Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup Aito announced it’s latest funding round in which it raised €1.6M from B2B software investor henQ and launches the public version of its Predictive Database which combines machine learning and database into one single platform.
That AI is a hot market is not in question. Gartner says AI augmentation will create $2.9 trillion of business value in 2021. But before this can happen, one serious problem should be tackled: most AI projects flat out fail. And most failures in AI projects are because of a lack of skilled staff and unrealistic expectations according to recent IDC research. This is exactly what Aito is fixing.
Machine Learning made as easy as SQL
The Predictive Database is fundamentally different than the current science-driven ML tools available in the market. Instead of data scientists or an AutoML tool creating numerous models predicting a single thing, Aito’s Predictive Database is a single platform that provides immediately both the known and unknown through simple queries. The Predictive Database uses existing relational datasets and a familiar query language to make ad-hoc predictions. It works without data wrangling, feature engineering, and understanding the intrinsics of ML models and their scaling. Imagine querying predictions for most probable next purchases of a user with the same simplicity as querying the purchase history. With that simplicity, Aito makes ML as easy as SQL and can be used by your existing development team: no need to hire expensive data scientists.
Business-minded software engineers need a nimble tool to be able to quickly explore where AI-driven predictive features create the biggest impact. Aito brings them the ability to validate ideas, build prototypes and launch scalable solutions in production.
The public version of Aito is available today, anyone can register at https://aito.ai/, upload a dataset to Aito’s predictive database and start experimenting. The only skill needed: a basic understanding of SQL to get predictions, projections, and recommendations out of your data. No special tooling or knowledge needed.
“It is about time that we start looking differently at how we approach AI projects,” says Vesa-Pekka Grönfors, CEO of Aito, “AI in most projects is either a buzzword or only available for enterprises with a large budget that can hire a completely new data science team. That is what we want to change at Aito. We believe that the power of machine learning belongs to everyone. Building machine learning solutions should be inspirational, not frustrating. Every company should be able to start experimenting with real data and real users without high barriers – to learn and concretely see how machine learning can bring value. Without the need to learn a new skill set or to hire new people. And above all: without the need to be heads down for months and release something that is not working. We believe in lean and agile: experiment, test, improve. That is the development cycle that works and that we now bring to your AI project.”
Aito’s customers are a mix of startups and small and medium-sized businesses for whom the power of AI was never available or too expensive. And for larger enterprises that saw too many of their AI projects fail and are now realizing their approach to AI needs to change. Aito is being used by the innovation departments of two Fortune 500 companies for exactly this purpose: rapid prototyping of AI.
henQ invests €1.6M in Aito’s seed round
After raising €1M from angels and local VC’s before, Aito now announced that is raised a €1.6M seed round from Amsterdam based B2B software venture capitalist henQ (https://henq.vc/) with the participation of its existing investors.
“The world of AI and ML is full of hype. What really spoke for Aito is how they ensured that ML is actually easy to apply, and fit for purpose. Truly bringing a benefit, at a low cost,” says Jelmer de Jong, Partner at henQ, “We’ve seen a lot of failing AI startups and projects, and the biggest reason for failure is lack of skilled people, and month – if not year-long research projects instead of rapid validation. The market was missing the tools that enable you to quickly experiment and prototype your hypothesis: enter Aito. With Aito’s Predictive Database existing software engineers can use their existing skillsets to work on the ML items on their backlog, saving a lot of time and effort in data wrangling and feature engineering. Aito has the potential to make AI available to all, not just for the big corporates with a big budget and fix the AI failure problem.”
Aito has opted for henQ as their first international VC on their cap table for henQ’s dedicated focus on B2B software companies, and proven track record of helping developer platforms become a success. henQ and Aito work together on establishing the right go-to-market strategy, international expansion, and scaling their team.
For henQ, Aito is the first investment in Finland, which is fully in line with its further expansion to the Nordic market.