100 most promising AI startups

We’ve come a long way since forming in 2015. Starting out as a small team, we now have four offices worldwide – Lisbon, Porto, Tokyo, and Seattle – and continue to grow every day.  

Our unique platform has helped many successful companies feed their artificial intelligence applications with training data. Using human intelligence coupled with machine-learning, we deliver project-specific, quality-guaranteed data.    

Today, we’re proud to announce that DefinedCrowd is among CB Insights’ third annual list of 100 AI startups. A research team from CB Insights selected 100 startups based on the following factors: investor profile, market potential, partnerships, competitive landscape, and team strength. 

Source: CB Insights

Companies are categorized by focus area. These focus areas aren’t mutually exclusive and include core sectors such as telecommunications, government, retail, healthcare and enterprise tech sectors such as training data (where we sit), software development, data management, and cybersecurity. 

We are pleased to be among this group of incredible AI startups, selected from an extensive list of 3k+ AI companies, and look forward to seeing these companies grow.  

It´s been a great start to 2019. And, we´re very thankful to everyone who has helped get us here.  

Daniela Braga’s journey with DefinedCrowd

Earlier this week, DefinedCrowd was Featured in Jornal Económico, a premium financial publication in Portugal. We’ve translated the article from the original Portuguese for our English- speaking friends. Enjoy!

Original Article by
António Sarmento

Founded in Seattle, USA, DefinedCrowd is a startup specializing in training data for Artificial Intelligence. The company counts Amazon, IBM, and EDP as investors and clients. 

DefinedCrowd provides services so that data scientists can gather, structure, and enrich datasets for Artificial Intelligence, helping companies improve speed to market and the overall quality of their AI products. DefinedCrowd accelerates enterprise AI initiatives by combining machine learning technology with human-in-the-loop collection processes. Founded in August 2015 by entrepreneur Daniela Braga, the company is headquartered in Seattle, has R&D centers in Lisbon and Porto, and a sales office in Tokyo. 

Three months after its founding, the company opened their first R&D office at Startup Lisbon. Since then, DefinedCrowd has blossomed from an initial team of three employees to a workforce of more than 70 that is still growing.

In 2016, the company raised $ 1.1 million in seed funding, with investors such as Sony, Amazon Alexa Fund, Portugal Ventures, and Busy Angels.
In July 2018, DefinedCrowd closed a Series A funding worth $11.8 million, led by Evolution Equity Partners. EDP Ventures, Mastercard and Kibo Ventures joined as new investors, while Sony, Amazon, Portugal Ventures and Busy Angels bolstered their investments with additional capital for the data company.

“It is important to raise capital if we want to move fast, especially in the technological sector.”   

Daniela Braga to Jornal Económico

This influx of capital is being used to accelerate product development and accelerate team growth. Two-thirds of DefinedCrowd’s 70 employees work out of Portugal. The company expects to add 80 more team members by the end of 2019.

Over the past six months, DefinedCrowd has announced three partnerships: a formal designation as an Amazon Alexa Skills partner, a product integration with IBM Watson Studio; and participation as a featured vendor in Microsoft‘s co-sell program.

DefinedCrowd’s platform provides industry-agnostic data services and can support text, audio, and image annotation. The company’s clients span industries as a result: from Fintech, to Retail, Healthcare, Utilities, and the Internet of Things. Their client portfolio consists mostly of Fortune 500 companies, including BMW, MasterCard, EDP, José de Mello Saúde, SoftBank, Yahoo Japan, Randstad, and Nuance

DefinedCrowd’s goals are ambitious. The company aims to become the world’s number one AI data provider through expanding their client-base and forging new partnerships with industry leaders. 

With a degree in Portuguese Language and Literature, Daniela Braga has spent her career examining the rigorous use of language, the perfect foundation for her business. “We deal daily with data in 70 languages and dialects. Our clients need, at a minimum, native-level speakers and sometimes even require linguists or specialists in language sciences for all of them” says the entrepreneur.

After graduating with a master’s degree in applied linguistics, she went on to earn a PhD in Speech Technologies at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto and taught at the University of A Coruña for two years before joining Microsoft (whom she worked for in Portugal, China and the United States).

After leaving Microsoft in 2013, Daniela moved to American company Voicebox. Simultaneously, she was invited to teach Data and Crowdsourcing for Speech Technologies at the University of Washington. It was during this time that she saw the gap between the Artificial Intelligence data scientists wanted to develop and the training data available to build it. She decided to found her own company as a result.

