DefinedCrowd Closes $11.8 million Series A Funding Round

Big news here at DefinedCrowd this week! Less than three years after our founding in August 2015, I’m beyond proud to announce the closing of an $11.8 million Series A funding round led by New York/Zurich based Evolution Equity Partners.

We’re delighted to welcome Kibo Ventures, EDP Ventures and Mastercard as new investors and are happy that Sony, Portugal Ventures, Amazon and Busy Angels have continued to put their faith in what we’re building.

It’s been a big year for us so far. In January, we publicly unveiled our SaaS platform, which helps data scientists collect, enrich, and structure data to train AI and ML models.

People have noticed.

“DefinedCrowd’s SaaS platform has very quickly positioned the company as an innovative leader to solve AI/ML’s global most pressing problem, the need for continuous access to highly accurate data,” says Dennis Smith, Founder and Managing Partner at Evolution Equity Partners and the newest member of DefinedCrowd’s Board of Directors.

Turns out he’s not the only one who’s been unable to resist jumping on board. In April, after opening our fourth office (the first in Tokyo), Stephen Rauch — a former Starbucks, HBO, and Microsoft Executive — joined DefinedCrowd as our VP of Product.

This Series A round is a real milestone for DefinedCrowd. Again, it’s only been three years since we started on this road, and we’re thrilled to have gotten ourselves to this mile-marker in such a short period of time.

It also means we’re raring to fuel up and drive on. After all, with over 500,000 processed units/day, a growing crowd on Neevo that’s already 45,000+ strong, and data collected in over 46 languages,  we’re used to moving fast around here.

AI models are like high-performance vehicles. Data is the fuel that keeps them running smoothly. Imagine you’re driving your brand new $500,000 Ferrari off the lot. You pull up to a gas station to fill up. Would you risk damaging that beautiful, 700 horsepower engine with unleaded fuel? No. You’re choosing premium. Only the highest quality will do.

That’s where we come in. We’ve been fueling the AI initiatives of Fortune 500 companies from day one. This new capital means we’ll be able to continue doing so, at larger scale, as we offer more clients more solutions to their AI needs.

Expect to hear more from us as we develop our product offering, double our team by December 31st, increase revenue six-fold, and rapidly increase our global market share through strategic partnerships (More coming on this soon!).

We also have big plans to grow and qualify our crowd on Neevo and ensure data security through GDPR compliance and ISO certifications.

2018’s already been a big year at DefinedCrowd, and the future looks bright. More big news coming. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you’re building something of your own, check out  our solutions, or write to us at sales@definedcrowd.com.

If you want to build with us, check our Careers Page for current openings.

Smart data has arrived in Tokyo!

We are thrilled to announce that DefinedCrowd has now an office in Tokyo! This is a huge milestone and we couldn’t be more honored and humbled to bring smart data to the top Japanese corporations who are leading the way in the Artificial Intelligence development.

I am also super excited to announce that Aya Zook will be the General Manager of the Japanese subsidiary and the Asia-Pacific region as a result of more than one year of building our business and reputation in the Asian market.

We celebrated this important event with a cocktail reception in Tokyo, that counted with the presence of more than 55 key people from top Japanese corporations. It was a great moment to talk not only about business but also to connect and reconnect with incredibly talented and smart people, who are leading the way when it comes to the future of AI.

The Japanese market is one of the world’s largest economies and historically one of the most advanced in technology. We are truly honored and humbled to help the top Japanese corporations in their path to AI, with our expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Speech Technologies, Natural Language Understanding and Computer Vision.

And with a new office, new opportunities arise. If you want to join us at the Tokyo office, check out our current openings at our Careers page. Who knows if you’re the next member of this growing and worldwide spread family that is DefinedCrowd.

Let’s do this!

The AI smart data revolution is here! 

Artificial Intelligence needs data to be properly trained. A lot of data. Currently, it is estimated that 80% of the data generated globally is unstructured. This environment makes access to high-quality structured data expensive and difficult to obtain quickly. As a result, data scientists have been scrubbing their own data, which is a tedious and time-consuming process pulling them away from their primary focus: science.

