Sep
29
2020
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Datasaur snags $3.9M investment to build intelligent machine learning labeling platform

As machine learning has grown, one of the major bottlenecks remains labeling things so the machine learning application understands the data it’s working with. Datasaur, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2020 batch, announced a $3.9 million investment today to help solve that problem with a platform designed for machine learning labeling teams.

The funding announcement, which includes a pre-seed amount of $1.1 million from last year and $2.8 million seed right after it graduated from Y Combinator in March, included investments from Initialized Capital, Y Combinator and OpenAI CTO Greg Brockman.

Company founder Ivan Lee says that he has been working in various capacities involving AI for seven years. First when his mobile gaming startup Loki Studios was acquired by Yahoo! in 2013, and Lee was eventually moved to the AI team, and, most recently, at Apple. Regardless of the company, he consistently saw a problem around organizing machine learning labeling teams, one that he felt he was uniquely situated to solve because of his experience.

“I have spent millions of dollars [in budget over the years] and spent countless hours gathering labeled data for my engineers. I came to recognize that this was something that was a problem across all the companies that I’ve been at. And they were just consistently reinventing the wheel and the process. So instead of reinventing that for the third time at Apple, my most recent company, I decided to solve it once and for all for the industry. And that’s why we started Datasaur last year,” Lee told TechCrunch.

He built a platform to speed up human data labeling with a dose of AI, while keeping humans involved. The platform consists of three parts: a labeling interface; the intelligence component, which can recognize basic things so the labeler isn’t identifying the same thing over and over; and finally a team organizing component.

He says the area is hot, but to this point has mostly involved labeling consulting solutions, which farm out labeling to contractors. He points to the sale of Figure Eight in March 2019 and to Scale, which snagged $100 million last year as examples of other startups trying to solve this problem in this way, but he believes his company is doing something different by building a fully software-based solution.

The company currently offers a cloud and on-prem solution, depending on the customer’s requirements. It has 10 employees, with plans to hire in the next year, although he didn’t share an exact number. As he does that, he says he has been working with a partner at investor Initialized on creating a positive and inclusive culture inside the organization, and that includes conversations about hiring a diverse workforce as he builds the company.

“I feel like this is just standard CEO speak, but that is something that we absolutely value in our top of funnel for the hiring process,” he said.

As Lee builds out his platform, he has also worried about built-in bias in AI systems and the detrimental impact that could have on society. He says that he has spoken to clients about the role of labeling in bias and ways of combatting that.

“When I speak with our clients, I talk to them about the potential for bias from their labelers and built into our product itself is the ability to assign multiple people to the same project. And I explain to my clients that this can be more costly, but from personal experience I know that it can improve results dramatically to get multiple perspectives on the exact same data,” he said.

Lee believes humans will continue to be involved in the labeling process in some way, even as parts of the process become more automated. “The very nature of our existence [as a company] will always require humans in the loop, […] and moving forward I do think it’s really important that as we get into more and more of the long tail use cases of AI, we will need humans to continue to educate and inform AI, and that’s going to be a critical part of how this technology develops.”

Jun
19
2019
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Postman raises $50 million to grow its API development platform

Postman, a five-year-old startup that is attempting to simplify development, tests and management of APIs through its platform, has raised $50 million in a new round to scale its business.

The Series B for the startup, which began its journey in India, was led by CRV and included participation from existing investor Nexus Venture Partners . The startup, with offices in India and San Francisco, closed its Series A financing round four years ago and has raised $58 million to date.

Postman offers a development environment which a developer or a firm could use to build, publish, document, design, monitor, test and debug their APIs. Postman, like some other startups such as RapidAPI, also maintains a marketplace to offer APIs for quick integration with other popular services.

The startup was co-founded by Abhinav Asthana, a former intern at Yahoo . Asthana was frustrated with how APIs were an afterthought for many developers, as they usually got around to building them in the eleventh hour. Additionally, developers were relying on their own workflows and there was no organized platform that could be used by many, he explained in an interview with TechCrunch.

Even big software firms have not looked into this space yet, and many have instead become a customer of Postman. “We are solving a fundamental problem for the technology landscape. Big companies tend to be slower as they have many other things on their plate,” said Asthana.

Five years later, Postman has grown significantly. More than 7 million users and 300,000 companies, including Microsoft, Twitter, Best Buy, AMC Theaters, PayPal, Shopify, BigCommerce and DocuSign today use Postman’s platform.

