Canvas leads $12.5M round in CrowdFlower

Bambi Francisco Roizen · September 17, 2014 · Short URL:

Riding the big data wave, CrowdFlower gathers humans to touch up what machines can't do

It's nice to know that the human touch is still needed in a world where robotics and artificial intelligence are gaining momentum. CrowdFlower, which has five million so-called on-demand contributors cleaning up data, has raised $12.5 million in a Series C round of financing, led by Canvas Venture Fund, with full pro rata participation from Bessemer Venture Partners and Trinity Ventures.

The new round brings the total amount raised to $28 million.

"We looked heavily into crowdsourcing," said Rebecca Lynn, Partner at Canvas Venture Fund (an off-shoot of Morgenthaler Ventures), who also joins CrowdFlower's board.  "CrowdFlower had the broadest platform in terms of use cases and a very impressive customer base. We followed them a few years [before investing]." 

Such is the style of Lynn, and her partners at the Canvas Venture Fund, who typically spend months or years watching a company and market segment, analyzing and evaluating which startup stands out. An investment from Canvas is a significant validation.

Vator has watched CrowdFlower for many years as well. Watch the interview with Lukas Biewald back in 2010, just months after the company launched. Back then, Biewald told me that CrowdFlower had some 200,000 users contributing vs five million today. Amazing. In the interview, you can hear what kind of tasks CrowdFlower works on as well as how the company gets paid.

It doesn't sound like the tasks are much different today. If anything, the tasks are far more sophisticated. 

Today, some of the companies CrowdFlower works with include eBay to VMWare to address many data projects such as image annotation, sentiment analysis and real-time transcription. 

So how did CrowdFlower catch the eye of Canvas? "They moved to a self-serve SaaS model," said Lynn. And the fact that the company hit certain revenue projections they sought to meet. "With no marketing dollars to get these customers, they proved their product-market fit."   

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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CrowdFlower's technology platform offers quality-ensured crowdsourcing at massive scale. The company solves problems ranging from product categorization to business lead verification to content creation. Clients from startups to the Fortune 500 enjoy increased flexibility, faster turnaround time and cost savings.

CrowdFlower offers a fully-managed, easy to integrate solution that ensures quality results and elegantly handles fluctuating work volumes. Our crowdsourcing experts will optimize our platform to fit your unique business needs and provide clear reporting with guaranteed accuracy levels. No other enterprise crowdsourcing company offers a solution that matches CrowdFlower’s scale, quality assurance technology, or client roster. CrowdFlower’s customers enjoy increased profits by adding scale, improving efficiency, offering new services, and reducing costs.



Rebecca Lynn

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