If you are familiar with DefinedCrowd’s work, you know that getting high-quality datasets to train AI and ML systems is our business. We have put together an amazing team, which has tirelessly worked on a Software-as-a-Service platform that allows data scientists to collect, enrich, and structure training data for Artificial Intelligence.

From our inception in 2015, we have been hard at work on our platform. Today, we are excited to open up v1.0 of the SaaS platform to the public! High-quality data can be accessed through our online platform, which enables our clients to set up the details as they wish without the hassle of countless emails exchanges with a vendor’s project manager who often has very little understanding of the machine learning process. The platform can also be accessed through the API, for a much more streamlined integration with the clients’ machine learning model infrastructure, which we released last November.

Utilizing a dedicated, skilled community of more than 20,000 on-demand workforce from around the globe, allows us to scale our client’s projects in a timely manner. Whether you want to generate text variants for a chatbot by 100% British-native people or looking to collect speech data from French-speaking natives living in the U.S. for a domain-specific personal assistant experience, the Neevo by DefinedCrowd community provides an unmatched human-in-the-loop service. We’re also very proud that we grew our Neevo community 4 times in 2017, mainly across the top 10 world markets.

With our solution, it has never been easier to access high-quality data to train your AI systems, faster than ever. Whether you want to train a smart personal assistant, a savvy chatbot, or an accurate self-driving car, we have a solution for you. Check out our solutions, or drop us an email at sales@definedcrowd.com – we look forward to helping build or improve your Artificial Intelligence systems!

Web Summit is here – and we have a new API

It has been a long time! And what a better way to get back on track with our blog than to announce a new release AND our presence at one of the biggest tech event in the world?

Web Summit is here. The second edition in Portugal takes place this November 6th-9th in the sunny Lisbon. We must admit that we are biased, though, as I am Portuguese and part of our team is based in Lisbon. Anyway, this is a huge event for the city and for the start-up scene, which rose so quickly in Portugal.

Since this is a big moment, we decided to celebrate with a big release. We are launching the version 1.0 of our public API on November 8th at Web Summit, where we were selected to have a booth at the Beta program! This new product will make data scientists’ lives easier, as it will allow to integrate DefinedCrowd platform on their own machine learning infrastructure. In other words, you will have access to high-quality data right in your own platform by simply calling an API. Practical, isn’t it?

If you are in Lisbon for Web Summit, make sure you stop by the Stand B 412 on November 8th, at the Big Data Exhibition Area. We will be there to show you all you can do with this new product.

But this isn’t all!

In addition to these news, I am proud to announce that DefinedCrowd was selected to pitch at Web Summit, where I will present our company to an audience filled with top tech speakers, attendees, and juries. This is an amazing opportunity and we are really excited (and a bit nervous!).

Summing up the essential news:

  • public API access for DefinedCrowd’s data platform will be available on November 8th;
  • DefinedCrowd will be at Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. More specifically, on November 8th, on the Stand B 412 at the Big Data Exhibition Area;
  • I will be pitching DefinedCrowd on Tuesday, 7th November on Pitch Stage 2 at 2pm.

We are looking forward to seeing you at Web Summit. Stop by our booth, drop us a message on our social media channels or email us at sales@definedcrowd.com, we want to hear from you!

06 Web Summit FB

Announcing the Alpha Release of Enterprise SaaS

Our Alpha marks the first phase towards introducing a self-service model to help data scientists everywhere have high quality data at their fingertips.   

Every company is finding itself thrust into a new era where data-driven decision-making and automation are key to scaled growth. While recent advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) powering everything from chatbots to personal assistants have helped consumers and enterprises realize the promise of what the technology might bring, we feel there’s plenty of room to improve.

At DefinedCrowd, we believe the key to improving the interaction between humans and machines is access to better data. Too many companies building AI and machine learning (ML) applications are hampered by poor quality data, resulting in inconsistent interactions, slow time to market and lack of language coverages. This results in a halt of innovation that creates poor user experiences.

Today’s announcement of our Alpha release of the Enterprise SaaS platform gets us one step closer to realizing the vision we’ve had since day one of starting DefinedCrowd: Helping all companies reduce cost and time to ship high quality machines through access to intelligent data.

