Today (Tuesday), Israeli startup Datagen emerged from stealth with a combined Seed and Series A funding announcement. The $3.5 million Seed round was led by TLV Partners, while Viola Ventures led the $15.5 million A round. Spider Capital and Operator Partners also participated in the Series A, in addition to a few interesting Angel investors, including: Gal Chechik, Director of AI at NVIDIA; Anthony Goldbloom, CEO and founder at Kaggle; Michael J. Black from Max Planck; and Trevor Darrell, who founded UC Berkeley’s AI research lab.

Privacy-by-design visual data

Artificial Intelligence has become the hot trend in tech over the past few years. However, developing an AI-powered product requires massive amounts of highly accurate data to help train the AI engine - a process that takes months. Even after collecting and engineering the data, there’s a chance that it could be tainted with real-world variances. This is where the data engines enter the process.

"Our customers have full control over all the parameters that go into the data they create," said Datagen Co-founder and CEO Ofir Chakon. While there are companies like Israel’s Datomize, which develops synthetic data, Datagen develops data engines for computer vision applications. "The real-world implication is that, once deployed, you can be sure it's going to work well in different domains, with different ethnicities, in different geographic locations or any environment you can imagine,” added Chakon, who explains that this way AI researchers are armed with complete visibility over the data fed into the AI models.

Datagen’s system combines Simulated Data aimed at photo-realistically recreating the world around us, with a focus on humans and human-environment interaction. Controlling the physics of a simulated environment allows machine learning models to be trained more efficiently and at a far greater scale, eliminating current bottlenecks of relying on manual collection of real-world imagery.

This provides a solution to some of the regulatory issues facing AI advancement, by giving developers compliance-free types of data that avoid ethnic or gender discrimination and which they can use to build applications without fear of tainting their products with real, personal or sensitive data such as faces or vehicle license plates.

Datagen was founded in 2018 by CEO Ofir Chakon and CTO Gil Elbaz. The two met during their Masters at the prestigious Technion University. The company has 40 employees, split between Tel Aviv R&D and New York sales.