DefinedCrowd is raising more investment for its artificial intelligence training platform used by Fortune 500 enterprises across the world.
The Seattle-area startup has reeled in $10.8 million, according to a new SEC filing posted Friday, which lists the total offering amount at $11.8 million. UPDATE: On July 31, DefinedCrowd issued a press release indicating that it had raised $11.8 million from Evolution Equity Partners, Kibo Ventures, Mastercard, Energias de Portugal, Sony, Portugal Ventures, Amazon, and Busy Angels.
Founded in 2015, DefinedCrowd helps customers improve their AI services. The company uses a combination of machine learning tech with a crowdsourced community of 45,000 human contributors to train AI systems in 46 languages across 53 countries.
DefinedCrowd specializes in speech technology, natural language processing and computer vision, working with clients across industries such as automotive, energy, fin-tech, retail, media, and healthcare. Use cases include improving customer support and recognizing objects in photos.
DefinedCrowd is led by Daniela Braga, a former executive at VoiceBox Technologies and manager at Microsoft, where she spent seven years working on speech-related interfaces and technologies, including Cortana.
“We’re teaching robots to be smarter,” Braga said last year at the company’s TechCrunch Disrupt presentation.
DefinedCrowd participated in the Microsoft Ventures Seattle Accelerator program in 2016. That year, it also raised a $1.1 million round from investors including Amazon’s Alexa Fund, Sony Innovation Fund, and Portugal Ventures.
The startup is also an official partner of Amazon, which recommends the service to developers as a way to improve voice interactions with Alexa. The Washington Post reported last week that Alexa struggles to hear users with accents.
DefinedCrowd is similar to MightyAI, another venture-backed Seattle-area startup that helps clients train AI models.
The startup also competes with other crowdsourcing platforms like Amazon’s MechanicalTurk or CrowdFlower.
“Existing SaaS companies like CrowdFlower or MechanicalTurk can’t maintain quality,” Braga said during her TechCrunch pitch. “They are 50 percent less accurate and take about six months of iterations to get the process right. Traditional professional services like iSoftStone … have higher quality but no control over the process. DefinedCrowd combines the best of both worlds: the high quality and reach of the professional services combined with the scale and control of the SaaS companies.”
Amy Du was the previous CEO of DefinedCrowd, but left in September 2016.
DefinedCrowd has 23 open positions at its offices in Bellevue, Wash.; Lisbon, Portugal; Porto, Portugal; and Tokyo, Japan, according to its career page.
The company declined to comment on the SEC filing.
In the press release on July 31, Braga noted:
“The AI revolution is increasing the need for high-quality data and it is highlighting the challenges inherent to training models with precision. With this funding, we’ll be able to continue growing our products, both the enterprise portal and Neevo. We will continue to execute on our machine learning roadmap, which makes us unique, and we will expand our world class technical sales team in order to serve our global clients even better.”