From Digital Age to Nano Age. WorldWide.

Tag: platform

Robotic Automations

Equities platform Midas raises $45M Series A as fintech retains its sparkle in Turkey | TechCrunch

Midas, a fintech startup that allows people in Turkey to invest in U.S. and Turkish equities, says it has raised $45 million in a funding round led by Portage Ventures of Canada.

The startup is aimed at Turkey’s retail investor market and claims to have more than 2 million users. Its pitch is that it charges significantly lower transaction and commission fees for Turkish customers who want to invest in U.S. or Turkish stocks. It also offers financial content, real-time stock market data and news, and company profiles — all to educate what many consider to be somewhat of an emerging market.

“If you came to Turkey three years ago, there were only 1.5 million investors. That’s in a country of 80 million,” Egem Eraslan, CEO and founder of Midas, told TechCrunch. “Capital markets penetration rates were very, very low. Mobile banking in Turkey is very good and widespread, but there was a lack of investment in equities products because of a lack of infrastructure.”

According to Eraslan, Midas managed to change that dynamic by building its own infrastructure and providing a decent user experience. “We were extremely capital-efficient. We built much of the initial infrastructure product and licensing with less than $500,000, and that allowed us to launch, get traction, raise capital and break that deadlock. We might be the only new broker in the world that launched self-clearing, self-custody, and self-execution.”

Midas is not dissimilar to U.S.-based Robinhood, which has become a giant in the space by providing retail investors an easy avenue to investing in the financial markets. But Eraslan explains that his company has had take a different tack in Turkey.

“We had to launch multiple products with our own self-clearing, custody, and with the entire value chain. If you’re Robinhood, you don’t have to do self-custody or self-clearing.”

Midas now plans to use the new funding to roll out three new products: cryptocurrency trading, mutual funds, and savings accounts. The company has plans to expand beyond Turkey, and aims to target countries in the MENA region.

International Finance Corporation, Spark Capital, Earlybird Digital East Fund, and Revo Capital also participated in the round. The company last raised an $11 million seed round in 2022. Arriving within three years of its founding, Midas’ latest fundraise is one of the largest by a Turkish fintech in recent years, close behind embedded finance startup Param, which raised $50 million in 2022.

Cem Sertoglu, managing partner of Earlybird Digital East Fund, of the startup’s early investors said, “Having timed the explosion in demand in the Turkish investment market perfectly as the first digital-native investment platform, Midas has been executing flawlessly. Winning the domestic market in the world’s 11th-largest economy will already be a success for Midas, but its ambitions lie further than that.”

In a statement, Paul Desmarais III, co-Founder of Portage, and CEO and chairman of Sagard, said: “Midas is leading a wave of transformation within Turkey’s financial landscape. Globally, Portage invests in transformational financial technology and Midas is poised to lead that initiative in a region of early adopters.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Exclusive: Checkr, the background-screening platform last valued at $5 billion, cuts 32% of workforce

Checkr, a 10-year-old startup that offers employee background checks and was last valued at $5 billion in April 2022, has laid off 382 employees as companies are not significantly hiring talent.

TechCrunch exclusively learned that Checkr conducted the layoffs across all departments and different levels on Tuesday. The San Francisco–based startup confirmed the layoffs in an email.

“In response to economic conditions that have impacted companies’ hiring, we made the difficult and painful decision to reduce the size of our team. This will allow us to operate more efficiently and ensure the long-term health of our business,” a Checkr spokesperson said in the statement.

The job cuts — which affected 32% of the company’s workforce — came nearly two years after Checkr announced the acquisition of Inflection, the startup behind GoodHire, a background-checking platform for small- and midsized businesses. At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported the deal was worth $400 million.

Backed by storied investors, including Durable Capital Partners, Fidelity Management & Research, Franklin Templeton, BOND and Coatue Management, Checkr lets companies do background checks by looking into driving and criminal records and basic identity confirmation of their potential employees. The startup offers an online form to let companies run those checks or use its API, which can be integrated within their hiring systems or onboarding software, including Workable and Zenefits.

