The startup that wants to bring ML engineering to small companies
Founded by former execs from Payoneer, AWS, IronSource and Wix, Qwak finalized a $15 million fundraising round
Qwak, which develops a machine learning engineering platform, finalized a $15 million fundraising round led by Leaders Fund and StageOne Ventures.
The startup was founded by former senior executives from four major companies: CEO Alon Lev is a former VP Data at Payoneer; CTO Yuval Fernbach is a former machine learning (ML) specialist at Amazon Web Services; COO Lior Penson was previously IronSource’s Business development Manager; and VP of Engineering Ran Romano was the ML engineering leader at Wix.com.
While in their previous positions, the four became aware of the stark difference between the resources and knowledge of established enterprises, which enable them to built in-house MLOps tools – and the smaller companies (most companies in the world, in fact), which do not have the assets required, and therefore struggle in ML adoption.
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.
According to company research, despite 9 out of 10 executives believing that adopting ML is crucial to compete, only 10% of ML models built actually make it to production. Companies fail to adopt ML not necessarily due to challenges surrounding the development of the models itself, but rather because of difficulties that arise when companies try to build ML-driven products.
The process of building these products requires resources from three separate teams—ML, Engineering, and DevOps—to build and provision the supporting infrastructure required before a model can be integrated into a product.
The back and forth between a company’s development teams and its data science teams, as well as the complexity of integrating models into products, translates into weeks or even months, slowing time to build, and ultimately leading to less value creation.
Qwak’s solution attempts to alleviate the bottleneck that exists between the development and data science teams. Through MLOps automation, it accelerates companies’ processes and allows them to manage the models the moment they are integrated into their products. In doing so, they can increase the productivity of their engineers, release more ML-driven products, and speed up the time to innovation by enabling tighter iteration cycles.
“Companies all over the world are recognizing data science’s great value and understand they need to adopt ML to stay relevant in today’s market,” said Alon Lev, Qwak co-founder & CEO.
“We’ve seen large technology companies invest substantial resources to build out ML Engineering platforms, in the hopes of developing solutions to these challenges. Fast-growing startups, however, are still finding it difficult to build ML-based products.”
Qwak currently employs 20 individuals between its R&D Center in Israel and its San Francisco office. The funds from this financing will be used to invest in product development, as well as to expand its sales and marketing departments. A number of leading companies have already adopted Qwak’s platform, including Yotpo, Guesty, Skyline AI, and JLL.