The modern software development relies heavily on APIs as more businesses begin to talk with one another. According to research firm Gartner, more than 65% of global infrastructure service providers’ revenue will be generated through services enabled by APIs by 2023, up from 15% in 2018.

Asthana said Postman intends to use the fresh capital to scale its startup, products and grow its team. “We are scaling rapidly across all dimensions. There are many use cases that we still want to address over the coming months. We will also experiment with sales and invest in improving user experience,” he added.

Postman offers some of its services in limited capacity for free to users. For the rest, it charges between $8 to $18 per user to its customers. That’s how the company generates revenue. Asthana declined to share the financial performance of the startup, but said its customer base was “growing phenomenally.”

Postman said CRV general partner Devdutt Yellurkar has joined its board of directors.

May
30
2019
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The Slack origin story

Let’s rewind a decade. It’s 2009. Vancouver, Canada.

Stewart Butterfield, known already for his part in building Flickr, a photo-sharing service acquired by Yahoo in 2005, decided to try his hand — again — at building a game. Flickr had been a failed attempt at a game called Game Neverending followed by a big pivot. This time, Butterfield would make it work.

To make his dreams a reality, he joined forces with Flickr’s original chief software architect Cal Henderson, as well as former Flickr employees Eric Costello and Serguei Mourachov, who like himself, had served some time at Yahoo after the acquisition. Together, they would build Tiny Speck, the company behind an artful, non-combat massively multiplayer online game.

Years later, Butterfield would pull off a pivot more massive than his last. Slack, born from the ashes of his fantastical game, would lead a shift toward online productivity tools that fundamentally change the way people work.

Glitch is born

In mid-2009, former TechCrunch reporter-turned-venture-capitalist M.G. Siegler wrote one of the first stories on Butterfield’s mysterious startup plans.

“So what is Tiny Speck all about?” Siegler wrote. “That is still not entirely clear. The word on the street has been that it’s some kind of new social gaming endeavor, but all they’ll say on the site is ‘we are working on something huge and fun and we need help.’”

Siegler would go on to invest in Slack as a general partner at GV, the venture capital arm of Alphabet .

“Clearly this is a creative project,” Siegler added. “It almost sounds like they’re making an animated movie. As awesome as that would be, with people like Henderson on board, you can bet there’s impressive engineering going on to turn this all into a game of some sort (if that is in fact what this is all about).”

After months of speculation, Tiny Speck unveiled its project: Glitch, an online game set inside the brains of 11 giants. It would be free with in-game purchases available and eventually, a paid subscription for power users.

Oct
03
2017
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Investors place $25M on AtScale to get the big picture of big data

 AtScale, a four-year old startup that helps companies get a big-picture view of their big data inside their BI tools, announced a $25 million Series C investment today. The round was led by Atlantic Bridge with participation from new investors Wells Fargo and Industry Ventures along with returning investors Storm Ventures, UMC, Comcast and XSeed Capital. With today’s investment, the… Read More

May
04
2017
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These big tech companies pay their interns the most

 It’s May and that means the window for locking down internships at tech companies is rapidly closing. In reflection of the 2017 recruiting season, Glassdoor took some time to analyze its anonymized salary data, producing a report of the highest paying internships for 2017. We went ahead and pulled the tech companies from the list, and among large tech companies, Facebook leads the… Read More

Jan
09
2017
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Marissa Mayer resigning from Yahoo board as remaining company renames itself Altaba

marissa-mayer15 Despite hiccups, Yahoo’s planned sale to Verizon appears to be moving forward — but some portions of the company will be left behind and renamed Altaba Inc.
Yahoo is hanging on to its 15 percent stake in Alibaba and its 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, and those assets will survive as an investment company under the new name Altaba Inc., as the rest of Yahoo integrates with Verizon. Read More

Oct
20
2016
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Verizon says it’s “still evaluating” Yahoo discount as carrier sees another quarter of revenue decline

verizon-earnings2015 Verizon, the largest carrier in the U.S. and owner of a large set of media properties via AOL (including TechCrunch), today reported mixed third-quarter earnings and saw growth in subscriber numbers. But it was light on a detail about the big elephant in the room: would it ask for a discount on its original, recent $4.83 billion offer to buy Yahoo? Update: During the analyst… Read More

Aug
22
2016
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Media.net acquired for $900M in mega ad-tech deal

