Bellevue-based open-source startup, Union AI, recently announced securing a $19.1 million Series A funding round led by NEA and Nava Ventures. The company's mission is to simplify and enhance AI and data workflows through its cloud-native automation platform. Union AI has also introduced its fully managed Union Cloud service, a significant milestone in their efforts to revolutionize machine learning infrastructure.
At the heart of Union AI is Flyte, an open-source tool that enables the creation of production-grade workflow automation platforms. With a focus on data, machine learning, and analytics stacks, Flyte offers a comprehensive solution for ETL pipelines, analytics workflows, and machine learning pipelines. Unlike other existing orchestration projects, Flyte is tailored to meet the specific needs of machine learning teams.
Flyte originated within Lyft, where CEO and co-founder Ketan Umare developed machine learning-based ETA and traffic models. The challenges faced in putting these models into production prompted Umare and his team to develop infrastructure tools to simplify the process. The goal was to empower machine learning teams to deliver models more efficiently.
Recognizing a discrepancy between software engineers and machine learning specialists, Union AI decided to open source Flyte and collaborate with others to develop a machine learning-native platform.
Building on the success of Flyte, Umare and his team transformed the open-source project into a startup, resulting in the establishment of Union AI in late 2020. Notable companies such as HBO, Intel, LinkedIn, Spotify, Stripe, Wolt, and ZipRecruiter have already adopted the Flyte platform.
Union AI goes beyond offering Flyte-as-a-service. The company also developed Pandera, a framework for data testing, and Union ML, a framework that enhances Flyte's capabilities for model deployment using existing tools. Union Cloud integrates these components and provides additional enterprise tools like single sign-on to further enhance the platform.
Testimonials from companies using Flyte highlight the significant impact on machine learning productivity. With increased offline training jobs and more frequent model releases, businesses experience tangible gains. ML productivity is no longer seen as a luxury but as a necessary requirement for staying competitive.
Union AI understands the growing concerns around privacy and information security, particularly with large language models. Union Cloud addresses these concerns by ensuring companies retain control and ownership of their data while leveraging the power of big models. This commitment to data privacy and control distinguishes Union AI and meets the demands of discerning businesses.
In conclusion, Union AI's successful Series A funding round and the introduction of Union Cloud mark significant progress in simplifying AI and data workflows. With Flyte as the foundation, Union AI empowers machine learning teams with tailored infrastructure tools. The company's emphasis on data ownership and control positions it as a key player in the evolving AI landscape, with the potential to transform how businesses approach AI implementation.
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