Qwak, an MLOps startup, finalized a $15 million fundraising round led by Leaders Fund and StageOne Ventures, with participation from Amiti Ventures and world-leading operators like Rani Wellingstein (founder of Intucell), Eugene Miropolski (from Nordstar), and Philippe Suchet and Tamir Carmi (co-founders of IronSource).

Machine Learning engineering at its finest

Companies all over the world are recognizing data science’s great value and are starting to understand that they need to adopt ML to stay relevant in today’s market. So much so that 9 out of 10 executives believe that adopting ML is crucial to compete. Large technology companies, who have the resources and knowledge, invest substantially to build in-house MLOps tools that allow them to adopt and run ML applications in production. So, they can stay ahead of the game. However, fast-growing startups, who don’t have the required assets, are finding it difficult to build ML-based products because integrating such models has its difficulties, and it takes multiple teams and is very time-consuming.

For example, only 10% of ML models built actually make it to production because companies fail to adopt ML due to the challenges that arise when they try to build ML-driven products. Moreover, the process of building these products requires resources from three separate teams—ML, Engineering, and DevOps. Working together, they need to build and provision the supporting infrastructure required before a model can be integrated into a product. Overall, the process is extremely slow since there is a lot of back and forth between a company’s development teams and its data science teams. Additionally, the complexity of integrating models into products can take weeks, if not months! Since the time to build such models is so slow, there is less value creation. These barriers limit a company’s ability to adopt ML into their products, so they find themselves constantly playing catch up with the big enterprises. Qwak is trying to change that.

Qwak’s vision is to build an ML engineering platform that, through automation, enables all companies to adopt ML— to build and maintain ML-driven products at scale—without having to build all the plumbing themselves; they are offering the industry’s first ML engineering platform that enables digital native companies to build the required engineering layer surrounding their models which will allow them to build ML-driven products. Essentially, Qwak’s solution alleviates the bottleneck that exists between the development and data science team. Through MLOps automation, Qwak accelerates companies’ processes and allows them to manage the models the moment they are integrated into their products. It, therefore, increases the productivity of engineers, allows more ML-driven products to be released, and speeds up the time to innovation by enabling tighter iteration cycles. As Alon Lev, co-founder & CEO of Qwak proudly stated, “Utilizing Qwak’s technology enables companies to expand their line of ML-based products and thereby grow their business influence and compete globally.”

Qwak Team. Credit: Qwak

The capital raised during this financing round will be used to invest in product development, as well as to expand its sales and marketing departments. Several world-leading companies have already adopted Qwak’s platform, including Yotpo, Guesty, Skyline AI, and JLL, but Qwak is eager to grow this list.

"We love Qwak because it provides a unified, end-to-end solution for managing ML-based applications in production. Yotpo has a wide variety of data science needs and Qwak can accommodate them all with ease. Qwak is robust, scalable, simple yet flexible—exactly what we were looking for." - Jonathan Yaniv – Data Science Leader, Yotpo

Qwak was co-founded in February 2021 by Alon Lev (CEO), former VP Data at Payoneer; Yuval Fernbach (CTO), former Machine Learning Specialist at Amazon Web Services; Lior Penso (COO), former Business Development Manager at ironSource and Amazon Web Services; and Ran Romano (VP of Engineering), former Machine Learning engineering leader at Wix.com. It was their experiences at their former companies that led them to realize the industry problems that Qwak is trying to assuage.