A former AWS engineer just raised a third round of funding for her startup in 18 months because of an ‘overwhelming need’ for easier-to-use artificial intelligence

Bindu Reddy

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In 2019 Bindu Reddy set out to make artificial intelligence technology more accessible. Her startup, Abacus.ai, makes cloud-based software to help companies create their own AI models that can integrate with the other workplace tools they already use. Drawing on Reddy’s experience as an engineer at both Google and Amazon, the firm launched a library of templates for common areas that companies often seek to use AI, including financial planning, sales and marketing, and fraud and security.

That work seems to be paying off. Abicus.ai announced a $22 million Series B round this week — its third round of funding in less than 18 months — for a total of $40.3 million raised since its seed investment. Abacus declined to share its valuation, which was $58 million at its Series A, according to PitchBook. 

The round was led by new investor Coatue, with participation from existing investors Decibel Ventures and Index Partners. Coatue general partner Yanda Erlich will also be joining Abacus.AI’s board of directors, joining Google founding board member Ram Shriram (former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has also backed Abicus, though he’s not on the board).

The startup decided to raise another round in such a short span of time is because of the huge market potential, Reddy said. 

“We’re seeing an overwhelming need for our service,” Reddy said. “We see lots and lots of companies who don’t have really large data science and machine learning teams.”

Abacus.ai can provide support infrastructure for companies that want to use artificial intelligence to operate more efficiently but don’t have the in-house expertise to make it happen, she said. The company is also tackling the challenge of trying to make AI less biased, with an open source library with three algorithms that can be used after-the-fact on an already-trained AI system to help de-bias it.

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Once these tools were launched back in July, Reddy and her colleagues saw a surge in interest from new customers. It now has 60 paying clients total, with thousands using the products on a trial basis. Revenue has increased 300% since July. 

“We’ve got this extraordinary amount of interest,” Reddy said. “And we realized that if we don’t scale to meet that interest, we’re not going to be taking advantage of the market opportunity.”

Abacus plans to use the funding for research and product development as it receives feedback from customers. 

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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech


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