H2O.AI started almost six years ago with a mission to simplify and democratize artificial intelligence. Today the company announced a $40M Series C round.
Nvidia and Wells Fargo led the round with participation from New York Life, Crane Venture Partners, Nexus Venture Partners and Transamerica Ventures. Today’s investment brings the total raised so far to $75 million. The last round was for $20M almost exactly two years ago.
CEO Sri Ambati says his company is attempting to democratize AI, even as the biggest tech companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Salesforce try to take control of this market by building proprietary tools and sucking up much of the talent.
His company has taken a different approach. They have created a platform with a combination of open source tools and products to bring this technology to companies that don’t necessarily have the resources to hire data scientists and programmers with deep AI knowledge, but still want to build these technologies into their applications.
This is not to say the company has ignored the bigger players. It still is partnering with AWS and Azure, even as it competes with them. The approach seems to be working as the company reports that 100,000 data scientists, 12,400 organizations and nearly half of the Fortune 500 are using their products.
Last summer, it released Driverless AI, a product that brings a high level of automation to the machine learning process that could put it in reach of even non-technical end users. TechCrunch’s John Mannes, writing about the release described it this way:
All of H2O.ai’s products help to make AI more accessible, but Driverless AI takes things a step further by physically automating many of the tough decisions that need to be made when preparing a model. Driverless AI automates feature engineering, the process by which key variables are selected to build a model.
The company launched in 2011 and has close to 70 employees. They will be hiring more with new infusion of cash with plans to expand to Europe in the next year. Customers include Capital One, Comcast, AT&T and Kaiser, among others.