In an interesting development, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning firm, Appen has announced that it is acquiring Figure Eight, a best-in-class machine learning software platform for nearly $300 million, out of which $175 million will be paid upfront and the remaining $125 million will be based on Figure Eight’s performance this year, according to a report by Tech Crunch.
As per the report, both the companies use crowdsourced labor pools to annotate data, which in turn is used to train artificial intelligence and machine learning.
San Francisco-based Figure Eight is basically focussed on machine learning and its main area of expertise is to transform unstructured text, image, audio, and video data into AI training data. Founded in 2007, Figure Eight (previously known as CrowdFlower) has played a pivotal role in the development of artificial intelligence ecosystem, having delivered 325 million human judgments in 2018 alone.
Describing Appen’s technology, CEO Mark Brayan said, “We know that to compete and to be able to deliver even higher volumes, we need a richer set of technologies. That’s where Figure Eight comes in. They are, in our view, the leader in the market of the platform providers.”
Brayan went on to explain that Appen previously acquired another data annotation company called Leapforce in 2017, a move that he said provided the company with greater scope and helped it to scale higher.
“The Figure Eight acquisition is the next step of our evolution. Step one was to get bigger, step two is to become much more tech forward, which is what we get with Figure Eight,” he added.
It is worthwhile to note here that the San Francisco-based Figure Eight has raised a total of nearly 58 million in funding from investors which include Trinity Ventures, Industry Ventures, Canvas Ventures, and Salesforce Ventures.
Speaking about the acquisition, Figure Eight co-founder Lukas Biewald said, “I’m extremely proud of the team. This is a genuine validation of everything we’ve achieved and a great platform for our teams to combine and continue to do amazing things in AI.”