January Capital
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January Capital

Our Investment in Datature

Datature founders: Denzel Lee (CTO) and Keechin Goh (CEO)

We are thrilled to announce our investment in Datature’s US$2.7 million Seed financing round alongside Openspace Ventures. Based in Singapore, Datature is a no-code MLOps platform that enables individuals and teams without machine learning/computer vision expertise to build and deploy computer vision applications. We are excited to partner with Keechin Goh and Denzel Lee in their journey to democratize vision AI.

Flourishing no-code AI market as enterprises look to abstract complexity of building and deploying AI applications

Over the last decade, one the greatest trends in the enterprise space has been the emergence of “no-code” — a programming mechanism that uses a visual development interface to enable less technical users to build software and applications. Designed with a myriad of intuitive and templatized building blocks, no-code takes away the complexity typically required in creating software applications and empowers non-technical teams to become “citizen developers”, instead of relying on resource-constrained IT teams. No-code platforms designed to support many different applications and functional areas have emerged, allowing millions of apps to launch with minimal to no lines of code written — e.g. applications (Appsheet), CMS (Webflow), databases (Airtable), app/data integration (Zapier).

As organizations embark beyond digitization (“Software 1.0”) and adopt data/AI practices (“Software 2.0”) to drive better business outcomes, we see a similar trend where some of the complexity surrounding data/AI can be abstracted away using no-code. In a recent Gartner survey, 87% of respondents believe that investment in AI is expected to accelerate in 2022, and that the lack of skills and product complexity are the main barriers to AI adoption.

Spurred by the growing AI talent shortage, the no-code movement has democratized AI into the hands of non-data scientists/AI practitioners and made artificial intelligence accessible to more organizations. Developers can now potentially create valuable AI use cases at a speed rivaling that of AI practitioners — all without the steep learning curve of data science and machine learning.

No-code AI platforms provide organizations with the opportunity to close the gap by reducing the need to hire costly data scientists and machine learning specialists, while accelerating time to value.

Democratizing access to computer vision — a growing US$12 billion market

Set out to mimic human visual intelligence in machines, computer vision is a field within AI that deals with algorithms trained to see and understand patterns as humans would in the real world. With increasing visual content underlying much of our daily lives and economic activity, computer vision has the potential to unlock massive opportunities with compelling economic upsides.

The use cases are diverse in this US$12 billion market, from inventory optimization and automated checkout in retail, process optimization and quality control in manufacturing, to safety and surveillance in smart cities. Bleeding edge computer vision applications can even power new experiences, such as augmented/mixed reality, autonomous driving, and medical imaging.

Most computer vision use cases today lie in automating repetitive activities at scale and enabling employees to focus on higher-value tasks, with the return-on-investment typically measured with efficiency gains. However, in many cases, the journey in building and operationalizing a computer vision model is riddled with challenging cross-collaboration issues and cross-tool/environment maneuvers. Many companies also lack the in-house expertise needed to build the infrastructure and tooling — and find themselves spending more time learning and navigating across multiple tools, rather than focusing on building.

Datature’s end-to-end solution

As we sat down with the Datature team to understand how they are approaching the market and delivering a competitive product global from day one, several key highlights emerged.

Firstly, Datature’s no-code, end-to-end platform allows “citizen data scientists” to be fully immersed in the model training and deployment experience without having to switch between environments. The platform is also versatile and interoperable without vendor lock-in, implying that users can utilise Datature’s ecosystem at any part of their workflow.

Secondly, Datature believes that an accurate computer vision model requires high quality image datasets, and poor data inputs would result in “garbage-in, garbage-out”. To that end, Datature’s AI-powered data labeling tool, Intellibrush, enables users to outline complex objects in a more efficient manner. The platform also has data augmentation capabilities that increases the diversity of images within the training dataset.

Applications of computer vision models created with a combination of Datature’s AI-assisted labelling, synthetic image generation, automated cloud orchestration, model monitoring and APIs.

Finally, the team is heavily invested in making the platform’s UI/UX sleek and approachable for less technical users.

The Team

Datature’s co-founders first met when they were serving the Singapore Armed Forces as part of the 1st Commando Battalion in 2013. The inspiration to build Datature came from their passion in computer vision and after winning the Rolls Royce Data Challenge in 2019, when they had custom-built a computer vision use case for Rolls Royce. Soon after, they realized the gap between the vast potential of computer vision applications and the challenges in building and operationalizing these applications, and set off to build a platform that could address this problem at scale. As a bootstrapped venture to date, they have managed to build robust features and strong clientele traction — showing the team’s incredible grit, focus and potential for future growth.

Progress so far and journey ahead

Datature has a broad set of existing clientele ranging from construction, aviation, and education sectors, and is looking to supercharge its go-to-market efforts in the region and beyond by (1) enabling a self-serve experience where users can sign up via its website, and (2) targeting mid to large organizations with a clear business case and tangible ROI from deploying computer vision.

We pride ourselves on partnering with founders that are building the early innings for a meaningful and defensible breakthrough in deep technology, and Datature is a prime example of such. With an ambitious team, opportune market timing and opportunity as well as a great product, we look forward to supporting Datature’s ambitious journey to democratize computer vision to the masses and augment business decision makers with AI-driven visual analysis.

The new funding round will further accelerate strategic hires, so please check out their job board to join the Datature family.

For more information about January Capital, please visit our website and sign up for our regular newsletter. If you’re a founder helping to solve a problem within the realm of data and AI, we would love to have a conversation — drop us a message at contact@january.capital.

For more information about Datature and how its platform can support your company’s employee engagement, please visit their website.

DISCLAIMER

January Capital is a licensed fund manager in both Singapore (through Jan Cap Pte. Ltd.) and Australia (through January Capital Pty Ltd) (together, the “Managers”) licensed under the purview of the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission respectively.

The information contained in this article is being provided to you for informational purposes only and does not constitute in any circumstance an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy any interest in the funds managed by the Managers or any other companies mentioned herein. Additionally, the information in this article and any and all forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions that may not prove to be correct or accurate and the actual financial results/performance and opportunities (amongst others) may differ materially from these statements. As such, nothing contained in this article should be construed as or relied upon as financial, legal or taxation advice, or an encouragement to invest in our funds or any companies mentioned in this article. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

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We are a venture capital firm that invests in high growth technology companies in the Asia Pacific region.

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January Capital

January Capital

We are a venture capital firm that invests in high growth technology companies in the Asia Pacific region.

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