SOFTWARE, FUTURE TECH

Spice AI Raises $13.5 Million Seed Funding to Enable Web3 Developers to Build Data and AI-driven Applications

Spice AI | September 08, 2022 | Read time : 02:50 min

Spice AI
Spice AI today announced a seed round of $13.5 million for its platform that enables developers to build data driven applications for Web3. Madrona led the round with Australia based Blackbird Ventures, Basis Set Ventures, Alumni Ventures Blockchain Fund, Joe McCann’s new Asymmetric fund, Protocol Labs, IEX Fund, and other strategic angel investors participating, including Thomas Dohmke, CEO of GitHub, who is also joining the board.

“Spice AI is building a developer first platform to create AI/ML-driven applications that harness time series data – a valuable yet difficult to harness data set for any organization. There is no ecosystem out there that is more data rich than Web3 and blockchains, but that area is currently hampered by lack of data access and infrastructure. Solving the data problem in Web3 requires deep domain knowledge and Spice AI is building the infrastructure, so developers do not have to deal with the complexity of building it themselves. Now is the time to build for Web3 and we are excited to be well capitalized to grow the team and address this gap in the market,” said Luke Kim, CEO of Spice AI.

Web3 and Spice AI

While most blockchains are public and open, extracting data from them to power apps and ML is painfully difficult. To get meaningful quantities of useful data, developers are forced to build and operate a massively complex infrastructure which includes blockchain nodes, big data systems, ETL and ML pipelines, data lakes, data warehouses, and query systems. Going one step further, developers must deeply understand the various data sources including virtual-machine logs, and the inner workings and state of smart contracts, across a broad array of blockchains, scaling layers, and dApps.

Spice.xyz, brings this together in a platform that enables developers to access web3 data across chains via SQL over high-performance Apache Arrow APIs. The platform is available in Preview today with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Name Service (ENS) datasets with work in progress to launch Solana and Polygon.

“Madrona has invested in machine learning infrastructure and intelligent applications for almost a decade. We see a massive opportunity for Spice AI to provide a developer-first framework and intelligent data sets that unlock insights in blockchain data and enable developers to create intelligent distributed Web3 applications. As part of the financing, Porter will join the Spice AI board along with Thomas Dohmke.

Tim Porter, Managing Director at Madrona

Deeply Developer Focused Founders

Over the last 15 years, co-founder Luke Kim has brought together the best builders and engineers across the globe to create developer focused experiences through tools and technologies used by millions worldwide. Before founding Spice AI, Luke was the founding manager and co-creator of Azure Incubations at Microsoft where he led cross-functional engineering teams to create and develop technologies like Dapr.

Co-founder Phillip LeBlanc has spent a decade building some of the largest distributed systems and big data platforms used by millions worldwide. Before co-founding Spice AI, Phillip was both an engineering manager and IC working on distributed systems at GitHub and Microsoft. Phillip has contributed to services developers use every day including GitHub Actions, Azure Active Directory and Visual Studio App Center.

“Spice AI is building the foundational platform for Web3, so developers do not have to invest in standing up their own infrastructure and in data engineering that is complex and costly, and frankly, hard to get right. Delivering real time insights from time-series data across chains powers intelligent applications being built for a wide range of industries – from addressing buying patterns in e-tail/retail all the way to fraud detection and securities trading. Since our pre-seed investment, the team continues to impress us with the focus and pace of innovation as they build this infrastructure for Web3,” added Aseem Datar, Partner at Madrona.

Spice AI is building an office in greater Seattle with a footprint in Asia and Australia. Check out the positions here - spice.ai/careers

About Spice AI
Founded in June 2021 by Luke Kim and Phillip LeBlanc, Spice AI creates technology to help developers build intelligent apps that learn and adapt. The company has raised 14.5 million in funding since 2021 and is backed by leading venture and angel investors.

Spotlight

Gradient AI is a leading provider of proven artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the insurance industry. Its solutions improve loss ratios and profitability by predicting underwriting and claim risks with greater accuracy, as well as reducing quote turnaround times and claim expenses through intelligent automation. Unlike other solutions that use a limited claims and underwriting dataset, Gradient's software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform leverages a vast dataset comprised of tens of millions of policies and claims. By using Gradient AI's solutions, insurers of all types achieve a better return on risk.

Spotlight

Gradient AI is a leading provider of proven artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for the insurance industry. Its solutions improve loss ratios and profitability by predicting underwriting and claim risks with greater accuracy, as well as reducing quote turnaround times and claim expenses through intelligent automation. Unlike other solutions that use a limited claims and underwriting dataset, Gradient's software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform leverages a vast dataset comprised of tens of millions of policies and claims. By using Gradient AI's solutions, insurers of all types achieve a better return on risk.

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GENERAL AI,AI APPLICATIONS,SOFTWARE

