We always say that SHIFT matchmaking provides unexpected, surprising and profitable business opportunities. To provide some flesh around the claim, we called Eero Laaksonen, the CEO and co-founder of Valohai. Namely, Valohai’s recent investment round of 1,45 million € got a kick start from SHIFT,  where Eero decided to work the matchmaking program to its fullest. Among the new people he met, was Juha Ruohonen from Superhero Capital – who ultimately became the lead of the next investment round.

Picture: Valohai


SHIFTing the speed limits from the start


Valohai was founded in 2016 by a team of engineers with backgrounds in various software development companies including San Francisco-based Leap Motion. The company’s headquarter is located in Turku, Finland and it has customers in Europe, Asia, and the USA and plans to further scale the team and accelerate product development.

Peter Sarlin, Chief Scientist at Silo.AI, a consulting AI laboratory that uses Valohai’s solutions, describes benefits of automated machine learning infrastructure with the following words: “Data scientists want to focus on the machine learning models and algorithms, not the infrastructure, record keeping, and other maintenance tasks. We believe machine learning system providers partnering with AI consultancies is a winning combination to create machine learning solutions of the future. Not everyone has to reinvent this preprocess-train-deploy-monitor-wheel.”.

The thing that makes Valohai unique is that their platform requires no setup and companies can start to build large-scale ML models immediately. In other cases the initial setup period for conventional machine learning can take as long as two years, which is a significant hurdle for many companies to clamber over.

Silo.AI is a partner os SHIFT 2018, and is moderating the AI in Maritime Industry track.


Let the developers focus on what they do best


Valohai grew up to be a machine learning (ML) platform-as-a-service company. It  raised 1,45 million € in the funding round – that initiated in SHIFT – to help international companies accelerate machine learning development and scale their model deployment. The round was led by Nordic seed stage investment company Superhero Capital, with participation from Reaktor Ventures and Business Finland, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.

The Valohai platform automates the ML training and deployment infrastructure for companies who are looking to increase their business efficiency by leveraging machine learning. This scalable solution allows companies to run multiple variations of machine learning ideas in parallel, leaving developers free to focus on pushing the boundaries of their research with minimal idle time.

“Currently, every company starting with large-scale machine learning needs to build a lot of overhead infrastructure before they can apply deep learning to solve the actual problem. By providing a standardized infrastructure and workflow, we help companies focus on the actual business driving machine learning models instead of the infrastructure,” says Eero.


Hunting the next big thing


The platform is designed to be used for peer review and open-source collaboration. Unlike many other machine learning environments, the Valohai system can track changes, build reproducible algorithms, and ensure changes in team composition do not hinder the experiment process.

“Hardcore machine learning and data science is a team sport and Valohai acts as the coach,” tells Juha Ruohonen, Founding Partner at Superhero Capital. “Uniform workflows and collaboration tools will play a pivotal role in guiding machine learning solutions to the next level. Valohai’s collaborative tool means data professionals can work together towards a common goal and create the next big thing for machine learning and AI,” concludes Ruohonen.


So what is the next big thing Valohai is brewing to conquer the world? That is still a secret, but Eero, Toni Perämäki, who has background for example in Microsoft Flux, and the rest of the team have a plan how to find it. Eero works at the moment in Berlin, at the coworking space Factory one week per month, to foster the German markets. Also, the guys are about to go for a tour in the USA to open up new international markets and to find new opportunities.


Good luck Valohai – and see you at SHIFT 2018!


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