German tech startup Kern AI raises $2.9M seed funding to shape the future of data-centric machine learning
Chatty, Chatty Boom, Boom! AI has The Internet is going bonkers over the OpenAI ChatGPT conversational AI chatbot since it was first released a little over two months ago. The sudden success of ChatGPT has led investors to pour billions of dollars into the generative AI space over fears of missing out on the AI gold rush.
As the saying goes, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Generative AI companies are not the only beneficiary of the recent inflow of funding. Stocks of AI companies have also soared. Investments in AI startups working on natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) have accelerated in recent months. One of those startups is Kern AI, a German tech startup that offers a developer platform for data-centric natural language processing to help companies digitize their workflows and embed modern NLP into their products and processes
While all attention has shifted in recent months to conversational AI due to the popularity of ChatGPT, natural language processing has proven itself to be an effective and multifaceted tool for recognizing patterns and deriving insights from a massive amount of data to automate processes, and make informed business decisions. It’s many applications including analyzing customer behavior, weather forecasting, or finding new chemical compounds.
As good as machine learning models are, they are only as good as the data. As such, the datasets need to be systematically changed or enhanced to improve the performance of the model: this is the principle behind data-centric machine learning and that’s where Kern AI comes in–provides the tools to improve data quality, from fixing label errors to enriching data by metadata.
So, as large language models become more and more powerful, Kern AI believes that the next logical step is to make them more data-centric. Making machine learning data-centric also gives developers and scientists the superpower to control and shape the models to their needs. “And for this to happen, data must finally be the first-class citizen in the world of NLP,” Kern AI wrote on its website.
To further grow its platform and to make it generally available, Kern AI announced today that it has raised €2.7 million ($2.9 million) in seed funding co-led by Seedcamp and Faber. Kern AI will also use the funding proceeds to help companies digitize workflows and build products that understand human language.
Since its inception about three years ago, the startup has seen a higher adoption rate of its platform by commercial customers, including insurance companies Barmenia and VHV Versicherungen, logistics firms such as Metro Supply Chain Group subsidiary Evolution Time Critical, and venture-backed startups such as Crowd.dev. Kern AI also said that its basic open-source platform has been used by data scientists at companies such as Samsung and DocuSign.
In a statement, CEO and co-founder Johannes Hötter said that he started the company “with the belief that NLP will turn into a core digitization technology,” acknowledging that developers need more control and flexibility over the NLP development process.
“We believe that its biggest impact will be felt in the field of natural language processing, enabling new ways of interaction between humans and machines. It will impact how we search for information, how we get creative about new content, and ultimately how we get things done.”
Johannes Hötter and Henrik Wenck started Kern AI during their master’s degree at Hasso Plattner Institute, where they both worked on modern natural language processing research. After having started a consultancy together in early 2020, the duo decided to build Kern AI as the data-centric developer platform for natural language processing to help companies turn their unstructured text into value.