Jan 14

StageZero Technologies raises $1.8m in seed funding

We are so excited to announce our latest seed funding led by Konvoy Ventures!

In 2021, StageZero Technologies raised $1.8 million in funding to concretize its journey of accelerating the AI revolution. The funding supports us to expand our team, improve our product efficiencies, and continue innovating tools that empower organizations to ethically develop AI systems quickly and easily.

The round was led by Konvoy Ventures with participation from Turkish venture studio Ludus, blockchain leader Hyperamp, and existing investors Into Ventures, Nordic Game Ventures, Alexis Bonte (Stillfront Group Chief Operating Officer), Andrew Sheppard (Managing Director at Transcend Fund, and Rakuten Games board member), and Wilhelm Taht (Senior VP & GM of GSN). Konvoy Ventures Managing Partner Jackson Vaughan has also recently joined StageZero’s board.

Until now, the AI revolution worldwide has been bottlenecked. The industry has been facing a distinct shortage of usable datasets for ever-increasing use cases. The data required to train machine learning systems is commonly expensive, difficult to attain and label, and is delivered with extremely long wait times. On average, 80% of time spent in AI projects is spent on data activities. Compliance with privacy regulations is complicated, time-consuming, and costly.

Despite these obstacles, Memory Leak predicts that the AI training data market will be worth $5 billion by 2023, with the industry growing 31% year on year. StageZero’s products are leading the revolution by removing bottlenecks currently standing in the way of such growth.

StageZero’s solutions solve the bottlenecks by reducing the time spent on data activities by 40% and providing high-quality and GDPR-compliant data quickly and reliably for a wide range of use cases. Our benchmarks show that our solutions have higher accuracy than industry-standard services, and at a third of the cost.

Founded in 2016 in Helsinki, Finland by brothers Thomas and Nicklas Forss, industry experts in machine learning and engineering, StageZero inserts in-app tasks into mobile games; bite-sized activities that users can complete in exchange for game rewards and perks, such as coins and extra lives. Effectively, they are an alternative to incentivized video ads.

The in-app tasks typically require gamers to label items by drawing boxes around specific objects or providing simple audible translations using their own voices. This way, gamers’ inputs contribute to generating valuable AI training data for both computer vision and natural language processing (NLP), the two main specialisites of StageZero. Besides mobile games, StageZero also partner with e-learning platforms to gain input from highly motivated reward seekers.

Example of an in-app microtask

“We are accelerating the AI revolution, with our technology providing value across the entire chain. With our technology, companies can source AI training quickly, while gamers have their user experience enhanced,” explains CEO Thomas Forss. “By harnessing the power of mobile gamers, a segment which continues to grow rapidly, we will drive rapid, yet ethical, technological progress through data, and with this funding we are now ready to significantly expand our team and refine our product.”

StageZero CEO Thomas Forss

Lead investor Konvoy Ventures Managing Partner Jackson Vaughan recently joined the board, and explains his enthusiasm for StageZero’s unique approach. “The data labeling marketplace that StageZero is building for game studios and data science teams provides a better experience for players, a new and potentially more lucrative revenue stream for mobile games, and a scalable labeling solution for teams building machine learning models. We’re thrilled to back the Forss brothers and the rest of the StageZero team as they bring micro tasks to gamers all over the world.”

StageZero's team had fun at curling during Christmas 2021

This investment brings us to a total of $2.8 million since being founded in 2016 and we’re excited to use to extend our services to support even more clients around the globe.

Do you want to learn how StageZero Technologies can integrate AI into your business process? Speak to our partnership team here or read more of our blog.

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