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Australian AI startup Marqo secures $12.5m in funding
Thu, 15th Feb 2024

Marqo, an innovative Australian AI start-up, announced today that it has secured $12.5m USD (approximately $20m AUD) in Series A funding. The round was spearheaded by global investor Lightspeed, with contributions from Blackbird VC, January Capital, and Chronosphere founder and CTO, Rob Skillington. With this successful round of funding, the company's total financing reaches $17.8m (USD). The capital will be utilised to further the adoption of Marqo's revolutionary vector search platform and accelerate the company's commercial progress.

Vector search is seen as foundational to the ongoing AI revolution. It seeks to tap into unstructured data - estimated to constitute over 80% of all enterprise data - to improve search experiences and develop more pertinent and up-to-date generative AI applications. Traditional methods of deploying vector search, involving embedding models and individual databases, have proven complicated, costly, and inefficient.

Tom Hamer, CEO and co-founder of Marqo spoke about the vision of the company, saying: "We recognised that vector search was going to be instrumental in realising the full potential of AI in our day-to-day lives, but it is far too complicated for developers and enterprises to deploy." Marqo aimed to simplify this process, designing a platform to generate superior vector embeddings and allow customers to establish enhanced search interfaces within minutes, rather than months.

Marqo's unique vector search platform facilitates the entire process, from embedding generation to storage and retrieval, through a single API. This enables the easy implementation of multimodal, multilingual search. The platform's proprietary inference engine employs state-of-the-art machine learning models to transform unstructured data into highly performative vectors. These return hyper-relevant search results in real time. The company offers open-source access to its core code for developers, and a fully managed cloud service, 'Marqo Cloud' for production-oriented enterprises.

Jesse Clark, CTO and co-founder of Marqo, stated: "Mastering unstructured data will be the key to success in the AI race. Our platform transforms this challenge into an opportunity, delivering vector embeddings that offer intuitive and accurate search results with human-like understanding.”

Hemant Mohapatra, Partner at Lightspeed, voiced his optimism about Marqo's mission: “Marqo's mission is to bring this transformational technology to every company in the world through a simple developer API and an enterprise-grade platform offered on-prem and on cloud. Their early growth has been phenomenal."

Companies rely on relevant and trustworthy search, particularly e-commerce firms and online marketplaces. Marqo has already seen substantial adoption from large enterprises, and lists Redbubble and Temple & Webster among its clientele. Anthony Ziebell, Head of AI at Temple & Webster, enthused about the impact of Marqo: "With Marqo, we were able to deploy advanced vector search quickly and easily and see results instantly."

In relation to its Series A round, Marqo will relocate its headquarters to San Francisco. CEO, Tom Hamer, will also move to support the expansion, joining Brett Umberg, previously VP of Sales at RudderStack, who has joined Marqo as Head of Sales. Despite the move, Marqo will retain a presence in both London and Australia.