Google’s new artificial intelligence investment arm has made one of its first bets, leading a $10.5 million Series A round in Seattle-based AI algorithm marketplace Algorithmia.
Algorithmia is essentially an app store for algorithms, the blueprints for modern computing that run so many of the vital internet services the world has come to depend on. It now has 3,500 algorithms in its marketplace, with a particular focus on machine learning and deep learning applications.
The company wants to make machine learning algorithms available to startups and companies that are never going to be able to afford to build that expertise in-house, which is precisely what all the major public cloud companies are thinking about as AI and machine learning research starts to have real-world applications. Google, in particular, has staked much of its pitch for cloud customers on bringing its world-class AI expertise to its cloud customers.
Google’s new AI investment group has been quiet since it was first outed a month ago. The group is led by Anna Patterson, vice president of engineering at Google, and Algorithmia CEO Diego Oppenheimer said the chance to have Patterson on its board was just too good to pass up after Google reached out to the company.
“She’s a role model for a diverse engineering work force and the exact kind of leadership we wanted to bring into our company,” Oppenheimer said. “Obviously we are thrilled with the outcome and that we get to do this all in Seattle.”
Algorithmia previously raised $2.4 million in seed funding in 2014 to build out that marketplace. Existing investors Madrona Venture Group, Rakuten Ventures, and Osage University Partners participated in this new round, joined by new investor Work-Bench. Algorithmia currently has 13 employees and plans to grow its headcount with the new funding, expanding to New York City in addition to its Seattle headquarters.
GeekWire identified Algorithmia as one of the ten most promising startups in the Seattle region back in 2015.
Here’s a video of Oppenheimer speaking earlier this month at the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit: