Goldman Sachs, China insurer Ping An’s fund lead funding in Nexus-backed H2O.ai
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H2O.ai Inc., an artificial intelligence startup whose algorithms are used by firms to predict fraud, customer churn, and more, said it has raised $72.5 million (about Rs 520 crore at current exchange rate) in a Series D funding round.

The investment was led by New York-based Goldman Sachs and an overseas fund of Ping An Insurance (Group) Co, which is China’s largest insurer by market value, the startup said in a statement.

Other players in the round include existing investors Wells Fargo, American chipmaker Nvidia, and Nexus Venture Partners, said H2O.ai.

The latest investment takes the total amount of money the startup has raised to $147 million, it said.

The company said that, as part of the investment, Goldman Sachs’ Jade Mandel will be joining its board of directors.

H2O.ai said it will use the fresh capital to expand its global sales and marketing presence. It will also use the funding to invest in simplifying artificial intelligence for business users, besides growing its team to 40 people within the next 12 months.

“Our customers are unlocking discovery in every sphere and walk of life and challenging the dominance of technology giants,” said H2O.ai co-founder and chief executive Sri Satish Ambati.

Wells Fargo strategic investments managing director Basil Darwish said, “H2O.ai’s focus on machine learning transparency and model interpretability facilitates adoption across our industry.”

H2O.ai, founded in 2012 by Cliff Click and Ambati, focuses on sectors including financial services, insurance, healthcare, telecommunications, retail, pharmaceuticals and marketing. It says its open-source machine learning platform, H2O, is used by 18,000 companies and thousands of data scientists around the world.

In December 2017, the company raised $40 million (about Rs 258 crore) in its Series C round led by Wells Fargo and Nvidia. Others that participated in the round at that point in time include Nexus Venture, New York Life, Crane Venture Partners and Transamerica Ventures.

Deals in the AI space

Earlier this week, VCCircle reported that India-based TVS Motor Company Ltd had invested $3.2 million (around Rs 22.8 crore) in Predictronics Corp., a US-based maintenance analytics firm. TVS has invested in other new technology companies as well, including Tagbox Solutions and Altizon Systems Pvt. Ltd.

In July, Reliance Industries Ltd-controlled AI-based conversational platform Haptik Inc. announced it had acqui-hired Los Angeles-based conversational AI startup Convrg Technologies Inc. to expand its business in North America.

AI-focused startups that have raised capital in the recent past include mental health platform Wysa and FrontdeskAI, which develops AI assistants for small businesses.

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