Funding raises for Sentra, Lavender, Instill AI and Argilla. M&A for BandLab, Uniphore

Ben Wodecki, Jr. Editor

February 6, 2023

5 Min Read

Every week, AI Business brings you the latest startup news.

From funding rounds to acquisitions, product launches to partnerships, AI Business covers everything artificial intelligence.

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Funding blitz

Startup: Phantom AI - California-based computer vision developers. Phantom AI is building autonomous driving platforms that feature computer vision, sensor fusion and control capabilities.

Latest funding: $36.5 million, series C

Investors: KT Investment, Renaissance Asset Management, InterVest, Shinhan GIB, Samsung Ventures

Funding plans: The newly raised funds will be used to accelerate the company’s production development.

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Startup: Sentra – With dual headquarters in New York and Israel, Sentra is a cloud data security company. Its tech enables security teams to gain increased visibility and control of cloud data, as well as protect against sensitive data breaches across the entire public cloud stack.

Latest funding: $30 million, series A

Lead investor: Standard Investments

Other investors: Munich Re Ventures, Moore Strategic Ventures, Xerox Ventures, INT3, Bessemer Venture Partners, Zeev Ventures.

Funding plans: The new financing, secured just 18 months after the company was founded, brings Sentra’s total capital raised to more than $53 million. Sentra will use the funds to increase its market presence, invest in its technology and grow its team.

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Startup: Lavender - New York-based provider of AI-powered sales email coaching platforms.

Latest funding: $13.2 Million - $11 million, series A and $2.2 million, seed funding

Series A lead investor: Norwest Venture Partners

Other series A investor: Signia Venture Partners

Seed round lead investor: Signia

Other seed round investors: CapitalX, Position Ventures, Dropbox co-founder Arash Ferdowsi, and Alex Lieberman, co-founder of Morning Brew.

Funding plans: Lavender will use the funds to expand its team and introduce new AI-powered features providing actionable insights tailored to revenue teams.

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Startup: Instill AI - British startup developing visual data tools. Instill’s tech is designed to streamline the process of distilling the value of unstructured visual data in data stacks.

Latest funding: $3.6 million, seed round

Lead investor: RTP Global

Other investors: Lunar Ventures, Hive Ventures, Charles Songhurst, former corporate strategy executive at Microsoft, and Mehdi Ghissassi, director of product for Google's AI/ML research team.

Funding plans: Instill hopes to double its team size by the end 0f 2023. The company also hopes to improve its user experience as well as make model imports easier for new AI tasks, including generative AI.

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Startup: Argilla – Headquartered in both Madrid and San Francisco, Argilla develops data labeling tools for MLOps.

Latest funding: $1.6 million, seed funding.

Lead investors: Zetta Venture Partners, Caixa Capital Risc

Funding plans: Argilla’s cloud offering, currently in alpha, will be available in the U.S. and globally in Q1 2023.

Acquisitions

BandLab Technologies acquires Airbit

Singaporean music platform BandLab Technologies has snapped up beat marketplace Airbit.

BandLab’s Airbit acquisition will allow its product lines, including the AI music idea generator SongStarter, to benefit from improved beat generation.

Airbit CEO Wasim Khamlichi will step down following an unspecified transition period.

Meng Ru Kuok, CEO and founder of BandLab Technologies, said: “Thanks to companies like Airbit, self-serve beat marketplaces have become an exciting route for creators to find and purchase high-quality beats to kickstart their creative process. We’re excited to improve the user experience for our creators and introduce new ways for them to earn a living.”

Uniphore acquires U.K.-based Red Box

Conversational AI company Uniphore has acquired Red Box, an open enterprise platform for capturing voice, screen and metadata from conversations.

The deal, of which no financial terms were released, will see the Red Box team, its intellectual property, and products become part of Uniphore. Red Box’s data-capturing capabilities will bolster Uniphore’s X platform, the company said.

“During these dynamic economic times, enterprises are realizing the importance of working with integrated platforms that can scale to offer stellar customer experience and proven ROI, versus point solutions and data silos,” said Umesh Sachdev, CEO and co-founder of Uniphore.

Standard AI to acquire Skip

San Francisco-based Standard AI is acquiring self-checkout solutions provider, Skip.

Standard AI will integrate Skip’s cloud-based POS (point of sale) with the complex back office ecosystem to streamline operations and give greater control over price, discounts, promotions and more.

Standard AI will continue to sell Skip standalone or together with its Vision OS^ offering upon close of the acquisition.

“Autonomous retail has seen exponential growth, and in the next five years we’ll see thousands of AI-powered stores across the world,” said Jordan Fisher, CEO of Standard AI.

Partnerships

London-based TV production company Fremantle has entered into a partnership with AI startup Papercup to localize its content for Arabic-speaking audiences.

Papercup’s AI Dubbing service automates video translation. A two-year deal will see the startup’s tech used to bring shows like Idols, Got Talent and The X Factor to Arabic-speaking viewers.

The AI-translated Arab content will be available on a newly created YouTube channel, dubbed Talent World, or عالم المواهب.

The partnership follows Papercup’s work in translating Fremantle content for Spanish-speaking audiences.

Jesse Shemen, CEO of Papercup said: “With the proliferation of entertainment content out there, competition for viewers’ attention is ever-increasing. By partnering with Fremantle to localize content with high viewership in existing markets, we enable them to sustainably scale that success in new markets.”

About the Author(s)

Ben Wodecki

Jr. Editor

Ben Wodecki is the Jr. Editor of AI Business, covering a wide range of AI content. Ben joined the team in March 2021 as assistant editor and was promoted to Jr. Editor. He has written for The New Statesman, Intellectual Property Magazine, and The Telegraph India, among others. He holds an MSc in Digital Journalism from Middlesex University.

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