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Wise.io, a Berkeley, Calif.-based startup that claims to make machine learning easy, has raised a $2.5 million series A round of venture capital led by Voyager Capital. The company launched out of the Alchemist Accelerator last May with a focus on letting its users build and deploy machine learning models for the purpose of predicting customer behavior.
While ease of use is its big selling point, Wise.io’s biggest point of distinction might be its history. The company’s founders were University of California, Berkeley, astrophysics professors and researchers who got involved building machine learning models in order to identify anomalies in telescope imagery. They realized the techniques might have commercial value after receiving enough requests by companies to try the models on their datasets.
However, anybody paying attention to the huge market growing up around big data probably wouldn’t be surprised that a simplified method for building machine learning systems would attract commercial interest. Companies have been looking for ways to take their data analysis to the next level in terms of prediction, and many have been looking to data scientists as the means to do so. Given the dearth of qualified data scientists and the expense of hiring them, software that can mitigate that need for certain common tasks almost has to be welcomed with open arms. Wise.io is one of a growing number of startups trying to do just that.
We’ll be discussing many facets of this issue at our Structure Data conference this week in New York, from the latest in machine learning techniques to the challenges of training qualified data workers. AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Information, will address the latter during a fireside chat on Thursday.
In addition to its new funding, Wise.io also announced a new CEO on Monday. Jeff Erhardt, who was recently COO at statistical analysis startup Revolution Analytics, will replace Co-founder and now CTO Joshua Bloom.
Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock user Sebastian Kaulitzki.