Appen Limited, a global leader in the provision of high-quality, human-annotated datasets for machine learning and AI, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Figure Eight, a best in class machine learning software platform which uses highly automated tools to transform unlabeled text, image, audio, and video data into high-quality AI training data.
This acquisition combines the scale, quality and language expertise of Appen’s leading global crowd with Figure Eight’s innovative data annotation platform to create a unique, end-to-end training data offering. The unified business will be strongly positioned to deliver the increasing volume, quality and speed requirements for training data to support machine learning and AI.
Founded in San Francisco in 2007, Figure Eight (previously known as CrowdFlower) has played a critical role in the artificial intelligence ecosystem, having delivered 325 million human judgments in 2018 alone. Figure Eight has released a variety of innovative capabilities to enhance its platform – including machine learning-assisted data labeling and video object tracking – that can create high-quality training datasets up to 50 times faster than human labeling alone.
Appen – based in Sydney, Australia and listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:APX) with offices worldwide – successfully deploys its global crowd of over 1 million skilled contractors, working in over 180 languages and more than 130 countries, to support its global customer base that includes eight of the world’s ten largest technology companies.
“The union of Appen and Figure Eight creates a unique, exciting and powerful opportunity for our customers,” said Mark Brayan, Appen’s Chief Executive Officer. “We now have the best of both worlds: our highly efficient cloud management platform and scalable, skillful multilingual crowd, combined with Figure Eight’s innovative customer facing SaaS platform with ML-assisted annotation. Combined, we’ll meet and exceed our customers’ scale, speed and quality requirements.”
“We’re very excited to be joining Appen,” said Lukas Biewald, co-founder of Figure Eight. “I’m extremely proud of the team. This is a genuine validation of everything we’ve achieved and a great platform for our teams to combine and continue to do amazing things in AI.”
Through the end of 2019, Figure Eight will operate largely independently as a division of Appen to ensure it remains focused on its product development and customers. Beyond 2019, Figure Eight’s experienced team and powerful technology will be integral to Appen’s future success.
Appen will pay USD $175M up-front for Figure Eight and an additional payment of up to $125M in 2020 based on 2019 performance.
Appen is being advised by Atlas Technology Group of San Francisco.