Who are YData and what do you do?
YData provides the first data development platform that makes it easy to understand the quality of existing data and improve it before training a ML model, leveraging state-of-the-art tools such as data quality profiling and synthetic data generation.
We recently completed a $2.7m capital raise led by Flying Fish Partners, a US fund that specialises in AI and whose partners are former Microsoft and Amazon directors, with participation from existing investors Faber, EDP Ventures and Real Ventures.
What was the inspiration behind the company and what industry challenges do you solve?
Both founders, myself (Gonçalo) and Fabiana, were working in the data space – I was managing data science teams while Fabiana was a lead data scientist. We faced tge problems YData is solving in the first person, from a management and technical perspective.
Nevertheless, before starting YData, in order to validate assumptions, we interviewed more than a hundred data scientists and the answers were unanimous – having high quality data to work with is the main obstacle for data scientists all over the world.
With AI such a blooming area in tech and startups, where are the challenges in such a fast-moving sector?
The challenges are everywhere: from the technology that is emerging but sometimes only experimental and not working as it should, to the novel paper that shows a better way to accomplish something. Another challenge is navigating the hurdle that is hiring data scientists, there are simply not enough of them!
What does this mean for the industry?
Most companies won’t have the opportunity to hire data scientists and will be forced to buy instead of build, which is a great opportunity for us.
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What do you believe the future holds for AI and its R&D?
AI is becoming the new digital revolution and it’s just beginning – it’s starting with simple automation but eventually it will augment human capabilities and allow us to focus our time on new challenges.
We established The Synthetic Data Community to break down barriers for data science teams, researchers and beginner learners and in so doing unlock the power of synthetic data, as part of our commitment to playing a role in the future of the sector.
Is it fair to say that data is king and AI is queen?
Data is definitely king, but the algorithms / AI are becoming less and less relevant. Data is the prime matter and the competitive advantage of every company – just like the ingredients of a recipe: the better the quality of the ingredients, the better will be the cooked meal. You can buy very expensive tools to prepare the meal but without good ingredients it might not be satisfying.
What does the future hold for YData?
YData is growing fast, not only commercially but also in terms of our community of data scientists. We’re set to move to Seattle which will allow us to work closer with our colleagues at Flying Fish. The city is also home to one of the fastest growing AI hubs in the world where several major tech companies, including giants like Microsoft and Amazon are based – the region is a great fit for our US expansion strategy.
We’re becoming the thought leaders in the data quality for data science space – or data preparation if you want to use the proper stage of data science lifecycle – and many other experts are advising about this data-centric approach: Andrew Ng is one of them and gave many talks about moving from model-centric to data-centric.