In the alpha release of the Data-Science-as-a-Service platform, we focused our efforts in building intuitive and easy-to-use workflow templates based on our core domain expertise. Speech and Natural Language Processing (NLP). As the only data platform designed for data scientists by data scientist, the platform uses the power of ML and humans-in-the-loop (or crowd) to help enterprise data teams to collect, augment and structure high quality training data for AI and ML applications.

From the alpha release, we have two specific goals in mind:

  1. Expand the ways we help AI and ML application builders gain access to high quality data through a self-service model (while continuing the more hand-on approach we offer today)
  2. Invite a group of enterprises to bang away and give us feedback to improve/inform our Beta release

One of the big goals of DefinedCrowd is to help make machines smarter in a way that always puts humans at the center of the AI experience. The ability to naturally and effortlessly communicate with machines is paramount to realizing a truly human-centric interaction model. What we announced today is only a start to this exciting journey. Over the next several months, we’ll be shipping new sets of workflows to methodically chip away at the data problem. And if we do our job right, it should free up the AI builders to do what they do best – ship machines that understand us, naturally.

You can apply for a trial access here today!

 

Meet the DefinedCrowd Lisbon team

Lisbon, Portugal. A sunny and elegant city facing the wide Atlantic ocean, city of poets, fado singers and sailors. City of technology and innovation. This was the place DefinedCrowd chose to harbor its R&D team, right in downtown Lisboa, two steps from the Tejo river, in one of the most prestigious Startup incubators, Startup Lisboa. We’re proud to introduce our team in Lisbon (from left to right): João Freitas, our Director of Engineering, Sara Oliveira, UX designer and Marketing Manager and Daan Baldewijns, our PM and Linguist Lead.

LisbonTeam1

João is a PhD in Human-Computer Interactions, with 9+ years of experience in Speech at Microsoft. At work, João spends his time developing creative solutions that cross areas as diverse as speech recognition, machine learning and human-computer interaction. Beyond the technical work, he is also responsible for keeping everyone happy at the Portuguese office through a mix of dark chocolate, coffee and occasional juggling. In his free time João enjoys doing sports, like swimming, football, and recently scuba diving.

Sara is the youngest member of the team and never stops to amaze us by being incredibly talented and creative. Besides having to bear with the tech nerds in the Lisbon office, she maintains the brand unity and leads the marketing efforts for DefinedCrowd globally.

Daan is our most recent acquisition. He’s our Project Manager and Linguist Lead. Daan has been called both a tech and language nerd, attempted insults he now considers using as a slogan on his business card. 8 years of experience in speech and language technology, master in Germanic Languages and Artificial intelligence. When not reading, writing or otherwise interacting with the alphabet, he likes to play table tennis, pool, ride his motorcycle and retreat into the wildest nature he can find.

This is the team with whom we got used to start our mornings here in the Seattle office, the team who brings us the best platform in the world wrapped in a bit of the Atlantic breeze and the warmth of the Portuguese culture.

The team is growing and we’re hiring talented front-end developers. Applications are welcomed (please email us at: mail@definedcrowd.com).

 

Settling in Microsoft Ventures Seattle Office

It has been an very exciting week for @DefinedCrowd team! We settled in this gorgeous Microsoft Ventures Seattle office at Westlake and started this intense 4-month program immediately!

First week impression:

  • @MSFTVentures Seattle team is extremely supportive and knowledgeable. From customer acquisition strategy, to fundraising techniques, and marketing and PR. They are a well-rounded team! @hananl
  • Most of our cohort members from this batch are mature companies with great tractions and advanced technologies. Shout out to @Affinio  @agolo @clarifyio @theknomos @medwhatyou @OneBridgeSln @percolata_com @plexussupdates and @simmachines
  • Last but for sure not least is the collaborative culture here! Within the short 5 days, we have already received a good amount of questions and feedbacks to help us continue improve and grow!
3 months and 3 more weeks to go! We are looking forward to all the great connections and tips of growing into a successful business!

Listening carefully.JPG