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Petuum, Revolutionary AI/ML Development Platform, Closes $15 Million in Series A Funding Led by Advantech Capital, with Tencent, Northern Light Venture Capital and Oriza Ventures

5 min read

November 16, 2016

Petuum, Inc., a startup building an artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solution development platform, has closed $15 million in Series A funding led by Advantech Capital, with additional investors Tencent, Northern Light Venture Capital and Oriza Ventures.

Founded by Dr. Eric Xing, a professor and associate head of research of the Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, Petuum is a revolutionary development platform that reduces bottlenecks and eliminates friction in AI/ML deployments.

“Until now, most AI and ML solutions were hand-crafted black boxes,” said Xing. “Petuum empowers organizations to create AI/ML solutions that are correct, fast, scalable, and consume minimal computing resources, by using standardized building blocks and methods that are transparent and repeatable.”

Petuum is building a next generation Omni-Mount AI/ML platform for deep learning (e.g., CNN/RNN), predictive analytics (e.g., regression), knowledge extraction (e.g., topic models), content summarization (e.g., sparse coding), ensemble methods (e.g., gradient boosted trees), for a wide range of applications such as natural language processing, image and video understanding, and anomaly detection in transaction data.

Petuum will process and integrate data like social media, consumer profiles, electronic health records, sensor logs from IoT devices, transaction logs from financial systems, and machine logs from manufacturing equipment. In addition to serving as a general AI/ML development platform, it’s also an AI/ML computing management and operating system, and an enterprise AI/ML system solution.

The platform’s multiple capabilities allow users to exercise a greater range of creativity and innovation. Developers have more choices and greater flexibility – they aren’t limited to a single programming language and a specific computing environment, and the platform will automatically compile their code into a universal format. Once in this format, the code will be further transformed into executables, and mounted to different hardware platforms – ranging from data-center scale distributed computing systems to mobile devices.

Petuum will provide a flexible environment for developers, thanks to its parameter server architecture, managed communication, adaptive scheduling and load balancing, and elastic resource management, with an interface that abstracts away such system details while seamlessly leveraging their advanced functionalities.

The wider range of capabilities makes Petuum 10 to 100 times more efficient than other solutions. Petuum will be mountable on a wide variety of hardware configurations and is multi-tenant, enabling multiple programs to run at the same time. Additionally, Petuum is significantly more efficient than Hadoop and Spark frameworks for running AI/ML powered applications.

Because Petuum’s technology generalizes and modularizes AI/ML development, it eliminates many of the barriers that impede and obstruct typical AI and ML deployments.

“By removing bottlenecks, reducing friction and providing standard processes, Petuum puts the potential benefits of AI and ML at your fingertips. Our goal isn’t just democratizing and standardizing the processes underlying the creation of AI systems – our goal is putting practical AI into the hands of everyone who needs it,” said Xing.

About Petuum, Inc.

Petuum, Inc. is building a platform that serves the full spectrum of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning algorithms and applications. Its product enables enterprises to build practical AI/ML deployments for the real world.

Petuum, Inc. has established an Advisory Board with preeminent experts hailing from both industry and academia:

  • Michael I. Jordan, Pehong Chen Distinguished Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Statistics, UC Berkeley
  • Stephen P. Boyd, Samsung Professor in the School of Engineering and Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Information Systems Laboratory, Stanford University
  • Kai Li, Founder and Chief Scientist, Data Domain; Paul M. Wythes ’55, P’86 and Marcia R. Wythes P’86 Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Princeton University  
  • Harry Shum, Executive Vice President, Artificial Intelligence and Research Group, Microsoft

For more information, visit www.petuum.com.

About Dr. Eric Xing

Dr. Eric Xing is a professor and associate head of research of the Machine Learning Department in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a Fellow of the Association of Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, and has two Ph.D. degrees, one in molecular biology from Rutgers University and another in computer science from UC Berkeley. He is founder, CEO and Chief Scientist at Petuum, Inc.

About Advantech Capital

Advantech Capital is one of the two parallel new funds set up by Mr. Jianming Yu in January 2016. Advantech Capital focuses on innovation-driven growth capital, on investments in TMT, E-services, and Healthcare sectors in China. The other new fund, Redview Capital, focuses on traditional growth capital, on investments in Consumer, Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, and New Materials in China. Mr. Yu is also Co-Founder and Managing Partner of New Horizon Capital. For more information, visit www.advantechcapital.com.

About Tencent

Tencent uses technology to enrich the lives of Internet users. Every day, hundreds of millions of people communicate, share experiences, consume information and seek entertainment through our integrated platforms. Tencent’s diversified services include QQ, Weixin/WeChat for communications; Qzone for social networking; QQ Game Platform for online games; QQ.com and Tencent News for information and Tencent Video for video content. Tencent was founded in Shenzhen in 1998 and went public on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2004. The Company is one of the constituent stocks of the Hang Seng Index. Tencent seeks to evolve with the Internet by investing in innovation, providing a mutually beneficial environment for partners, and staying close to users. For more information, visit www.tencent.com.

About Northern Light Venture Capital

Northern Light Venture Capital (NLVC) is a leading China-focused venture capital firm targeting early stage opportunities of innovation and disruptive technology. Since inception in 2005, Northern Light has backed over 180 ventures in TMT, healthcare and advanced technology. Leveraging significant investing and entrepreneurial expertise in both China and the United States, the NLVC team looks to support entrepreneurs with groundbreaking ideas and exceptional vision to develop lasting ventures that positively impact society. For more information, visit www.NLVC.com.

About Oriza Ventures

Oriza Ventures is a venture capital fund that primarily invests in early stage technological companies in the United States. Oriza seeks to back talented entrepreneurs with emerging, innovative, and disruptive technological pursuits, or creative business ideas. Our team brings together a unique combination of a strong operating background, extensive investment experience, cross-border business development ecosystems, and well-connected networks in China and Silicon Valley. For more information, visit www.orizaventures.com.

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