Founded in 2014, Checkr counts Uber, Instacart, Netflix, Adecco, Airbnb and Coinbase among its key customers. Its customer base grew to more than tens of thousands of companies ranging from small and medium businesses to Fortune 500 employers in 2022. Initially, the startup was limited to Silicon Valley, but it expanded its presence beyond the Valley in 2016.

Checkr has given the affected employees a minimum of 10 weeks of severance and health insurance, as well as career and mental health support, the spokesperson said.

The startup did not answer questions about its runway and fundraising plans. To date, it has raised $679 million, with the last round of $250 million announced in September 2021.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Turkish startup ikas attracts $20M for its e-commerce platform designed for small businesses | TechCrunch

It’s easy to assume the e-commerce ship has sailed when you consider we have giant outfits like Shopify, WooCommerce and Wix dominating the sector. But the opportunity for e-commerce platforms that cater to brands remain vast and fertile, since so many smaller businesses continue foraying into the internet in the wake of the pandemic.

Further evidence of this has surfaced in the form of one of the largest fundraises by a startup in Turkey, given that the average Series A usually comes in at below $15 million. E-commerce platform ikas has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round as it seeks to expand its operations into new markets in Europe. The company currently operates in Turkey and Germany, and says its platform simplifies store management for companies that want to have a digital presence.

The investment was led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) fund, a venture arm of the World Bank Group.

ikas’ co-founder and CEO Mustafa Namoğlu told TechCrunch that the company would be using the new funding for international expansion in Eastern Europe and the DaCH region.

“Most of Europe is predominantly neglected or underserved by those U.S.-based giants,” he said. “The global platforms lack customer service in local languages. It looks easy to start with, for example, a Shopify. But once you start, you need to add other plugins, and you may even need an agency to run it.”

Namoğlu said ikas can win customers against other platforms because it’s more of a “fire and forget” platform. “The first reason our merchants pick us over others is storefront speed, which gives them higher conversion rates. You get this out of the box, even if you pay us €30 per month. The second reason is customer service. Thirdly, we bundle the payments and the shipping labels into our core product, which means you don’t need to go and negotiate with payment providers or shipping labels. You’re immediately ready to go,” he said.

Namoğlu previously founded MUGO, a fashion distribution and retail company, and launched ikas in 2017 with co-founders Tugay Karaçay, Ömercan Çelikler and Umut Ozan Yildirim.

The IFC invests directly in companies as well as through PE and VC funds.

Also investing in ikas is Re-Pie Asset Management, which has grocery delivery startup Getir in its portfolio. The round saw participation from ikas’ existing investor Revo Capital, best known as the first institutional investor in Getir, Param, Midas and Roamless.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Nvidia's next-gen Blackwell platform will come to Google Cloud in early 2025 | TechCrunch

It’s Google Cloud Next in Las Vegas this week, and that means it’s time for a bunch of new instance types and accelerators to hit the Google Cloud Platform. In addition to the new custom Arm-based Axion chips, most of this year’s announcements are about AI accelerators, whether built by Google or from Nvidia.

Only a few weeks ago, Nvidia announced its Blackwell platform. But don’t expect Google to offer those machines anytime soon. Support for the high-performance Nvidia HGX B200 for AI and HPC workloads and GB200 NBL72 for large language model (LLM) training will arrive in early 2025. One interesting nugget from Google’s announcement: The GB200 servers will be liquid-cooled.

This may sound like a bit of a premature announcement, but Nvidia said that its Blackwell chips won’t be publicly available until the last quarter of this year.

Image Credits: Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch

Before Blackwell

For developers who need more power to train LLMs today, Google also announced the A3 Mega instance. This instance, which the company developed together with Nvidia, features the industry-standard H100 GPUs but combines them with a new networking system that can deliver up to twice the bandwidth per GPU.

