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Luminance completes funding round at $100m valuation

  • British AI company successfully completes Series B funding round at $100m valuation. Backers including Invoke Capital, Talis Capital and Slaughter and May invested $10m.

  • Luminance’s machine learning technology is now deployed in over 130 organisations on six continents since September 2016 launch.

  • The announcement follows the business’ recent opening of a fifth office in New York to support global growth, adding to bases in London, Cambridge, Chicago and Singapore.


7 February 2019 – Luminance, the leading artificial intelligence platform for the legal profession, has raised $10m from existing investors Invoke Capital, Talis Capital and Slaughter and May, valuing the company at $100m. The funds will be used to support Luminance’s recent product expansion and global growth, with the company now having four offerings, five global offices and over 70 employees since launching in 2016.
Whether used for legal due diligence, compliance reviews or eDiscovery, Luminance’s technology operates on advanced pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms that behave much like the human brain, sorting through high-volume documentation and flagging anomalies at speed, offering lawyers greater control and insight into their documents. In just two years, the company’s technology has been deployed in over 40 countries and is used by thousands of lawyers on a daily basis. In 2018 alone, Luminance’s customer base increased by over 150%, with global employee headcount more than doubling in order to meet this demand.

“2018 was a year of significant achievement for Luminance,” commented Emily Foges, CEO of Luminance. “We have expanded from one product to four, owing to the flexibility and innovative nature of our core technology. This has enabled a remarkable rate of global customer acquisition over the last 12 months and these funds will valuably support this continued expansion.”
“Luminance remains the only true application of machine learning for legal language present in the market today,” said Vanessa Colomar, Partner at Invoke Capital. “The company’s success over the past two years is indicative of the fundamentally different solution it is providing to law firms and in-house legal teams and we are pleased to back the business through its next stage of growth.”

Vasile Foca, Managing Partner and Co-founder of Talis Capital, added: “Luminance has undoubtedly become the market leader in its field and has set the industry benchmark for truly AI-driven legal solutions both technologically and commercially. The legal profession’s adoption of technology, particularly with Luminance, is becoming ever-more present and essential in delivering greater efficiencies whilst providing best in class customer service. We are pleased to be a part of the company’s continued international growth and product expansion, and are very excited to see them further their success.”

Luminance recently announced the opening of a New York office as its US customer base continues to expand, now including Global Top 100 firms McDermott Will & Emery and Holland & Knight, among others. The company was founded by a group of mathematicians and software engineers from the University of Cambridge following years of research into pattern recognition and machine intelligence.

ENDS

For more information about Luminance, please contact:
Dani Marks, Brands2Life: luminance@brands2life.com | 0207 592 1200

About Luminance
Launched in September 2016 and already in use on six continents, Luminance’s document review platform offers lawyers greater insight at unmatched speeds. Luminance builds on groundbreaking machine learning and pattern recognition techniques developed at the University of Cambridge to read and understand legal language. The technology is used by law firms and inhouse teams in over 40 countries around the world to improve processes such as due diligence,
compliance reviews, property lease abstraction and eDiscovery. Luminance has offices in London, Cambridge, New York, Chicago and Singapore, with over 130 customers including 14 ‘the Global Top 100’ law firms and three of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms.

About Talis Capital
Talis Capital is a unique Venture Capital investment firm funded by a group of successful and strategic ultra high net worth entrepreneurs. Focused on backing emerging software technologies, Talis has invested over $500m worth of transactions since 2009 and the portfolio includes Darktrace, Onfido, iwoca, Pirate Studios, Luminance, Threads, Oh My Green to name just a few. Talis concentrates on building long term partnerships and leverages their exclusive investor network to create opportunity. The team looks for innovative high growth companies with sector defining ventures and attractive business models.

Talis Capital-backed Narrativ Recognised As World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer

Company honoured for building technology to re-architect an independent and profitable media ecosystem

(LONDON, June 21, 2018), Narrativ, an innovative media technology company backed by Talis Capital (‘Talis’) has been honoured by the World Economic Forum (‘WEF’) as a 2018 Technology Pioneer.

Narrativ’s SmartLink AI transforms hard-coded links into intelligent, continuously self-repairing nodes - creating an open marketplace for product links while ending the 404. To date, SmartLink AI has restored more than one billion links, impacting more than 200 million internet users every month.

The World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers is a community of early-stage companies from around the world poised to have a significant impact on business and society.  Past recipients of the award include Google, AirBnb, Kickstarter, Blockchain, Palantir and Wikipedia. Other Talis-backed winners of the award include Darktrace and Onfido.

Narrativ’s technology unlocks a new revenue source for publishers by democratizing 100mm consumers, creating a sustainable business model that maintains integrity for the 4th estate. The Company was founded by Shirley Chen, former consultant at McKinsey & Company and Director of Marketing and Business Development at Moda Operandi. She is one of 14 female founders recognized by WEF this year.

Talis participated in the angel funding round and went on to lead the seed funding round in Narrativ, which also included participation from New Enterprise Associates. These investments have allowed Narrativ to innovate further through investment into technology and to continue to drive the expansion of the business.

Narrativ’s mission is to build a strong technology foundation for journalism and commerce. It’s our generation’s responsibility to build a sustainable and profitable media ecosystem,” said Shirley Chen, CEO and Founder of Narrativ. “The foundation of this ecosystem is free-flowing data, accessed by working links. We need to restore links for the benefit of every user of the Internet - publishers, advertisers and consumers alike.”

Matus Maar, Managing Partner and Co-founder of Talis Capital said: “Narrativ is shaping the future of journalism and commerce on the internet. By devising innovative technology that repairs crumbling digital infrastructure, Narrativ is improving the internet for users, publishers and advertisers alike. The scale of this undertaking should not be understated, and its work is vital to the health of a digital ecosystem. Today’s award is testament to Narrativ’s achievements and further demonstrates how technologies can improve the state of the world.”

The Technology Pioneers were selected by a selection committee of more than 60 academics, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and corporate executives. The committee based its decisions on criteria including innovation, potential impact and leadership. There is also a wide variety in the technologies the pioneers focus on: the focus technologies include artificial intelligence, big data and internet of things (IoT), biotechnology, blockchain, autonomous vehicles, cyber security, vertical farming and other agricultural advances, decentralised microgrids and robotics.

Portfolio Update - 12.01.2018

Darktrace have partnered with AIG to identify client vulnerabilities for their cyberinsurance analysis, and have been named on CB Insights' 2018 "AI 100" list as one of the top 100 global AI firm. 

 

Luminance have leveraged their multi-lingual platform to secure a contract with Araoz & Rueda, a leading Spanish law firm operating in more than 30 countries, and are on track to repeat their strong 2017 performance as they expand throughout America.

 

Onfido had an impressive performance in 2017 including raising a $30m Series C round co-led by Microsoft Ventures, showcasing their ID verification solution to 10,000 attendees at Salesforce's annual conference, and achieving 550% US sales growth.

Talis Capital leads Luminance's $10m Series A round at $50m valuation

  • Series A fundraising successfully completed at a $50m valuation. The $10m investment was led by Talis Capital, and also included Invoke Capital and Slaughter and May.

  • Luminance technology has been deployed in hundreds of M&A transactions worldwide, in over 50 leading organisations, across 15 countries in five continents since launching in September 2016.

  • North American headquarters in Chicago is a response to high demand from North American clients, including AM Law 100 firms.

29 November 2017, London and Chicago – Luminance, the leading artificial intelligence platform for the legal profession, has closed a $10m Series A funding round that values the company at $50 million. The investment was led by Talis Capital, and also included Invoke Capital and Slaughter and May. Luminance will use the funds to expand its operations to meet increasing global demand, including supporting its newly-established North American headquarters in Chicago.

Luminance, which has been deployed in over 50 leading organisations worldwide, is a self-learning AI platform for the legal profession which accelerates and enhances contract review processes such as M&A due diligence and property lease review. The technology has been used to assist with over 200 live transactions to date. In response to strong demand Luminance has seen almost fourfold employee growth within one year.

