Primer is an artificial intelligence (AI) startup that’s been around for less than three years but is already causing quite a stir on the market. The company uses AI algorithms to analyze large amounts of data to throw back relevant results in a matter of seconds on any topic you choose.
The company was founded by Sean Gourley and is already hitting the headlines with its impressive software and top name clients. Gathering up all relevant data on the internet and condensing it onto one single page, highlighting the most important parts, is where Primer sets itself apart from the rest. The finished result includes maps, charts, timelines, and lots of hyperlinks to click on that lead to further information.
Just last week AI startup Primer announced it had raised a staggering $14.7 million in venture capital from some big names including, Data Collective, Lux Capital and In-Q-TEL. Clients already enticed by the software include Walmart, and some U.S. spy agencies. Value to clients comes in the form of constant updates as to what’s going on around the world (for spy agencies), consumer product and supply chain information (for retailers), and changes in the market (for finance companies). “We’re operating in a fast-changing environment where there is a massive amount of data and information to understand,” said Dan Bartlett, executive VP of corporate affairs at Walmart.
Sean Gourley has led a busy and fulfilling life so far. He started off studying nanotechnology at the University of Canterbury, where he earned his master’s degree in 2002. Following his graduation, Gourley was employed by NASA Ames Research Center before going on to pursue a PhD in computational physics at Oxford University. In 2006, he cofounded another AI startup called Quid, that specialized in data visualizations. A few years after that Gourley went at it on his own and piece by piece Primer was formed.
Primer’s main aim is to introduce all the benefits of artificial intelligence to the general public. Hardly any companies out there have the resources to maintain such big data-mining operations. Moving forward, Gourley would like to see the company sell its services to small and medium sized businesses such as retailer, hedge funds, and oil outfits.
Currently, Primer’s software is able to handle text in English, Russian, and Chinese, but Arabic and Spanish are soon to be added also. “Once we build machines that help us pass our antiquated cognitive limitations, we’re going to free ourselves up to see more of the structure that exists in the world,” says Gourley.