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Technology / Emerging Technology

AI Specialist Peltarion Goes from Two-Man Band to $110 Million Valuation

Swedish entrepreneur Luka Crnkovic-Friis, CEO and co-founder of Peltarion, spent the best part of 12 years running his company as a two-man team, alongside co-founder Måns Erlandson. Now he’s secured $20 million from the family office of hedge fund billionaire James Simons in the company’s Series A funding round.

The investment round, announced today, brings Peltarion’s total funding to $34 million to date, following a seed round in 2016 that secured investment from FAM, the holding company privately owned by the three largest Wallenberg foundations – Sweden’s richest family – and EQT Ventures.

Luka Crnkovic-Friis, Peltarion CEO

What is Peltarion?

Peltarion builds customers neural networks, training and deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) across client datasets.

The company claims to have deployed its technology for organisations ranging from BMW to MIT and has grown to a team of 70 since securing $14 million in a 2016 seed funding round.

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Speaking to Computer Business Review in London this week, CEO Luka Crnkovic-Friis said he felt the AI industry was maturing, with customers recognising the challenges of deploying neural networks and the importance of making sure that they were AI-ready, for example in having data sets ready to be put to work.

He said: “Board-level buy-in isn’t the challenge: in the past we’ve gone in, having been told that ‘all the data’ is ready. Then you go a layer down and you find it is either not there at all, or it is in different formats and databases all over the place.”

“That’s beginning to change – and customers are also recognising the importance of understanding the strategic reasons for which they want to deploy AI.”

One of Peltarion’s machine learning algorithms (programmed to predict house prices and anticipate volatility) was widely deployed by Swedish banks for years prior to the financial crisis, he added, saying it had been credited with Sweden’s housing market resilience in the face of the global crisis, which hit property markets globally.

The cloud-based company’s API approach creates an enterprise-ready solution, lowering the bar of hard-to-find AI skills required to build AI products and services, while reducing the need for expensive infrastructure, it claims. It is cloud-based and runs on GPUs, with a graphical interface.

“AI is a technology that everyone should benefit from. Our mission is to make AI technology useable and affordable for all and this investment will help us to grow and scale in order to do more good in the world” Luka Crnkovic-Friis said in a release.

Recent projects the company has worked on include cancer tumor segmentation, skin cancer detection, agriculture yield optimisation, DNA prediction and energy.
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