Another new A3 instance is A3 confidential, which Google described as enabling customers to “better protect the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive data and AI workloads during training and inferencing.” The company has long offered confidential computing services that encrypt data in use, and here, once enabled, confidential computing will encrypt data transfers between Intel’s CPU and the Nvidia H100 GPU via protected PCIe. No code changes required, Google says. 

As for Google’s own chips, the company on Tuesday launched its Cloud TPU v5p processors — the most powerful of its homegrown AI accelerators yet — into general availability. These chips feature a 2x improvement in floating point operations per second and a 3x improvement in memory bandwidth speed.

Image Credits: Frederic Lardinois/TechCrunch

All of those fast chips need an underlying architecture that can keep up with them. So in addition to the new chips, Google also announced Tuesday new AI-optimized storage options. Hyperdisk ML, which is now in preview, is the company’s next-gen block storage service that can improve model load times by up to 3.7x, according to Google.

Google Cloud is also launching a number of more traditional instances, powered by Intel’s fourth- and fifth-generation Xeon processors. The new general-purpose C4 and N4 instances, for example, will feature the fifth-generation Emerald Rapids Xeons, with the C4 focused on performance and the N4 on price. The new C4 instances are now in private preview, and the N4 machines are generally available today.

Also new, but still in preview, are the C3 bare-metal machines, powered by older fourth-generation Intel Xeons, the X4 memory-optimized bare metal instances (also in preview) and the Z3, Google Cloud’s first storage-optimized virtual machine that promises to offer “the highest IOPS for storage optimized instances among leading clouds.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Vista Equity to take revenue optimization platform Model N private in $1.25B deal | TechCrunch

Model N, a platform used by companies such as Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and AMD to automate decisions related to pricing, incentives, and compliance, is going private in a $1.25 billion deal with private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. The acquisition underscores how PE firms continue to scoop up tech companies that have struggled to perform well in public markets in the last couple of years.

Vista Equity is doling out $30 per share in the all-cash transaction, representing a 12% premium on Friday’s closing price, and 16% on its 30-day average.

This is Vista Equity’s fifth such acquisition in the past 18 months, following Avalara ($8.4 billion); KnowBe4 ($4.6 billion); Duck Creek Technologies ($2.6 billion); and EngageSmart ($4 billion).

Founded in 1999, Model N’s software integrates with various data sources and internal systems to help companies analyze trends, pricing efficacy, market demand, and more. The platform is typically used in industries such as pharmaceuticals and life sciences, where there may be complex pricing structures, and where regulatory or market changes can impact business.

The San Mateo-headquartered company went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2013, and it has generally performed well in the intervening years — particularly since around 2019, when its market cap steadily started to increase, hitting an all-time high of $1.6 billion last year. However, its valuation has generally hovered below the $1 billion market for the past six months, sparking Vista Equity Partners into action today.

Vista said that it expects the transaction to close in the middle of 2024, though it is of course subject to the usual conditions, including shareholder approval.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Trump's Truth Social plans to launch a live TV streaming platform | TechCrunch

Truth Social, the social media platform owned by Donald Trump’s media company, has announced plans to launch a live TV streaming platform. The platform will focus on “news networks” and “religious channels,” along with “other content that has been cancelled, is at risk of cancellation, or is being suppressed on other platforms and services,” according to a press release. The service will also feature “family-friendly” content, including films and documentaries.

The streaming service will launch in three phases. The company first plans to introduce Truth Social’s CDN (content delivery network) for streaming to the Truth Social app for Android, iOS and the web. Next, Truth Social plans to release over-the-top (“OTT”) streaming apps for phones, tablets and other devices. The last phase of the rollout involves the launch of a streaming app for TVs.

The Trump Media & Technology Group (TMTG) says it has tested the streaming service on its web and iOS platforms for six months and has “finished the research and development phase.”

“We’re excited to move forward with the next big phase for Truth Social,” said TMTG CEO Devin Nunes in the press release. “With our streaming content, we aim to provide a permanent home for high-quality news and entertainment that face discrimination by other channels and content delivery services.”

