December 2, 2022

Bobbys Brane

Bobbys Brane – Business & Tech Blog

MLOps platform Galileo lands $18M to launch a free service • Bobbys Brane

4 min read

Galileo, a startup launching a platform for AI model development, today announced that it raised $18 million in a Series A round led by Battery Ventures with participation from The Factory, Walden Catalyst, FPV Ventures, Kaggle co-founder Anthony Goldbloom and other angel investors. The new cash brings the company’s total raised to $23.1 million and will be put toward growing Galileo’s engineering and go-to-market teams and expanding the core platform to support new data modalities, CEO Vikram Chatterji told Bobbys Brane via email.

As the use of AI becomes more common throughout the enterprise, the demand for products that make it easier to inspect, discover and fix critical AI errors is increasing. According to one recent survey (from MLOps Community), 84.3% of data scientists and machine learning engineers say that the time required to detect and diagnose problems with a model is a problem for their teams, while over one in four (26.2%) admit that it takes them a week or more to detect and fix issues.

Some of those issues include mislabeled data, where the labels used to train an AI system contain errors, like a picture of a tree mistakenly labeled “houseplant.” Others pertain to data drift or data imbalance, which happens when data evolves to make an AI system less accurate (think a stock market model trained on pre-pandemic data) or the data isn’t sufficiently representative of a domain (e.g., a data set of headshots has more light-skinned people than dark-skinned).

Galileo’s platform aims to systematize AI development pipelines across teams using “auto-loggers” and algorithms that spotlight system-breaking issues. Built to be deployable in an on-premises environment, Galileo scales across the AI workflow — from predevelopment to postproduction — as well as unstructured data modalities like text, speech and vision.

In data science, “unstructured” data usually refers to data that’s not arranged according to a preset data model or schema, like invoices or sensor data. Atindriyo Sanyal — Galileo’s second co-founder — makes the case that the Excel- and Python script–based processes to ensure quality data is being fed into models are manual, error-prone and costly.

Galileo

A screenshot of the Galileo Community Edition. Image Credits: Galileo

“When inspecting their data with Galileo, users instantly uncover the long tail of data errors such as mislabeled data, underrepresented languages [and] garbage data that they can immediately take action upon within Galileo by removing, re-labeling or by adding additional similar data from production,” Sanyal told Bobbys Brane in an email interview. “It has been critical for teams that Galileo supports machine learning data workflows end to end — even when a model is in production, Galileo automatically lets teams know of data drifts, and surfaces the highest-value data to train with next.”

The co-founding team at Galileo spent more than a decade building machine learning products, where they say they faced the challenges of developing AI systems firsthand. Chatterji led product management at Google AI, while Sanyal spearheaded engineering at Uber’s AI division and was an early member of the Siri team at Apple. Third Galileo co-founder Yash Sheth is another Google veteran, having previously led the company’s speech recognition platform team.

Galileo’s platform falls into the burgeoning category of software known as MLOps, a set of tools to deploy and maintain machine learning models in production. It’s in serious demand. By one estimation, the market for MLOps could reach $4 billion by 2025.

There’s no shortage of startups going after the space, like Comet, which raised $50 million last November. Other vendors with VC backing include Arize, Tecton, Diveplane, Iterative and Taiwan-based InfuseAI.

But despite having launched just a few months ago, Galileo has paying customers from “high-growth” startups to Fortune 500 companies, Sanyal claims. “Our customers are using Galileo while building machine learning applications such as hate speech detection, caller intent detection at contact centers and customer experience augmentation with conversational AI,” he added.

Sanyal expects the launch of Galileo’s free offering — Galileo Community Edition — will boost sign-ups further. The Community Edition enables data scientists working on natural language processing to build machine learning models using some of the tools included in the paid version, Sanyal said.

“With Galileo Community Edition, anyone can sign up for free, add a few lines of code while training their model with labeled data or during an inference run with unlabeled data to instantly inspect, find and fix data errors, or select the right data to label next using the powerful Galileo UI,” he added.

Sanyal declined to share revenue figures when asked. But he noted that San Francisco–based Galileo’s headcount has grown in size from 14 people in May to “more than” 20 people as of today.