“We look forward to using this new investment round to ensure we deliver on the excitement building around Luminance, as well as continue to grow our relationship with existing top-tier customers across Europe, Asia-Pacific, and the U.S.” said Emily Foges, Luminance CEO. “Just one year after launch, Luminance has already proven its value with leading law firms globally. We’re excited to boost our operations across the Atlantic with the opening of our Chicago office, and to continue to bring legal innovation to new markets around the world.”

Sally Wokes, a partner at Slaughter and May, said: “Slaughter and May has worked closely with the Luminance team since the product’s inception. The knowledge we have gained through piloting, testing and using the software on live transactions gives us real confidence in what we consider to be a highly differentiated due diligence tool. Our decision to invest in this latest funding round reflects our belief in Luminance and our commitment to harnessing innovation for the benefit of our clients.”

Vasile Foca, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Talis Capital, added, “We have seen technology integration within the legal sector, in particular that based on artificial intelligence and machine learning, transition from a support function to an enabler and efficiency-driver, allowing lawyers to focus on real added value to clients. Since launching investment last year, we have seen Luminance truly lead the competition in this regard and we are excited to be a part of their growth and continue our support.”

Using a unique combination of supervised and unsupervised machine learning, Luminance reads and understands vast quantities of legal documents at speeds no human can match. Moving well beyond legacy contract review software, Luminance automatically sorts and classifies contracts to uncover even subtle risks at the outset of a project. Combined with in-built, sophisticated collaboration tools, lawyers can increase the efficiency of their review by over 100% without sacrificing accuracy.

U.S. Managing Director George T. Tziahanas will be responsible for meeting the needs of firms adopting Luminance’s contract-understanding technology in the region, while building out the Chicago-based team to over 10 by year end.

“My top priority is to hire an impressive team in Chicago to drive growth and serve our great clients,” said George Tziahanas. “Throughout my career, I have witnessed legal teams challenged with analysing large sets of complex information. Luminance is the only technology that can keep pace with modern legal needs, thanks to its unique ability to adapt to a firm’s specialties and expertise, with no training required. Chicago’s status as major financial, scientific, and legal hub made it the obvious choice for our first US office.”

Luminance, developed from Ph.D. research at the University of Cambridge, launched in September 2016 and has customers in 15 countries, including Slaughter and May (UK), Gilbert + Tobin (Australia), WongPartnership (Singapore) and Chapman Tripp (New Zealand). The company was recently recognised for Horizontal Innovation by the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) in London, and also won ‘Best AI Product in Legal’ at the inaugural CogX AI Innovation Awards.

 

For more information about Luminance, please contact:

Brunswick Group: +44 (0) 20 7404 5959

About Luminance

Luminance is the leading artificial intelligence platform for lawyers which uses machine learning to read and analyse contracts and other documents much like a human does, thus improving the efficiency of processes such as due diligence. Deploying some of the latest breakthroughs in pattern recognition and machine intelligence from the University of Cambridge, and trained by legal experts, Luminance understands and can highlight anomalies among large groups of documents so that lawyers can prioritise their work. The company is backed by Invoke Capital, an investment fund dedicated to unlocking the potential of European technology.

About Talis Capital

Talis Capital is a London based venture capital firm, focused on B2B technology companies within three key areas: Security, Business Intelligence/SaaS and Financial Services. Talis Capital has completed over $380m of transactions since 2009 and has a strong track record of investments. Talis has made over 30 venture investments and count some of the fastest growing tech start-ups in its portfolio – Darktrace, Onfido, Iwoca, - among many others. For more information visit: https://www.taliscapital.com/

George T. Tziahanas biography:

George Tziahanas was appointed as U.S. Managing Director of Luminance in October 2017. In this role, he will be responsible for growing Luminance’s North American business and the Chicago hub’s staff and operations. A qualified lawyer and graduate of DePaul University, Tziahanas has held leadership positions across several global technology companies, including Intel, Autonomy and Hewlett Packard. His prior experience includes roles in software as a service (SaaS) strategy and implementation and consulting to the legal sector.