The announcement comes as Elon Musk’s X has been focused on trying to turn the social media site into a free-speech “video-first” platform. The social network currently features an original show hosted by former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and another by former Fox Sports host Jim Rome. Last month, Musk canceled a talkshow deal with former CNN anchor Don Lemon after the multibillionaire was interviewed for the first episode of the show.

Truth Social went public last month after shareholders approved a merger of TMTG and Digital World Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). The company’s stock slumped this week after it said it would sell more shares to raise cash. Although the company is worth billions of dollars, TMTG is struggling to make money: It reportedly had a net loss of around $49 million in 2023 and made just under $4 million in revenue.

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Silicon Valley prankster Danielle Baskin launches Moonlight, an online tarot platform | TechCrunch

Bay Area artist Danielle Baskin is not a first-time founder – but this is the first time she’s started a tech company that isn’t a performance art piece, or an elaborate joke. Still, she has a tongue-in-cheek tagline to pitch her latest venture: “It’s SaaS for witches.”

She’s not kidding. Moonlight is a free online tarot platform, where you can draw tarot cards on your own, do a reading in a multiplayer room, or even book a session with a vetted tarot professional (that’s where the SaaS part comes in).

Some founders would kill to have just one good idea. Baskin has so many good ideas that some of her performance art projects have inadvertently spun into legitimate companies. What if instead of getting more corporate swag, you could go to a conference and get a Salesforce-branded avocado? (“That was actually a solid business,” she told TechCrunch, but it was quashed by the pandemic).

She’s also spent four years running Dialup, an app that pairs strangers in one-on-one phone calls. Then, there are less time-consuming joke products like OneHoodie, a hoodie with swappable velcro logos, in case your company gets acquired and you don’t want a whole new hoodie; Drone Sweaters, clothes to keep your drone warm; or Warby Parkour, photos of glasses doing parkour. Some of the funding for Moonlight came from selling her business Maskalike, where she made photorealistic face masks with people’s actual faces on them.

“After I sold my mask company, I felt like for the first time in my life, I wasn’t hustling anything, and I could just think about what I wanted to do next,” she said. Then came Moonlight.

Image Credits: Moonlight

Moonlight has an appropriately mystical connection to one of Baskin’s first companies. About fifteen years ago, Baskin ran a business painting custom bike helmets, but around the same time, she had just begun learning about tarot.

Tarot isn’t fortune-telling or psychic reading. Dating back to the 1400s, each of the 78 cards in the tarot deck tells a story. Tarot readers help people interpret the cards they pull, and draw from the stories of the cards to help clients think through life events from a different angle.

“I had this idea to paint each tarot card on 78 unique helmets, and sell them all in New York, so that they’d all be shuffling around, and when you pass a cyclist, you could get a reading on your bike,” she said. “You’d be biking and pass the three of swords and you’re like, ‘Oh, I’m going to think about heartbreak right now,’ or you pass the magician, and you’re like, ‘Oh, I should be doing more spectacles today.’”

Sometimes, she’d trade a helmet for a few tarot lessons with a witch (which is how some tarot practitioners describe themselves). It was at one of these lessons that Baskin first imagined what an online tarot platform could look like.

Image Credits: Danielle Baskin/Inkwell Helmets

“One of my teachers, I went to her place and she had this desktop computer in the corner, and there were these beach sounds coming from it,” she said. “I asked her what was on her computer, and she explained that she was a tarot reader in Second Life [at a beachside tarot shop]. She would meet clients there, and people all over the world would voice chat with her… That’s always been in the back of my mind. Even when building this, I’m like, ‘Whoa, should I get in touch with her again?’”

Baskin has spent fifteen years of studying tarot, giving readings (sometimes at corporate parties), and getting to know other witches. Now, the path to Moonlight has come full circle.