Waving a well-paid job goodbye, and with few personal resources, she started meeting with investors in Seattle, and quickly received an initial check: $ 200,000 in financing to start her business. A business that is now signing contracts with some of the largest companies in the world.

DefinedCrowd is in constant growth and employee numbers have been updated to reflect our current position.

An Interview With Dinheiro Vivo

At last week’s Web Summit, we were lucky enough to sit down with Dinheiro Vivo, a leading financial publication in Portugal. Our conversation touched on everything from the quality-focused approach to training data to AI use-cases across industries. Watch the full interview here (in Portuguese), or check out the English transcription below:

Dinheiro Vivo [DV] – For those who still do not know your work, what does DefinedCrowd do?

Daniela Braga [DB] – We are a data collection and cleaning platform for Machine Learning and for Artificial Intelligence. Our platform combines crowdsourcing with machine learning. A mixture of people and machines working at the same time.

Artificial Intelligence is the imitation of a human brain, artificially. To develop our own intelligence, we go to school, we read many books. It takes a lifetime for a person to be able to react and make decisions in their daily lives. The way machines learn is similar. But with the computational capacity that is currently possible using the cloud and our platform, in just 3 months we can combine thousands of human brains in the same computational memory.

Our platform combines crowdsourcing with machine learning. A mixture of people and machines working at the same time.

DV – And then (the data) is used in applications that we use every day?

DB– Namely Apple Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa. Self-driving cars and even more industrial applications like machines that are doing quality control instead of having people doing it. Or at airports with automatic flight controllers.

DV – And this year was a dazzling year, an investment round, new partners, an office in Tokyo. What have you done to achieve this success?

DB – Especially in the United States, our largest market is still the United States, followed by Japan and followed by Europe. Clients are more open, they’re investing in Artificial Intelligence.

There are many companies in machine learning but there is practically no one doing data cleaning and treatment like us. It’s like the spades and pickaxes of the gold rush. We are making the shovels and picks of AI, of modern times.

DV- And coming to Web Summit also makes all the difference, right?

DB– Our growth milestones have been basically aligned with those of Web Summit. We have been here since 2016, which was the first year Portugal hosted Web Summit. We had closed our seed series. Last year (2017) we basically met the group of investors to close the series A. And this year we are here to be on the list of the top 10 AI companies in the world.

DV – And finally, when you leave Web Summit, what do you expect to take with you?

DB – This year it’s basically a visibility and recruitment maneuver- we are in an aggressive recruitment phase. We want to demonstrate that this is really the best place to work in Portugal. We’re also looking to continue developing partnerships, and solidify go-to-market strategy. Next year, I would like for 50% of our revenue to come from partnerships.

Wrapping up Web Summit

According to The Atlantic, it’s the place “where the future goes to be born.” The always descriptive New York Times has dubbed it “a grand conclave of the tech industry’s high priests.” After three consecutive trips to Web Summit, we’ll go ahead and call it one of the most thought-provoking events we attend year-after-year. We’ve already marked our calendars for 2019 and can’t wait to see faces, old and new, next November in Lisbon.

This year’s highlights included a DefinedCrowd pitch on the Growth Summit Stage, a fascinating panel on the future of AI featuring our founder, Daniela Braga, alongside Sam Liang (AISense), Jean-Francois Gagné (Element AI), and Vasco Calais Pedro (Unbabel), all leaders of scaling startups with their fingers on the pulse at the crossroads of technological innovation and global enterprise. It was also a pleasure to share the stage with António Mexia, CEO of EDP, which is the largest energy provider in Portugal as well as one of our clients and investors.

“We learn during years and years. We go to school, we read many books. It takes a life for a person to be able to react and make decisions in their daily lives. The way machines learn is similar. But with the computational capacity that is currently possible, with the cloud and with our platform, in 3 months it is possible to combine thousands of human brains in the same computational memory. “ 

-Daniela Braga DefinedCrowd Founder and CEO 

Missed those speeches and panels? Don’t worry. Daniela spent a lot of time off-stage sharing thoughts (like the one quoted above) on the present and future of AI with outlets such as Expresso, RTP, Journal Economico, Noticias ao Minuto, TVI 24, and Dinheiro Vivo. We’ve linked them all here [in the original Portuguese] for your convenience. Go ahead and have a look!

