March 17, 2021
As reported in TechCrunch, Weights & Biases (“W&B”), a technology start-up that builds tools for machine learning (“ML”) practitioners, has raised US$45 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Insight Partners with additional participation from Coatue, Trinity Ventures, and Bloomberg Beta. George Matthew, Managing Director of Insight Partners, will join W&B’s board of directors. The financing will be used to fund new hiring in engineering, growth, sales, and customer success, as well as to expand the categories of products offered. This new round builds upon W&B’s previous funding round of US$20 million.
W&B noted that “ML practitioners are still in the dark ages” and that “you cannot have artificial intelligence (“AI”) safety if ML teams cannot systematically track the models they build and the datasets they use”. To mitigate this problem, W&B created various machine learning tools, including solutions around data set versioning, model evaluation, and pipeline management. The aim is to ultimately improve AI reproducibility and safety by making high quality developer tools. W&B has more than 70,000 users at more than 200 enterprises. There are multiple practical applications for W&B’s platform, which is currently being used by John Deere to continually improve the way it uses robotics to spray fertilizer and by pharmaceutical companies to help model how different molecules will behave.
This investment is significant as it reflects a broader symptom of industrializing AI technology. Indeed, the investment signals the growing emergence of business-to-business companies built around facilitating AI infrastructure and better understanding the variables used when deploying AI. W&B was founded by Lukas Biewald, Chris Van Pelt, and Shawn Lewis. Interestingly, the company is not the first start-up for Biewald and Van Pelt, who previously founded CrowdFlower/Figure Eight, which was acquired by Appen for US$300 million in 2019.
Author: Andrew Patel