Moonlight’s interface is beautiful and intuitive. When you enter a room, you start by shuffling your tarot deck – the default is the iconic Rider Waite Smith deck, but decks from other artists are for sale. You can pull cards in four different preset spreads, but you can also just pull cards onto a blank canvas, which can be helpful for people learning to read the cards. If you’re not a tarot expert, there’s a built-in handbook inside the app, but the descriptions are pretty open-ended – “I just put in the most minimalist keywords, so you could project your own meanings onto it,” Baskin said.

As she was building out the idea for Moonlight, Baskin teamed up with Caroline Hermans, a game designer and former UX engineer at Google.

“It took a whole two years before I actually made it, because I was also like, who can I collaborate with? Are there tarot engineers?” Baskin said. Hermans fit the bill.

Image Credits: Moonlight

Moonlight was first bootstrapped with the money Baskin made selling Maskalike, but she managed to find some angel investors to jump in as well (she declined to say how much she’s raised). Given her history of poking fun at Silicon Valley – she sold blonde wigs and “blood energy drinks” outside of the courtroom at Elizabeth Holmes’ trial, and she was behind the TouchBase trading cards, which treated venture capitalists like baseball players – she wasn’t sure if investors would take her seriously.

“I was worried that investors might think I’m a prankster – will that hurt me in actually making a business? But I think if people actually know me, they know I’m multi-faceted,” she said. “A lot of investors I met with were familiar with my artwork. They’re like ‘Oh, you did BART Basel,’ the art show in BART.”

It’s important to Baskin that Moonlight has an actual business plan from the get-go – she learned that lesson while running Dialup, which has since been sunsetted.

“I was in this sort of mindset, maybe similar to Clubhouse, where I was like, ‘Well, we can keep growing our app, and keep it free, and then as it’s more popular, we’ll figure out a plan to monetize it,’” she said. Neither Clubhouse nor Dialup thrived under that model – most companies don’t. But Moonlight already is generating some income by taking a 15% platform fee from bookings with tarot readers and sales of digital decks. The platform launched without fanfare about a year ago, but now that its booking flow is in place, Moonlight is looking to make a splash.

“I was worried that witches would hate technology. You know, they’re like, ‘My physical deck is charged with a crystal in the windowsill and that’s the only one I’ll use,’ but no, everyone’s on the internet,” Baskin said. “Witches have Instagram. We’re all using technology, and I think they’re excited that someone’s making a platform who’s a tarot person, too.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

PVML combines an AI-centric data access and analysis platform with differential privacy | TechCrunch

Enterprises are hoarding more data than ever to fuel their AI ambitions, but at the same time, they are also worried about who can access this data, which is often of a very private nature. PVML is offering an interesting solution by combining a ChatGPT-like tool for analyzing data with the safety guarantees of differential privacy. Using retrieval-augmented generation (RAG), PVML can access a corporation’s data without moving it, taking away another security consideration.

The Tel Aviv-based company recently announced that it has raised an $8 million seed round led by NFX, with participation from FJ Labs and Gefen Capital.

Image Credits: PVML

The company was founded by husband-and-wife team Shachar Schnapp (CEO) and Rina Galperin (CTO). Schnapp got his doctorate in computer science, specializing in differential privacy, and then worked on computer vision at General Motors, while Galperin got her master’s in computer science with a focus on AI and natural language processing and worked on machine learning projects at Microsoft.

“A lot of our experience in this domain came from our work in big corporates and large companies where we saw that things are not as efficient as we were hoping for as naive students, perhaps,” Galperin said. “The main value that we want to bring organizations as PVML is democratizing data. This can only happen if you, on one hand, protect this very sensitive data, but, on the other hand, allow easy access to it, which today is synonymous with AI. Everybody wants to analyze data using free text. It’s much easier, faster and more efficient — and our secret sauce, differential privacy, enables this integration very easily.”

Differential privacy is far from a new concept. The core idea is to ensure the privacy of individual users in large data sets and provide mathematical guarantees for that. One of the most common ways to achieve this is to introduce a degree of randomness into the data set, but in a way that doesn’t alter the data analysis.

