake with an integration to link Clarifai to Snowflake’s recently released unstructured data carrier. .

“Snowflake has a $ 100 billion business built on structured data, and now he does unstructured data,” Zeiler added. “If customers store data with Snowflake, they can derive value from it, they need Clarifai’s AI to make sense of it. “

Clarifai product pipeline. Image credits: Clarifai

Meanwhile, the company has more than doubled its revenue over the past year and topped 130,000 users. The Series C funding enables Clarifai to grow its global team of 100 employees and expects to double that number by next year.

The company will also invest in sales and marketing, as well as international expansion. She already has an office in Estonia and Zeiler is considering Australia, India and Turkey, where she is accumulating more clients. It will also continue to work on its Edge AI product, which has just attracted its first commercial customer.

As part of the investment, Andrew Schoen, partner at NEA, joins the board of directors of Clarifai. The company had been on its radar for several years, but Schoen felt at the time that Clarifai was too early to invest.

“The early winds of AI were all around structured data, which was the fruit at hand since 90% of data is unstructured,” he said. “Now that the ecosystem is mature, companies are realizing the bottleneck of extracting all they can from structured data. Now they have all this unstructured data that they can’t use and it’s not well organized. Clarifai aims to solve this problem.

He sees Clarifai demystifying and democratizing AI and machine learning. Due to the company’s early focus on unstructured data, it has been successful in attracting early adopters and is now a leader in this field.

Additionally, he says the team has started an inflection point over the past 12 months with revenue projections and has a “growing well” business.

“The company had to work to attract customers and educate the market, but now instead of pushing the market, it pulls as companies look for solutions and see that Clarifai is the right product,” he said. added.


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