AI Tools in Picsart Help Create New Objects and Scenes in Images

Picsart | December 29, 2022

Picsart, a digital creation platform, has released two new artificial intelligence (AI) features that generate new objects and scenes in images. The new AI features allow users to create and produce stunning visuals using the power of AI technology without needing any technical knowledge. By utilizing these new AI features, users can experiment with different visuals and designs, transforming an image in a matter of seconds. The first, called AI Background, allows users to insert an object or product image into a newly generated scene in a realistic manner. The second feature is called "AI Replace," and it lets users replace a part of an image with a new object of their choice. These tools are intended to enhance the creative process for a wide range of users, including everyday consumers and marketers. Particularly, these features benefit marketers by providing them with the ability to create engaging visuals quickly and easily, helping them to effectively promote their products. With AI features like AI Background and AI Replace, users can change their photos in ways that have never been possible before. "The new AI Background will serve as an incredibly helpful tool for marketers to place their products in various scenes, while the AI Replace tool brings even more possibilities for endless creativity. "We’ve already seen generative AI tools serve various types of users on our platform, including both everyday consumers and marketers." "We know these latest tools will serve the same wide range of creators." Picsart’s VP of Product, Lusine Harutyunyan Picsart has a history of incorporating AI into its platform and released its first generative AI tools last month, including the AI Image Generator, which has already created over 25 million images. Users can access all of Picsart's generative AI tools by downloading the Picsart app. "According to InsightSLICE, the global digital content creation market size is expected to reach USD 38.2 billion at a CAGR of 12% by 2030." The rapid pace of digital content creation using platforms like Picsart is fueling the growth of the market exponentially, leveraging AI like never before. Particularly, the generative design AI algorithms help the user come up with design options based on certain design parameters that the user sets. These options can then be reviewed and refined by a human designer. It is a novel innovation utilizing different types of generative design algorithms such as evolutionary algorithms, neural networks, and swarm intelligence. These algorithms work by generating and evaluating a large number of design options, using machine learning techniques to improve the quality of the designs over time. However, it is important for designers to consider the capabilities and limitations of the AI design algorithms and utilize them in an ethical manner. About Picart Picsart is the largest digital creation platform. AI-powered tools let users design, edit, draw, and share photos and videos. Picsart's open-source content collection includes photos, stickers, backgrounds, and templates. Picsart is used for personal and professional design by consumers, marketers, and businesses. Picsart offers APIs and an SDK to businesses for mobile and web image editing and processing. SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, DCM Ventures, Insight Partners, and others back Miami-based Picsart.

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AI TECH,GENERAL AI,SOFTWARE

Raydiant Acquires Sightcorp and Perch to Boost In-store Experience Using Enhanced AI and Computer Vision

Raydiant | January 12, 2023

On January 11, 2023, Raydiant, a leader in-store experiences, acquired Sightcorp and Perch, thereby deepening its AI and computer vision capabilities. Additionally, Raydiant has added hundreds of application partners in order to become the leading in-store experience platform. The completion of the two acquisitions will add increased capabilities to a single platform, thus enabling retailers to develop dynamic and data-driven experiences that only Raydiant can create. The new groundbreaking capabilities to enhance in-store experience include Lift-and-learn, People AI, Interactive digital signage and an Open application marketplace. Raydiant revealed that its Raydiant Marketplace now includes hundreds of partner applications, such as virtual try-On platforms PerfectCorp, FaceCake, and Holition; retail media network monetization platforms; inventory and planogram compliance detection; and employee management and gamification. Raydiant has also joined with the leading point-of-sale systems for catalogs, dynamic menus, pricing, and personalization, including Square, NCR, Lightspeed, Toast, PAR/Brink, and Clover. Six among the top 10 consumer packaged goods firms and six of the top 25 retailers use Raydiant's platform, which drives an average sales growth of 87%. In addition, Business Insider has named Raydiant as one of the top ten most promising startups among venture capitalists. Raydiant continues to bolster its platform to develop a truly personalized shopping experience that blends the best of digital and physical shopping, therefore enhancing customer engagement and loyalty. About Raydiant Founded in 2017 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Raydiant is the prominent in-location experience management platform for the world's leading retail, e-commerce, restaurant, hospitality and banking companies. Its platform enables enterprises to develop customized and engaging end-to-end content experiences that drive more customer and employee engagement, hence boosting client revenue. Raydiant's cloud-based, plug-and-play solution allows clients to design, manage, and expand on-screen experiences across one or one hundred thousand locations, saving them time, resources, and logistical headaches. It works with more than 3,500 brands, from SMB to enterprise, including First Bank, Dickey's BBQ, Harvard University, The Salvation Army, Red Bull, Chick-Fil-A, Thomson Reuters, as well as the U.S. gourmet burger chain, Wahlburgers.

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AI TECH,GENERAL AI,AI APPLICATIONS

Nexus FrontierTech launches first-of-its-kind plug-and-play AI modules on Microsoft Azure

Nexus FrontierTech | December 05, 2022

Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution provider Nexus FrontierTech has announced its partnership with Microsoft Azure, allowing clients to utilise the Azure marketplace for quick deployment of AI solutions within their organisations. The first module by Nexus FrontierTech available on the platform is a driving licence processing solution for UK licences, extracting both the personal identity information as well as photo and signature verification. The module seamlessly integrates this data directly into clients' systems, automating the extraction of both the textual data and graphics on the licences needed for identification verification, delivering workflow automation without any disruption. The Nexus Driving License Extractor, along with soon-to-launch modules for Financial Statements, Bank Statements, Passports and more, is the first-of-its-kind on the Azure marketplace. Nexus FrontierTech powers these modules via the Nexus AI Engine, which taps multiple data types and turns unstructured data into accurate, actionable and valuable intelligence with Intelligent Document Processing & NLP. Specialised for banking and financial services, asset management, retail and wealth banking, the engine delivers 50+ proprietary AI modules that automate high value workflows including onboarding, compliance, research, and portfolio monitoring, and enables quick and easy customisation for other data sources. Danny Goh, Nexus FrontierTech CEO, said "We're excited to have successfully launched the Driving Licence Extractor AI module on the Azure platform, serving our clients on the Microsoft ecosystem. Preparations for the launch of our other existing modules are already underway, and we look forward to delivering a full suite of intelligent automation products via Azure, supporting Azure users with the speed and agility needed in their workflows to scale their operations."

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