Boston-based AI startup DataRobot, the first overseas company to receive IMDA’s stamp of approval through the Accreditation@SG Digital program, announced today it plans to invest US$11 million in Singapore to set up its regional headquarters and beef up its research and development efforts.
The startup plans to spend 50 percent of that investment to hire 50 new employees by 2019. Based on performance, it could invest up to US$37 million more.
DataRobot’s premier product is an automated machine learning platform that can create predictive models according to customers’ needs. The company employs around 300 people all over the world, and around half of these are data scientists and engineers.
Key industries it serves include banking and fintech, insurance, healthcare, and more. It has raised a total of US$124 million so far.
“DataRobot tries to teach the machines to do data science,” co-founder and CEO Jeremy Achin told reporters in Singapore today.
Seal of approval
IMDA announced recently it would extend its Accreditation scheme, which is basically a thorough due diligence process, to companies outside Singapore. DataRobot is the first that’s been announced.
Achin said that being accredited by IMDA will vastly improve the company’s ability to work with the Singapore government without having to spend a lot of time cutting through the red tape jungle. Getting government projects will be faster and easier, while the distinction will help validate the company to prospective clients in the region.
It will also help DataRobot collaborate with IMDA to increase the startup’s profile in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Without the accreditation stamp, DataRobot would still invest in its Singapore operations, but perhaps not to the extent it will now, the CEO told Tech in Asia. The process took around a year and a half, he said.
Singapore is in the middle of a big push to improve its AI and data science capabilities through a number of initiatives. It announced the AI.SG project in May this year, with the intention of investing US$107 million over the next five years toward that goal.
IMDA recently announced it would be part of this project by setting up apprenticeship programs with local AI professionals, collaboration with international companies, and the Accreditation program.
DataRobot can help in this regard by providing employment for data science and AI positions, attracting top data scientists to the city-state, and helping spread the use of AI technology in the government and the private sector, Achin explained.
Converted from Singapore dollars. US$1 = S$1.35.
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