According to a Markets and Markets report, the global AI market is estimated to grow at 37% CAGR to reach $190.6 billion by 2025. The growth in the industry is expected to be driven by the growing adoption of cloud-based applications and services and the growth of intelligent virtual assistants and big data. San Francisco-based Scale AI is a Unicorn in the market that is helping promote the growth and adoption of AI-based technology.
Scale AI’s Offerings
Scale AI was set up in 2016 by Alexandr Wang and Lucy Guo. The founders of Scale AI realized that while Machine Learning was a ground-breaking technology, there was still a lot of work to be done to make the technology efficient. Part of the work revolved around data labeling which required the indexing and labeling of images into categories to help AI become intelligent. Scale AI wanted to build the infrastructure needed for the labeling. It grew with a vision to replace a specialized resource constraint for software engineers with a commoditized one of data labelers.
Today, AI technology use cases such as the autonomous car depend on an extensive library of images. People look at images, label them, and then feed them back into the AI software so that the technology can learn to identify the same image on its own. Scale AI automated this data labeling process. Its customers provide Scale AI with data using its API. Scale AI’s software then publishes a first draft of labels for images that are sent to its pool of contract workers. The contract workers review the software’s work and focus on the requirements laid out by Scale AI’s customers to finish labeling the images. The images are now ready to be deployed to train AI machines.
By building an ecosystem of software and humans, Scale AI claims to have reduced the time needed to label images significantly. Scale AI’s technology has attracted a wide list of customers including Alphabet’s Waymo, Lyft, Pinterest, and Uber, to name a few.
Scale AI’s Financials
Scale AI is privately held and does not disclose its financials. It has raised $122.6 million in funding so far from investors including Founders Fund, Coatue Management, Spark Capital, Mike Krieger, Adam D’Angelo, Kevin Systrom, Thrive Capital, Accel, and Index Ventures. Its last round of funding was held in August this year when it raised $100 million at a valuation of a billion dollars. The round was led by Founders Fund. Scale AI already has over 30,000 contract workers helping build its library. But it realizes that it will take “billions of tens of billions of examples to get AI systems to human-level performance”. It wants to use the newly acquired funds to help fulfill this demand.
Scale AI is not the only data labeler in the market. Competitors include startups like Hive that has a similar offering. Other big names include Amazon itself which also offers an automated data labeling service. Earlier this year, Uber acquired Mighty AI, another data labeling service, to enhance its autonomous car objective.