The team argues that today’s data access solutions are ineffective and create a lot of overhead. Often, for example, a lot of data has to be removed in the process of enabling employees to gain secure access to data — but that can be counterproductive because you may not be able to effectively use the redacted data for some tasks (plus the additional lead time to access the data means real-time use cases are often impossible).

Image Credits: PVML

The promise of using differential privacy means that PVML’s users don’t have to make changes to the original data. This avoids almost all of the overhead and unlocks this information safely for AI use cases.

Virtually all the large tech companies now use differential privacy in one form or another, and make their tools and libraries available to developers. The PVML team argues that it hasn’t really been put into practice yet by most of the data community.

“The current knowledge about differential privacy is more theoretical than practical,” Schnapp said. “We decided to take it from theory to practice. And that’s exactly what we’ve done: We develop practical algorithms that work best on data in real-life scenarios.”

None of the differential privacy work would matter if PVML’s actual data analysis tools and platform weren’t useful. The most obvious use case here is the ability to chat with your data, all with the guarantee that no sensitive data can leak into the chat. Using RAG, PVML can bring hallucinations down to almost zero and the overhead is minimal since the data stays in place.

But there are other use cases, too. Schnapp and Galperin noted how differential privacy also allows companies to now share data between business units. In addition, it may also allow some companies to monetize access to their data to third parties, for example.

“In the stock market today, 70% of transactions are made by AI,” said Gigi Levy-Weiss, NFX general partner and co-founder. “That’s a taste of things to come, and organizations who adopt AI today will be a step ahead tomorrow. But companies are afraid to connect their data to AI, because they fear the exposure — and for good reasons. PVML’s unique technology creates an invisible layer of protection and democratizes access to data, enabling monetization use cases today and paving the way for tomorrow.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Lawhive raises $12M to expand its legaltech AI platform for small firms | TechCrunch

UK-based legaltech company Lawhive, which offers an AI-based in-house ‘lawyer’ through a software-as-a-service platform targeted at small law firms, has raised £9.5 million ($11.9M) in a seed round to expand the reach of AI-driven services for ‘main street’ law firms.

To date, most legaltech startups that are deploying AI have concentrated on the big, juicy market of ‘Big Law’ — meaning large, either country-wide or global, law firms that are keenly pushing AI into their workflows. These include Harvey (US-based; raised $106M); Robin AI (UK-based; raised $43.4M); Spellbook (Canada-based; raised $32.4M). But there has been scant attention paid by startups to the thousands of ‘main street’ lawyers, which have far smaller budgets and are harder to monetize.

Lawhive targets its platform at small law firms or solo lawyers running their own shop. Lawyers can use its software to onboard and manage their own clients or be matched with consumers and small businesses through a marketplace feature.

The startup applies a variety of foundational AI models, and it’s own in-house model, to summarise documents and speed up the legal process for both lawyer and client across repetitive administrative tasks such as KYC/AML, client onboarding and document collection. Lawhive says its in-house AI lawyer, “Lawrence”, is built on top of its own large language model (LLM), which it claims has passed the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) — scoring 81% against a pass mark of 55%.

Speaking to TechCrunch over a call Pierre Proner, CEO and co-founder of Lawhive, said: “Pretty much all of the existing legaltech — AI companies like Harvey or Robin AI, or Spellbook — all go after the corporate market. That’s a very small number of big law firms in the US in the UK. We’re trying to solve the problem in the consumer legal space, which is totally different and a separate market, both in the UK and globally. It’s served at the moment by — in the UK — 10,000 small law firms.”

He said small firms have faced higher costs and a shrinking market: “They’ve got all of these high costs of staffing and paralegals and junior lawyers, trainees, etc, etc. And they only have one to three actual senior lawyers who are earning any money. So the model doesn’t work. There’s this huge exodus of like mid-career lawyers from the main-street/high street model, and a lot of them are going freelance self employed, and that’s where we’ve sort of seen a lot of traction through our platform of self-employed lawyers who use our AI lawyer.”

