Kolkata-based deeptech startup iMerit Technology Services has raised $20 Mn in Series B funding round led by the development finance institution CDC Group, which is owned by the UK government.
Existing investors of iMerit also participated in the funding round. Prior to this, the company had raised undisclosed amounts from Omidyar Network. Michael and Susan Dell Foundation and Khosla Impact have also invested in iMerit.
With the new funds, the company is planning to hire more employees and aims to more than triple its workforce from the current 3K employees to 10K employees. Besides India, the startup also operates in the US and Bhutan. The company will also invest in enhancing innovation for the company’s proprietary AI platform. “This new funding will enable iMerit to continue to provide enterprise-scale and quality to its client base spread across evolving markets,” said Radha Basu, founder and CEO of iMerit.
Founded in 2012, iMerit provides an artificial intelligence-powered platform which offers data annotation and labelling services. The platform converts information into data sets which enables its clients to improve their machine learning capabilities, computer vision, natural language understanding, and data analytics capabilities. The company also leverages data points to enhance innovations in advancing cancer cell research, optimising crop yields, and training driverless cars.
The company has partnered with Intel, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Labelbox, and Figure Eight to enhance its AI platform. It claims that it has around 100 global clients including TripAdvisor, eBay, Microsoft, Autodesk among others. The company also claims to be profitable for the last two years.
According to a study by Grand View Research, the global data annotation tools market size is expected to reach USD 1.6 Bn by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth of 26.6%.
Besides iMerit, Bengaluru-based Playment also provides data-labelling infrastructure to businesses looking to accelerate their machine learning journey and create high-quality datasets. Notably, iMerit was a part of one of the Y Combinator’s accelerator programmes. Anther startups in India which are offering similar services include Kerala-based Infolks which started just four years ago with an investment of INR 25K.
In March 2019, NASSCOM’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer Sangeeta Gupta had said that “Data annotation and labelling is an emerging sector in India. Everybody has begun to realise the humongous opportunity it presents.”