AI visual recognition company Clarifai nabs $30M round

Anthony Sodd

The visual recognition AI company Clarifai announced today it raised a $30 million Series B round.

The round was led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from Union Square Ventures, Lux Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, and Osage University Partners. This round of funding puts the 3-year-old company's total at $41.25 million. 

Clarifai makes cutting edge visual recognition technology driven by artificial intelligence. The company aims to make it easy for any business to integrate artificial intelligence and machine learning into their apps and with just a little bit of data, their software can teach a computer to recognize complex shapes and objects. For example, with a few clicks of a mouse, you can teach a computer to recognize the difference between a can of Budweiser and a can of Miller Lite. 

“Clarifai was built upon the belief that everyone should have the power to use artificial intelligence, regardless of their budget, infrastructure or skill level, in order to improve their products and our quality of life,” said Clarifai founder and CEO Matt Zeiler in a statement. “As an independent company, we have the unique ability to move quickly and innovate at a more consistent and rapid pace, all while solely focusing on leveraging data for each partner’s specific business needs. This new funding enables us to supercharge our innovation and continue our mission to create an AI platform that makes powerful AI tools available to the masses.”

For such a young company, Clarifai has some impressive wins. Their clients range from Fortune 500 companies to tech companies like Buzzfeed, Trivago and 500px. Their 'off the rack' API can recognize over 11,000 concepts in photos and videos, including things like NSFW content or just about any other shape — even down to the level of individual ingredients in a photo of food.

Zeiler, the company's founder, also has an impressive background, having studied and worked with some of the pioneers of machine learning and neural networking. Zeiler was offered spots on Google, Facebook and Microsoft's AI teams, but instead returned to New York to start Clarifai. You can read more about that here.  

Clarifai currently has a team of around 33 in their New York offices, with another person in the Bay Area. The company said it will use the new round of funding to expand their engineering and business teams, and accelerate the hiring of research talent. 


Images via Clarifai

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