Although the UK consumer legal market is worth an estimated £25BN, like most legal markets, it’s groaning under the weight of its own costs. This means around 3.6 million people have an unmet legal need involving a dispute each year and around a million small businesses handle their legal issues on their own. So there’s a strong opportunity for automation to help the sector dial up productivity.

Proner added: “We do combine with foundational models from OpenAI and Anthropic, and as well as open source models. But it is our own model, which has been trained on the data that we’ve been able to gather from 1,000s of cases.”

The startup plans to use the seed round to enter other markets, per Proner: “We have our eyes on other markets yet to be publicly disclosed.”

It might be possible to infer where the planned market expansion will focus by looking at Lawhive’s lead investor: The seed round was led by GV, the venture capital investment arm of Alphabet, the US-based parent of Google. Also participating is London’s Episode 1 Ventures, following a £1.5M investment in April 2022.

In a statement, Vidu Shanmugarajah, partner at GV, said: “As a lawyer by training, I have experienced firsthand how needed technology-driven innovation is in the legal sector. Lawhive represents a transformative shift for both lawyers and consumers.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka

Robotic Automations

Aerospike raises $109M for its real-time database platform to capitalize on the AI boom | TechCrunch

NoSQL database Aerospike today announced that it has raised a $109 million Series E round led by Sumeru Equity Partners. Existing investor Alsop Louie Partners also participated in this round.

In 2009, the company started as a key-value store with a focus on the adtech industry; Aerospike has since diversified its offerings quite a bit. Today, its core offering is a NoSQL database that’s optimized for real-time use cases at scale.

In 2022, Aerospike added document support and then followed that up with graph and vector capabilities — two database features that are crucial for building real-time AI and ML applications.

“We were founded primarily as a real-time data platform that can work with data at really high scale, or, as we call it, unlimited scale,” Aerospike CEO Subbu Iyer said. “We’ve been fortunate enough that a lot of our customers have either started their journey at scale with us, or started the journey earlier and grown into the platform. So our premise has held good that real-time data and real-time access to data is going to be important pretty much across every industry. Our founding principles were really to deliver real-time performance with data at any scale, and the lowest [total cost of ownership] on the market.”

In part, Aerospike, which offers its service as a hosted platform and on-premises, is able to deliver on this promise through its hybrid memory architecture that allows it to augment the use of RAM to speed up data access with fast flash storage — or any combination of the two. Aerospike competitor Redis recently acquired Speedb to offer similar capabilities — also with an eye on helping its customers reduce costs.

Image Credits: Aerospike

Today, the company’s customers include the likes of Airtel, TransUnion, Snap and TechCrunch parent company Yahoo.

Right now, though, it’s definitely the AI boom that is driving a lot of interest in Aerospike and the company wants to be in a position to capitalize on that through this new funding round.

Unsurprisingly, that means the company plans to use the new funding to accelerate its innovations around AI, which are mostly focused on its graph and vector capabilities. Iyer told me that Aerospike is specifically looking at combining those two capabilities.

“Going forward, there are some synergistic ways in which graph and vectors can come together,” he said. “A simple use case I use for this, for example, is if you’re looking for a specific document and you have embeddings and stored them in a vector database, you want to use a vector search to get to that specific document. But if you’re looking for a set of similar documents, a vector search can get you to the neighborhood and then a graph can get you a similar corpus of documents because of relationships and stuff.”

That, of course, is also what got investors interested in the company. Aerospike raised its last round in 2019 and, according to the company’s CEO, it didn’t need to raise now, but there is a large opportunity for Aerospike to capitalize on, something Sumeru co-founder and managing director George Kadifa also stressed.

“AI is transforming the economy and presents new opportunities for growth and innovation,” Kadifa said. “Aerospike, with its impressive customer base and performance advantage at scale, is uniquely positioned to become a foundational element for the next generation of real-time AI applications.”

Software Development in Sri Lanka