Onfido raises $30M more for its AI-based identity verification technology

Malicious hackers and security breaches that have exposed personal information of millions of people have pushed the issue of online security into the spotlight, not just for individuals but for organizations that do business with them. Now a company called Onfido, which has built a way to help websites verify people’s identities using a photo-based identity document, a selfie and artificial intelligence algorithms, has raised $30 million to seize the opportunity.

This brings the total raised by Onfido, which is based out of London, to around $60 million. This latest round was led by new investor Crane Venture Partners (whose co-founder Scott Sage had already been an advisor to Onfido), with participation also from Microsoft Ventures in its first European investment, Salesforce Ventures and other unnamed but existing backers (it’s a long list).

Hussayn - Onfido CEO.jpg

Husayn Kassai, Onfido’s CEO (pictured, above) who co-founded the company with Eamon Jubbawy (now COO) and Ruhul Amin (chief architect), said Onfido is not disclosing its valuation in this round.

Onfido started life back in 2012 focusing on background checks, tapping into the surge of on-demand businesses that were rapidly scaling both their permanent staff and workforce of contractors — indeed that was the company’s bread and butter business when we covered their previous funding found in April 2016. It competed against the likes of Checkr in the U.S.

(And, it should be pointed out, among its customers was Uber, which had used Onfido in the past to run criminal background checks on drivers. Criminal checks have become one of the sticking points for the transportation giant in its current license dispute with London’s transport authority. More on that below.)

In the past year or so, Onfido has been gradually shifting its focus more to financial services and e-commerce, and specifically identity checks for businesses in these verticals. It currently has some 1,500 customers today including Square, Revolut and Zipcar.

As Kassai describes it, the challenge for banks, payment platforms and others is that they have a strong requirement to verify the identities of people with whom they do business (in part because of “Know Your Customer” regulations, but also because of the immense amount of fraud that has arisen in the last few years).

But on the other hand, running long or onerous checks when onboarding users — such as those from banks that require people to come into branches in person to prove they are who they say they are, or lengthy online verification techniques — often leads to a drop-off in interest.

“If you are a bank signing up new users, you expect a 40 percent drop-off rate because of the checks,” said Kassai. “Our solutions are geared at bringing that number down, especially in cases where a user might not have the right documents like utility bills, for example if they are new to a country.” 

Onfido does this with an interesting solution that is based on standard identity documents — it recognises some 600 formats right now, from drivers’ licenses from dozens of countries, to passports, to identity cards and so on — and a “selfie” on your phone.

As it was demonstrated to me in their offices — in a conference room called “Abagnale” (each room is named after a famous identity forger) — this isn’t a photo as such, but in fact a live picture of you. You then respond to instructions for two or three different actions, such as a blink, a smile, saying a sequence of numbers or looking over your shoulder.

Onfido takes your responses to these commands to check that you’re not using a static photo, and to compare your face in the selfie to the picture on the ID card, while also running the ID card check at the same time. Its algorithms then provide a risk report for you, noting if you come up as completely compatible, mostly so, or to flag when it appears that you are not who the document says you are. All the data is then passed on to the company requesting the checks, both “compatible” checks and those that are flagged for further checks.

This last point is key in Onfido’s business model: as Kassai explained it to me, the company runs checks but doesn’t process any more beyond that, leaving the liability of acting or not acting on the results to the company requesting the checks. (In the current situation with Uber, I’m guessing that one route Uber may choose to take in its defense is to raise questions about how the data was accurate enough in its background checks.)

Onfido currently has a strong team of AI engineers on staff, specialists in machine learning and computer vision, who are regularly tinkering with the company’s algorithms to make them more sophisticated and of course to become smarter by way of all the images the platform is processing.

“From our point of view, in Europe, Onfido is one of the leading data enterprise companies at the moment, and they are spending a lot of money right now to continue investing into tech and product, with one of the best machine learning teams that we have come across,” said Sage at Crane, pointing out that his firm normally invests at seed stage but made an exception in this case because of the strength of the startup.

