How intelligent is Quora's AI

Scale AI - Artificial Intelligence on the Rise

By Nancy Wächter, Björne Hermann and Ilja Wolkow

At the age of just 24, founder Alexandr Wang leads Scale AI, a company valued at over 3.5 billion US dollars. The four-year-old startup deals with the trainability of artificial intelligence. The platform developed for this purpose supports companies such as Toyota, AirBnb, Nvidia or Nuro in the (further) development of their AI applications. In our new blog post we introduce you to the unicorn in more detail.

Data as the key to the success of a young entrepreneur

Alexandr Wang founded Scale AI in San Francisco in 2016 when he was just 20 years old. At this point he had already gained professional experience in two well-known Silicon Valley companies - as a software engineer at Addepar and as a tech lead at Quora.

Alexandr was quickly no longer a stranger to Silicon Valley. The success story of him and his startup Scale AI began with the start-up capital of the company Y Combinator.

Initially with a handful of employees and a vision that was not yet fully developed, the company grew rapidly. Today around 350 permanent employees work for Scale AI.

In addition, several thousand temporary workers are employed worldwide to mark the data records for the training data - the heart of the business model.

No data? Not a successful AI.

A functioning AI is based on the availability of applicable data sets. This is exactly where one of the greatest challenges for companies is hidden: The existing data sets are often insufficient to optimally train the AI.

However, analyzing such data costs time and resources. Alexandr Wang quickly recognized a need, because there was hardly any offer of programmed data and training sets for AI and machine learning.

"It's like we're just sort of really at the beginning of this [usage of AI]
and we want to be prepared for that as it happens. "

Alexandr Wang, CEO.

Artificial intelligence is only just beginning

The global market for AI software is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. The revenue forecast is set to increase from $ 62 billion in 2020 to around $ 733.7 billion by 2027. This corresponds to an annual growth rate of 42.2%.

With the growing market for AI applications and the need for trainable data sets, Scale AI will be able to secure and increase sales.

Scale AI - one platform supported

The core of the Scale AI business model is a platform over which data records can be exchanged. Customers have the option to transmit unstructured data to Scale AI and receive marked training data sets in return. This makes it easier to train and develop AI and ML applications.

The Unicorn offers this data processing in the areas of autonomous driving, AR & VR and conversation AI (chatsbots). Sensor and 3D data as well as image, text, video and document data are processed.

The unicorn generates its income through the different pricing of the training data sets.

In the case of on-demand pricing, billed per marking in the transmitted data record (Point, Line, Polgyon, Classification, etc.). With Enterprise, on the other hand, the customer is given an individual and comprehensive offer.

With the platform component "Nucleus", Scale AI offers the possibility of managing AI developments over the entire cycle. From the organization in the team, through the visualization to the test, the development of the AI ​​can be simplified and centralized.

With digital sprint to unicorn status

Scale AI received start-up capital of US $ 120,000 in 2016 from investor Y Combinator. This is known in Silicon Valley for investments e.g. in AirBnb and Stripe. After two years of company history, Scale AI has already recorded the second major Series B investing round. Index Ventures has now also invested in the company with a sum of 18 million US dollars.

Just three years after the company was founded, the company raised $ 100 million in the Series C. The success will be crowned in December 2020 with a capital sum of 155 million US dollars in Series D. The investor Tiger Global Management participates and completes the already strong investor list of Scale AI.

With the last round of financing, the company has achieved a company valuation of over 3.5 billion US dollars - and the title “Unicorn”.

Artificial intelligence is no longer a unique selling point

Scale AI is by no means the only company that offers validation and training of data for AI applications. Big competitors in this branch include Cloudfactory, Samasource and Appen.

However, Scale AI is characterized by the fact that customers get access to the Scale AI platform via a simple API. The company would like to preserve the advantage for the future: With the expansion of industries, the expansion of the platform with new functions and the extraction of "Nucleus" into an independent product.

That's all?Here you can read what a unicorn actually is. In other blog posts we report about other unicorns, e.g. from Mollie and Gong.io and hopin.

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