SYDNEY – Appen Limited, a leader in human-curated datasets for machine learning and AI applications, has announced its full acquisition of machine learning start-up Figure Eight for a total consideration of AU$340 million.

Appen will raised AU$285 million for the acquisition through issuing 13.3 million new shares. They claim that the acquisition will combine the ‘scale, quality, and language expertise of Appen’s leading global crowd with Figure Eight’s innovative data annotation platform to create a unique, end-to-end training data offering’.

Formerly known as CrowdFlower, Figure Eight has played a pivotal role in the AI ecosystem, releasing new capabilities that can create high-quality training datasets up to 50 times faster than human labeling alone.

“The union of Appen and Figure Eight creates a unique, exciting and powerful opportunity for our customers,” said Mark Brayan, Appen’s Chief Executive Officer.

“We now have the best of both worlds: our highly efficient cloud management platform and scalable, skillful multilingual crowd, combined with Figure Eight’s innovative customer-facing SaaS platform with ML-assisted annotation. Combined, we’ll meet and exceed our customers’ scale, speed, and quality requirements.”

“We’re very excited to be joining Appen,” said Lukas Biewald, co-founder of Figure Eight. “I’m extremely proud of the team. This is a genuine validation of everything we’ve achieved and a great platform for our teams to combine and continue to do amazing things in AI.”

Figure Eight will continue to operate largely independently as a division of Appen until the end of 2019. Appen will pay USD $175M up-front for Figure Eight and an additional payment of up to $125M in 202 based on their 2019 performance.