The artificial intelligence startup Domino Data Lab Inc. today disclosed that there is a $ 100 million investment from Great Hill Partners, Nvidia Corp. and existing donors.
Domino Data Labs from San Francisco announced that it will work more closely with Nvidia after the financing round. The companies will join forces to integrate more of their products with others and to expand joint sales activities.
Domino Data Lab competes in what is known as the MLOps product category, which includes software tools that make it easier for companies to deploy and maintain AI models. The startup offers a Kubernetes-based platform that provides a central platform for managing machine learning projects. Data science teams can use the platform to provide infrastructure, install AI development tools, and make the neural networks they have created available to colleagues via application programming interfaces.
By centralizing the AI development process on one platform, Domino Data Lab promises to solve many of the challenges common to enterprise machine learning initiatives.
One task that the startup promises is to provide infrastructure for AI projects. Data science teams often need help from the IT department to set up an AI infrastructure, adding more work to the IT staff. In other cases, data science teams set up hardware themselves, which can also create challenges. Infrastructure deployed without the oversight of IT staff can lead to cost overruns and cybersecurity issues.
Domino Data Lab says its platform enables IT teams to allocate hardware resources to data science teams through a centralized interface with point-and-click control. The result, according to the startup, is a reduction in the manual effort required to manage the AI infrastructure.
When it comes to software, data science uses a variety of development tools to build neural networks. In addition, they often use algorithms and other AI components from the open source ecosystem. Every software component has the potential to contain cybersecurity vulnerabilities, which is why companies often test new technologies that have been adopted by their data science teams prior to deployment.
Domino Data Lab says its platform enables companies to centrally manage the software that data science teams use. To further improve cybersecurity, the startup encrypts the data that customers use as part of their projects. Files are encrypted as they are sent over the network and while they are held in storage.
According to Domino Data Lab, its platform is used by more than 20% of the Fortune 100. The startup says the hardware provisioning and other productivity features in its platform have saved thousands of hours of development time for some customers, allowing AI projects to complete faster.
A second, perhaps equally important, task that MLOps offers make it easier for companies is recruiting. A survey commissioned by the Data Domino Lab found that many companies find it difficult to hire enough AI experts. According to the startup, simplifying the operational tasks involved in developing AI software can enable a company’s existing data science teams to take on machine learning projects that were previously too complicated. The result is that companies have to hire fewer AI specialists.
Domino Data Lab’s plans for the new $ 100 million it has raised include expanding its partnership with Nvidia. The companies will work to make the startup’s platform easier to deploy on AI systems with the chipmaker’s graphics cards. As part of this effort, Domino Data Lab will have its platform certified to run on Nvidia AI Enterprise, a software suite that enables AI software to run on many types of infrastructures.
“AI and data science are new workloads that require a full-stack solution – one with tools that simplify development and deployment for customers,” said Manuvir Das, head of enterprise computing at Nvidia. “By integrating NVIDIA AI Enterprise with the Domino platform, customers can easily integrate advanced AI tools into their traditional data center infrastructure.”
In one blog entry Nick Elprin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of Domino Data Lab, said today that the startup will create “a team dedicated to helping our customers gain competitive advantage with NVIDIA Accelerated Computing solutions.” The startup also wants to hire more employees in other areas.
The round of funding represents a particularly valuable boost for Domino Data Lab as the MLOps segment it operates in has become more competitive recently. In July, $ 6.3 billion AI development startup DataRobot Inc. acquired MLOps provider Algorithmia Inc. to expand its market share.
Domino Data Lab has raised $ 228 million in funding to date.