Kassai notes that they are continuing to recruit but also acknowledges that it’s a tough market, with its engineers getting “at least one call a week” from a recruiter. It’s a sticky point that’s even making it hard to figure out where the company should move to next.

Currently situated in an office above the Covent Garden Underground station, London Transport wants to kick them out soon to covert the space into residential property, and Kassai is mostly worried about finding a location where his staff won’t be as poachable, but at the same time continue being located in London. 

Looking ahead, Onfido will continue to tap into the opportunity for solving ID verification in financial services. He says the startup’s revenues have grown five-fold in the last year but that he believes that 95 percent of the market is largely untapped when it comes to using newer technologies like Onfido’s. The company’s core focus is the U.K., U.S. and India and it plans to expand into Latin America, too. “There is huge fintech growth coming from Brazil and Mexico,” he said.

Beyond that, there are a number of other areas where the company hopes to apply its technology, and it’s talking to all the big names you might guess to help make it happen.

“We think the future for us is in new applications and new use cases rather than new features,” he said. “Look at voting, for making payments with your face. The main barrier in these has been really accurate facial recognition, but it won’t be in the future.”

 

Original Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/09/27/onfido-raises-30m-more-for-its-ai-based-identity-verification-technology/amp/ 

Narrativ helps publishers make more money when they drive sales

Narrativ founder and CEO Shirley Chen said there’s a big revenue opportunity that’s gone largely untapped by online publishers — namely, the links those publishers are already using to direct readers to buy the products mentioned in an article.

Sure, affiliate links are a common business model, where publishers get a cut of the business that they’re sending to retailers. There are even companies like Skimlinks and VigLink that automate this process.

But Narrativ is doing something a bit different. It turns these links into an advertising unit called a SmartLink, where different retailers can bid in real-time for each click.

The company has raised $3 million in funding from investors includingTalis Capital and New Enterprise Associates.

Chen previously worked at the intersection of commerce and media, serving as head of marketing at Moda Operandi, the e-commerce company backed by Condé Nast-owner Advance Publications and LVMH. She argued that SmartLinks are a more effective form of promotion than banner ads (which are intrusive and can be stripped out by ad blockers) and native advertising.

“Native advertising mimics real content,” Chen said. “Narrativ advertising is real content.”

In other words, the product doesn’t require writers and editors to do anything different — it automatically transforms the product links that they were going to include in their articles anyway into SmartLinks. Similarly, readers just click on the links that they want to, and the bidding and redirecting should happen imperceptibly.

Retailers, meanwhile, can run more sophisticated campaigns where they bid different amounts for different users who have different levels of exposure to the brand and product. (Chen contrasted that with the “last click” approach, where all the affiliate money goes to whoever drove the final click before purchase.) And since the bidding happens in at the moment of the click, they get to avoid “link rot” when a product link changes.

Although Narrativ is officially coming out of stealth today, Chen said the product has already been in testing with publishers like New York Magazine, which has seen the value of its content clicks increase by 250 percent, and with retailers like Dermstore, which saw its return on investment increase by 67 percent year-over-year.

In a statement, Dermstore Vice President of Marketing Richie Singh said that before Narrativ, the company wasn’t thinking about promoting itself through editorial content: “The technology just wasn’t there.”

“Our competitors were winning 92% of traffic from editorial links until Narrativ,” he added. “For the first time, we control when a product featured in content drives traffic to Dermstore.” (Here’s a bit more detail about how Dermstore is using Narrativ.)

Beyond plain vanilla links, Chen also said that Narrativ works with other units like product galleries. The key, she said, is that it can’t be intrusive to the reader experience.

 

Original Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/08/15/narrativ/

The hottest machine learning startups in the UK

The hottest machine learning startups in the UK

Four of the biggest AI startup acquisitions of the last five years have come from the UK, starting with Google's purchase of Deep Mind in 2014 for a reported £400 million.