Labelbox raises $10 million for its services to support machine learning applications

Labelbox, a provider of services to create, manage and maintain data sets for machine learning applications, has raised $10 million in a new round of funding.

The financing came from Gradient Ventures, Google’s AI-focused venture fund, with participation from previous investors Kleiner Perkins, First Round Capital and Sumon Sadhu, an angel investor.

Labelbox manages the process of outsourcing data labeling for organizations and provides toolkits for companies or organizations to manage the data they’re receiving and ensuring the quality of that data, according to chief executive Manu Sharma.

For the Labelbox founders — Sharma; Dan Rasmuson, the company’s chief technology officer; and Brian Rieger, the chief operating officer — the tools they developed are simply an extension of the services they’d needed at their previous employers — companies like DroneDeploy, Planet Labs and Boeing.

Financing from the round will be used to double the size of its team from 11 employees to 22, and build out its sales and marketing teams.

Labelbox counts around 50 customers for its service and charges them based on the volume of data that companies upload and the breadth of services they use, Sharma said. Some named customers include FLIR Systems, Lytx, Airbus, Genius Sports and KeepTruckin.

As we’d reported when Labelbox launched from stealth last year, anyone can use the company’s toolkit for free. Companies are charged once they hit a certain usage threshold. Lytx, for instance, uses Labelbox for its DriveCam, a system installed on half a million trucks with cameras that use AI to detect unsafe driver behavior so they can be coached to improve. And the media and publishing giant Conde Nast is using Labelbox to match runway fashion to related items in their archive of content.

“Labelbox substantially reduces model development times and empowers data science teams to build great machine learning applications,” said Sharma in a statement. “With the new funding, Labelbox will continue to double down on bringing data labeling infrastructure to the machine learning teams with powerful automation, collaboration, and enterprise-grade features.”

Gradient Ventures was interested enough in the technology to invest, and sees promise in the company’s ability to support the development of machine learning tools globally.

“Labelbox is well-positioned to fuel the industrialization of machine learning across many sectors, such as manufacturing, transportation and healthcare. In doing so, they will unlock the potential of AI for companies across the globe,” said Anna Patterson, founder and managing partner at Gradient Ventures.