Open-Core Data Science Company Skymind Raises $11.5 Million

By Dan Anderson ● Mar 31, 2019

San Francisco-based Skymind announced it has raised $11.5 million in a Series A round of funding led by TransLink Capital. ServiceNow, Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures, UpHonest Capital, and DCode with GovTech Fund also participated in this round along with early investors Y Combinator, Tencent, Mandra Capital, Hemi Ventures, and GMO Ventures. Including this round, Skymind has raised $17.9 million in total funding.

Founded by CEO Chris Nicholson and CTO Adam Gibson, Skymind’s technology enables enterprises to build high-performance and predictive artificial intelligence stacks. The Skymind Intelligence Layer (SKIL) brings machine learning to a company’s big data stack and computing resources in the cloud, on-premise, edge devices (smartphones, drones, autonomous vehicles, healthcare sensors, etc), or in hybrid environments.

“AI and machine learning are no longer on the enterprise wish list, they are a ‘must have’ as successful companies embrace the automation, predictive analytics and efficiency that AI provides,” said Nicholson. “From the beginning, we have focused on creating an AI framework that will sustain companies for years to come, covering everything from data pipelines to algorithm training to model lifecycle management. Today’s financing is a validation of our approach and technology.”

With this funding round, Skymind will fuel customer acquisition and build out its sales teams in North America and Asia. Currently, Skymind has 40 employees and more than 20 enterprise customers like Softbank and Orange. TransLink Capital co-founder and managing director Toshiya Otani will be joining Skymind’s board of directors in conjunction with this funding round.

“AI is an $11 billion-dollar market set to double in a few years, and Skymind, as one of the original leaders in open-source AI technology, is well positioned to capture a significant share of the market, particularly as more and more enterprises seek to integrate AI into their core business,” added Otani. “We have confirmed that there is a significant market opportunity in Asia for Skymind’s technology.”

Using sophisticated language models and natural-language processing pipelines, Skymind enables enterprises to create more intelligent products and automate business processes. And Skymind’s platform helps companies train machine learning models on a cluster, which can be deployed in all kinds of environments.

“Applying machine learning and AI to IT operations can help IT teams scale to meet the digital needs of their business,” added ServiceNow SVP of DevOps and global head of engineering Pat Casey. “We’ve leveraged Skymind’s technology in our Now Platform Madrid Release to power deep learning solutions across digital workflows. We look forward to our continued work with Skymind as we find new ways to incorporate AI technologies in our platform to drive great customer experiences.” 

Skymind is also known for creating the open-source Eclipse Deeplearning4j open-source AI tool for the Java programming language. And Skymind is also one of the largest contributors to the Keras deep learning framework for Python.

“We see a lot of potential in bringing machine learning to mobile and other edge devices,” explained Ted Tatsumi — who is the president and CEO of Sumitomo’s Presidio Ventures. “The same is true for machine learning applications in the enterprise, and for businesses that seek to bring AI out into the real world.”