Scale AI and its 22-year-old CEO lock down $100 million to label Silicon Valley’s data

Big artificial intelligence companies are promising an automated future but many of their products rely on the labeled training data coming from Scale AI, a startup that highlights machine learning’s intimate bond between human contractors and algorithms.

The three-year-old startup announced Monday that it had closed a $100 million Series C round of financing led by Founders Fund with participation from Accel, Coatue Management, Index Ventures, Spark Capital, Thrive Capital, Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and Quora CEO Adam d’Angelo. A report in Bloomberg details that this funding will bring Scale’s valuation past $1 billion.

“In general, AI and machine learning is just growing so quickly as a field, that it’s appropriate to raise this amount that will allow us to capitalize on our ambitions,” the company’s 22-year-old executive Alexandr Wang told TechCrunch in an interview. “We don’t want to be in the business of constantly needing to raise capital, so ideally this is the last fundraise for us.”

Scale, whose army of humans annotate raw data to train self-driving and other AI systems, nabs $18M

Scale has around 100 employees, according to Wang, but its limited full-time staff is a small fraction of the human-power

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