Instill AI, a London-based start-up that provides tools to derive insights or generate meaningful content from unstructured data, has raised US$3.6 million in a seed round.
The funding is led by venture capital firm RTP Global, and supported by Lunar Ventures; returning investor Hive Ventures; Charles Songhurst, a private investor in tech companies and former head of corporate strategy at Microsoft; Demetrios Kellari, head of systems and technology integration at Cavnue; and Mehdi Ghissassi, director of product for Google's AI/ML Research org. Cornerstone Ventures also supported the company in its pre-seed round.
Instill AI will use the new funding to launch a fully managed cloud service of its open-source project Versatile Data Pipeline (VDP) later this year and double its headcount by the end of 2023.
Founded in 2020, the company provides modern data and artificial intelligence teams with no-code or low-code tools to streamline the process of distilling the value of unstructured data, converting them into meaningful data representations. Its VDP allows users to sync unstructured data from anywhere into centralized warehouses or applications, just like how the modern data stack handles structured data.
While deep learning has shown its strength in understanding unstructured data in recent years, data tooling has not yet caught up, Instill AI says. The deployment of an effective AI solution in an organization’s data stack is still extremely costly and complex. That’s why only large enterprises with abundant resources can build exclusive functionalities to process their unstructured data and then distill business insights or deliver AI applications.
Another problem is that emerging AI tools and services provide different proprietary frameworks. This causes difficulties for AI practitioners who need to piece them together to build an end-to-end solution and integrate with the existing stack, resulting in team silos and inefficiencies.
Ping-Lin Chang, co-founder and chief executive officer of Instill AI, comments: “Unstructured data can be more analyzable if AI is more accessible. At Instill AI we are committed to making this happen. We believe that machine learning and AI should be as easy to access as other off-the-shelf cloud services in the software industry today. This seed investment helps us speed up the development and strengthen the readiness of the VDP, bringing us one step closer to making the solution to this problem a reality.”