Last year, three former Uber engineers left the company to form a startup called Tecton.ai. They envisioned an operational machine learning platform for companies struggling to integrate the technology into their products.
On Tuesday, the startup announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding. It comes from several high-profile investors—including the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital.
Machine Learning for Everyone
While at Uber, Mike Del Balso (now CEO of Tecton.ai), Kevin Stumpf, and Jeremy Hermann helped build the rideshare service’s core machine learning platform, Michelangelo. It analyzes things like driver safety, estimated arrival times, fraud, and much more. Without it, Uber wouldn’t be nearly as successful.
As such, having the trio on board is attractive for investors looking at Tecton.ai. Del Balso and company set out to apply what they learned at Uber and create a machine learning platform for businesses that plays nicely with their existing solutions.
He says, “What Tecton is really about is helping organizations make it really easy to build production-level machine learning systems, and put them in production and operate them correctly. And we focus on the data layer of machine learning.”
Even for tech-forward companies, integrating machine learning into an existing ecosystem can be a challenge. This is primarily the result of models that aren’t designed to be reused across different applications. Del Balso notes that many machine learning projects are failing in the early stages. Tecton.ai wants to give them a way to avoid that fate.
This unique approach—along with an even more unique team—has positioned Tecton.ai for success. It has also helped the startup secure the aforementioned $20 million in funding. That sum, combined with seed money from an investment last year, brings Tecton.ai’s total to $25 million.
Many investors are playing things cautiously today due to the economic uncertainty around the world. However, Del Balso believes that it won’t be a problem for Tecton.ai. He sees a bright future for the company as it is looking to solve a problem that currently plagues countless businesses.
Indeed, machine learning is one of the most in-demand technologies out there today. Tecton.ai may be able to weather the economic storm caused by the coronavirus pandemic for precisely that reason.
“From the customers we’re talking to, they need to solve these problems, and so we don’t see things slowing down,” Del Balso says.
As of now, Tecton.ai has 17 employees. It is actively looking to hire new faces—particularly data scientists and machine learning engineers. The startup aims to have 30 employees by the end of the year.
In a company blog post, Del Balso noted that Tecton isn’t ready for a public release just yet. The team is still developing the product while working out any remaining issues with early partners. The post also says that announcements about general availability should arrive later this year.