Canotic is a new artificial intelligence startup based in Seattle and Berlin that today announced a $5.3 million seed round led by Seattle-based PSL Ventures and London-based Mosaic Ventures, with participation from East Ventures and other angels.
What they do: Canotic helps enterprise companies apply AI and machine learning to unstructured datasets without the need for top data scientists. Much like a traditional software compiler automatically and quickly transforms computer code from one programming language to another without human intervention, Canotic does the same for ingesting and analyzing data with AI and ML. Its data programs can label complex unstructured data; create real-time production AI APIs; and much more.
“We believe that in the way the software compiler changed the role of computers for the previous generation, our proprietary ‘AI compiler’ will do the same for the AI-first generation,” said Canotic CEO Brad Cordova.
The company launched last year and has a handful of customers across IT, manufacturing, and agriculture industries. It has less than 10 employees but expects to reach 30 people in the next few months.
Why it matters: There’s been a lot of hype about AI, but actually implementing the technology can be expensive and time-consuming. There also aren’t many AI experts to do the work — just 22,000 PhD-educated researchers are working on AI, according to a study by Element Data.
Companies pay Canotic to make this process easier and faster. For example, agriculture companies are using Canotic to analyze drone data and figure out which plants need more or less fertilizer. Other customers use Canotic to decompose meeting audio data and produce textual summaries of key points, action items, sentiment, and etc., all in real time.
There are similar startups trying to “democratize AI,” including fellow Seattle company OneClick.AI.
Who they are: Cordova previously co-founded AI mobility startup TrueMotion during his PhD studies at MIT. He was named to the Forbes “30 under 30” list last year. His co-founder, CTO Henry Setiawan, was previously a principal software design engineer at Microsoft Research. Setiawan also worked at Google Brain and BlueKai; he has a PhD in computer science. “We cannot imagine two individuals better equipped to deliver on this bold vision than Brad and Henry,” PSL Ventures Managing Director Julie Sandler, who will join the Canotic board, said in a statement.
In their words: “Because of the AI compiler we can create machine learning applications very fast, very cheaply, and very scalably,” Cordova told GeekWire. “Our competitive advantage is not that we can do anything better compared to someone who had near infinite amounts of time, money, and access to ‘unicorn’ machine learning engineers, but instead we can do 90 percent what that expert does in 1/1000th of the time and cost — which for 99 percent of businesses is the difference between success and failure of an internal AI initiative to get insights from the data.”