Category: nlp

StudySmarter books $15M for a global ‘personalized learning’ push



More money for the edtech boom: Munich-based StudySmarter, which makes digital tools to help learners of all ages swat up — styling itself as a ‘lifelong learning platform’ — has closed a $15 million Series A.

The round is led by sector-focused VC fund, Owl Ventures. New York-based Left Lane Capital is co-investing, along with Lars Fjeldsoe-Nielsen (ex WhatsApp, Uber and Dropbox; now GP at Balderton Capital), and existing early stage investor Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (aka DvH Ventures).

The platform, which launched back in 2018 and has amassed a user-base of 1.5M+ learners — with a 50/50 split between higher education students and K12 learners, and with main markets so far in German speaking DACH countries in Europe — uses AI technologies like natural language processing (NLP) to automate the creation of text-based interactive custom courses and track learners’ progress (including by creating a personalized study plan that adjusts as they go along).

StudySmarter claims its data shows that 94% of learners achieve better grades as a result of using its platform.

While NLP is generally most advanced for the English language, the startup says it’s confident its NLP models can be transferred to new languages without requiring new training data — claiming its tech is “scalable in any language”. (Although it concedes its algorithms increase in accuracy for a given language as users upload more content so the software itself is undertaking a learning journey and will necessarily be at a different point on the learning curve (Read more...)

Hugging Face raises $40 million for its natural language processing library



Hugging Face has raised a $40 million Series B funding round — Addition is leading the round. The company has been building an open source library for natural language processing (NLP) technologies. You can find the Transformers library on GitHub — it has 42,000 stars and 10,000 forks.

Existing investors Lux Capital, A.Capital and Betaworks also participated in today’s funding round. Other investors include Dev Ittycheria, Olivier Pomel, Alex Wang, Aghi Marietti, Florian Douetteau, Richard Socher, Paul St. John, Kevin Durant and Rich Kleiman.

With Transformers, you can leverage popular NLP models, such as BERT, GPT, XLNet, T5 or DistilBERT and use those models to manipulate text in one way or another. For instance, you can classify text, extract information, automatically answer questions, summarize text, generate text, etc.

There are many different use cases for NLP. A popular one has been support chatbot. For instance, challenger bank Monzo has been using Hugging Face behind the scenes to answer questions from its customers. Overall, around 5,000 companies are using Hugging Face in one way or another, including Microsoft with its search engine Bing.

When it comes to business model, the startup has recently launched a way to get prioritized support, manage private models and host the inference API for you. Clients include Bloomberg, Typeform and Grammarly.

With the new funding round, the company plans to triple its headcount in New York and Paris — there will be remote positions too. Interestingly, the company is also sharing some details about its bank (Read more...)