Roboflow Computer Vision Development Platform Raises $ 20 Million


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Roboflow, a Des Moines, Iowa-based startup that develops tools for creating computer vision models, today announced it has raised $ 20 million in a Series A led by Craft Ventures. That brings the total raised to date to $ 22.2 million, and CEO Joseph Nelson said the money will be spent on product development and ongoing hiring efforts.

The global computer vision industry was estimated to be worth $ 11.32 billion in 2020, according to at Grand View Research. But while the technology has obvious business applications – computer vision algorithms can be trained to perform tasks such as detecting gas leaks, counting pills, and monitoring workplaces to enforce distancing. social – companies may face barriers to take advantage of it in production. Teams are often faced with rebuilding the software infrastructure and attracting the necessary machine learning expertise.

Founded in 2019, Roboflow is the brainchild of Brad Dwyer and Nelson, who see computer vision as a foundational technology that can enable developers to solve problems resulting from devices’ inability to see the world around us. The platform provides a framework for developers to integrate computer vision into their products, allowing them to upload images and videos to train custom or predefined computer vision models.

Above: Roboflow development interface.

Image Credit: Roboflow

“Computer vision is one of those generational technologies that, like the personal computer or the mobile phone itself, will be adopted by all industries. Software is limited by its ability to receive structured information as input, and that structure is typically provided by a person, ”Nelson said in a statement. “Computer vision allows every part of the world around us to become programmable, triggering a Cambrian explosion of applications. That’s why computer vision should be part of every developer’s toolbox, not just teams of machine learning experts.

Development-oriented platform

With Roboflow, customers can annotate images while evaluating the quality of the datasets to prepare them for training. (Most computer vision algorithms require labels that essentially “teach” the algorithm to classify objects, places, and people.) The platform allows developers to experiment to generate new data from training and see which configurations improve the performance of the model. Once training is complete, Roboflow can deploy the model to the cloud, edge or browser and monitor the model for extreme cases and degradation over time.

“The Roboflow promise reminds me of the early days of Stripe,” Roboflow investor Lachy Groom said in a press release. “Like payments, computer vision is a critical piece of infrastructure that needs to be widely accessible to developers. Consider how FaceID aims to seamlessly unlock phones, or how mobile check deposit alleviates the need to queue at a bank, simultaneously allowing bankers to focus on customer service.

Roboflow competes with CrowdAI and Chooch, among others, in the growing market for computer vision development tools. But Roboflow claims to have more than 50,000 users, including engineers at half of the Fortune 100 companies, as well as startups, universities and hardware companies. Customers include Pfizer, Walmart, Amgen, and Cardinal.

“Those [computer vision] examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Every industry will be rewritten, and for that to happen, all developers – not just machine learning experts – must have tools that make vision accessible, ”continued Groom.

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