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CrowdFlower Rebrands as Figure Eight to Take Advantage of Booming Interest in AI

Here’s one that slipped under the radar as we were gearing up for FinovateSpring. Crowdsourcing platform provider for online staffing Crowdflower rebranded as Figure Eight in April. In a blog post previewing the change, CEO Robin Bordoli explained that changes in the evolution of artificial intelligence and the market for machine learning were opening up new opportunities for the firm.

“As the market has evolved, CrowdFlower has adapted to serve our customers and their changing needs. We’ve executed intentional changes to how we operate to meet the market requirements of scale, quality, complexity, and flexibility,” Bordoli wrote. These changes have included shifting the company from managed service to SaaS, abstracting sourcing human intelligence from the application of human intelligence, Human-in-the-loop and active learning, combining human intelligence and machine learning, and acting as a trusted AI guide for customers just beginning to take advantage of the technology. Bordoli took over as CEO of the company which was led by founder Lukas Biewald until early 2015.

The company said that it chose the name Figure Eight for a variety of reasons – and in consultation with “one of the top naming agencies in the valley.” These reasons varied from the continuous loop shape of the figure eight to the number eight as a reference to a byte, which is a building block of eight bits, to the numerical difference between the atomic numbers for Carbon (6) and Silicon (14). “Carbon is an essential component of human biology,” Bordoli wrote. “Silicon is an essential component of computing power. So the number eight represents the bridge between humans and machines.”

As part of the reorganization, Figure Eight has made a handful of executive and board of directors changes. Dale Brown was hired to work as VP of Business Development after previously serving in a similar capacity at Bitnami. Robert Munro was promoted from VP of Machine Learning to Chief Technology Officer. Alyssa Simpson Rochwerger was hired to work as VP of Product, having worked as director of project management at IBM Watson. Figure Eight also added Alta Vista search engine company founder Louis Monier to its board of directors.

Based in San Francisco and founded in 2009, Figure Eight (as CrowdFlower) demonstrated its platform that automates the management of online human workforces at FinovateFall 2014, earning Best of Show honors. With $58 million in funding, Figure Eight includes Industry Ventures, M12, Canvas Ventures, Trinity Ventures, Harmony Partners, and Bessemer Venture Partners among its investors. Earlier this month, the company introduced a suite of new solutions designed to help more businesses embrace AI: Figure Eight Datasets, Video Object Tracking, and Smart Bounding Box Annotation.