Divyank Turakhia, co-founder and president of Directi, poses for a photograph at the Dublin Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland, on Friday, Oct. 29, 2010. Leaders of some of the world's leading technology companies gathered in Ireland for the Dublin Web Summit Oct. 28-29. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images The flow of Chinese capital into foreign ad-tech companies increased this morning with the acquisition of Media.net for $900 million USD. A consortium will be paying cash for the startup with key operation centers in New York City and Dubai. Eventually the company is set to be acquired from the consortium by Miteno Communication Technology, a Chinese tech conglomerate. The transaction is… Read More

Jul
25
2016
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The giant’s fall

maxresdefault One of the saddest scenes in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy is watching the slow-moving Ents – the massive tree shepherds that took days to decide whether or not to react Sauron’s onslaught – are cut down by the wily Orcs. Only a few fall in the battle but when they do the giants of the forests that at first seemed so powerful are exposed to be easily vanquished. They won… Read More

Feb
03
2015
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Percona Live 2015 Lightning Talks, BoF submission deadline Feb. 13! And introducing “MySQL 101? program

It’s hard to believe that the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo is just over two months away (April 13-16 in Santa Clara, California). So if you’ve been thinking about submitting a proposal for the popular “Lightning Talks” and/or “Birds of a Feather” sessions, it’s time to get moving because the deadline to do so if February 13.

Lightning Talks provide an opportunity for attendees to propose, explain, exhort, or rant on any MySQL-related topic for five minutes. Topics might include a new idea, successful project, cautionary story, quick tip, or demonstration. All submissions will be reviewed, and the top 10 will be selected to present during the one-hour Lightning Talks session on Wednesday (April 15) during the Community Networking Reception. Lighthearted, fun or otherwise entertaining submissions are highly welcome. Submit your proposal here.

"MySQL 101" is coming to Percona Live 2015

“MySQL 101″ is coming to Percona Live 2015.

Birds of a Feather (BoF) sessions enable attendees with interests in the same project or topic to enjoy some quality face time. BoFs can be organized for individual projects or broader topics (e.g., best practices, open data, standards). Any attendee or conference speaker can propose and moderate an engaging BoF. Percona will post the selected topics and moderators online and provide a meeting space and time. The BoF sessions will be held Tuesday night, (April 14) from 6- 7 p.m. Submit your BoF proposal here.

This year we’re also adding a new program for MySQL “newbies.” It’s called “MySQL 101,” and the motto of this special two-day program is: “You send us developers and admins, and we will send you back MySQL DBAs.” The two days of practical training will include everything they need to know to handle day-to-day MySQL DBA tasks.

“MySQL 101,” which is not included in regular Percona Live registration, will cost $400. However, the first 101 tickets are just $101 if you use the promo code “101” during checkout.

New: 25-Minute Sessions
On the first day of the conference, Percona is now offering 25-minute talks that pack tons of great information into a shorter format to allow for a wider range of topics. The 25-minute sessions include:

Percona Live 2015 25-Minute Sessions

I also wanted to give another shout-out to Percona Live 2015’s awesome sponsor, which include: VMware, Yahoo, Deep Information Sciences, Pythian, Codership, Machine Zone, Box, Yelp, MariaDB, SpringbokSQL, Tesora, BlackMesh, SolidFire, Severalnines, Tokutek, VividCortex, FoundationDB, ScaleArc, Walmart eCommerce and more.(Sponsorship opportunities are still available.)

The great thing about Percona Live conferences is that there is something for everyone within the MySQL ecosystem – veterans and newcomers alike. And for the first time this year, that community expands to encompass OpenStack. Percona Live attendees can also attend OpenStack Live events. Those events run April 13-14, also at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara and Santa Clara Convention Center.

OpenStack Live 2015’s awesome sponsors include: PMC Sierra and Nimble Storage!

With so much to offer this year, this is why there are several more options in terms of tickets. Click the image below for a detailed view of what access each ticket type provides.

Percona Live and OpenStack Live 2015 ticket access grid

Register here for the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo.

Register here for the OpenStack Live Conference and Expo.

For full conference schedule details please visit the Percona Live MySQL Conference and Expo website and the OpenStack Live Conference Website!

I hope to see you in Santa Clara in a couple months!

 

The post Percona Live 2015 Lightning Talks, BoF submission deadline Feb. 13! And introducing “MySQL 101″ program appeared first on MySQL Performance Blog.

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