Of course, the most enjoyable part of events like Web Summit is the conversations that are sparked after a speech, panel, or simply as a result of wandering in front of the right booth. We know how valuable those discussions can be as they develop into formalized relationships with future investors, clients, thought-leaders, and partners.

We’re happy to have started a lot of these dialogues with contacts across industries and media at booth G111. To those we met, it was a pleasure. Let’s keep talking. To those we didn’t (or those who misplaced our business cards), we’re always available at pr@definedcrowd.com. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.

See you all next year!

See You at Web Summit 2018

 

Three years in a row makes for a tradition. Web Summit is here again! Taking place next week, November 5th-8th in Lisbon. We feel like we’ve grown up alongside this event, and know that it’s been critical to our success thus far. At last year’s conference, we launched our public API and met investors like Evolution Equity Partners, who ended up leading our series A. We can’t wait to see what doors open this year.

We’ll be spending most of our time at Growth Summit, which focuses on rapid-growth startups. Wednesday, November 7th, at 10:12am, founder and CEO, Daniela Braga, will take the Growth Stage to discuss her insights from three years spent at the helm of DefinedCrowd. Shortly thereafter, at 11:00am, she’ll return to discuss broad industry themes as part of the Hyper Growth in AI panel.

Finally, in the afternoon from 1-2pm,  Daniela will meet with three female entrepreneurs for 20-minute one-on-one sessions as part of Web Summit’s Women in Tech Mentor program. 

We’re excited for a busy, productive week and can’t wait to see you there. If you’re unable to make these events, or just want to chat in-person, we’ll be at booth G111 all day November 7th.

In summary:

  • Daniela will present DefinedCrowd on the Growth Stage November 7th at 10:12 am;
  • Shortly thereafter, she’ll serve on the Hyper Growth In AI panel at 11:00am, also on the Growth Stage;
  • From 1-2pm, Daniela will meet 1-on-1 with participants in Web Summit’s Women in tech Mentor Program;
  • We’ll be at booth G 111 all day November 7th.

We’re looking forward to spending the first part of November in sunny Lisbon. Stop by our booth, drop us a line on social, or email us at sales@definedcrowd.com if you’re looking to get in touch. See you all next week!

 

Our Series A round in the News

What a week it’s been! In case you missed it, on July 31st, we announced the closing of an $11.8 million Series A Funding round. That’s a huge milestone for us, especially considering we were founded less than three years ago. We’ve been having a lot of exciting discussions internally as we strategize on how to deploy this capital to stimulate growth, improve our product offerings and increase our global market share.

We’re glad to hear elements of that discussion taking place outside of these walls. Our Series A got some fantastic coverage from an outstanding, and geographically diverse, group of publications.

It really was an honor to see our story in flagship publications like Venturebeat, The Seattle Times, and Built In Seattle for our English-speaking audience, and Expresso and Público for our Portuguese-speaking friends.

We’re also thankful for the coverage from major names in financial and business news like FortuneYahoo FinanceMarket Insider, and the Puget Sound Business Journal in English and Jornal de NegociosDinheiro Vivo, and ECO in Portuguese.

Whichever is your language (and if it’s both, cheers) curl up with some of this fantastic reading this weekend, or better yet, this evening.

And hey, if all this press means you’re hearing about DefinedCrowd for the first time, or the first time in a while, welcome! We’re glad you’re here. The articles linked here provide some excellent information on our company. But, we’ll introduce ourselves here too.

In a nutshell, we’re an AI and ML training-data company. We collect, enrich, and structure training data to fuel AI initiatives at an array of Fortune 500 companies across industries.

Our unique combination of customizable workflows and human-in-the-loop data collection processes means we provide higher quality training data (98% accuracy capabilities) at faster speed (5x-10x faster than competition) and larger scale (46+ languages covered) than our competitors.

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

And, if you want to build with us, great news! We’re hiring. Keep tabs on our Career Page for current and future openings.

Happy reading!

DefinedCrowd in CSW London 2016

DefinedCrowd presented at Crowdsourcing Week Global in London, last April 14th, 2016, on the session about Crowdsourcing and Crowd Innovation. Our Director of Engineering, Joao Freitas, represented DefinedCrowd on stage, among a super high profile set of other speakers. Great job, Joao! The video can be seen here and the slides for our presentation can be found here. Great event, thanks to Epi Ludvik Nekaj, always a great host and organizer.

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