Austin Startup Sumatra Raises $1.5M to Democratize Machine Learning

CEO Greg Kuhlmann previously led anti-fraud data science teams for Apple’s App Store and Apple Pay services.

Written by Jeff Rumage
Published on Jul. 13, 2022
Austin Startup Sumatra Raises $1.5M to Democratize Machine Learning
Sumatra co-founders
Sumatra co-founders Greg Kuhlmann (left) and Lucas McGrew. | Photo: Sumatra / Built In

Austin startup Sumatra announced Wednesday that it raised $1.5 million in seed financing for its platform that allows data scientists of all abilities to build their own streaming data pipelines for real-time machine learning and analytics features.

According to the company, its platform eliminates a team’s dependency on data engineering, which can delay or block important real-time machine learning or analytics deployments, such as fraud prevention, cybersecurity, credit underwriting and other functionalities.

Sumatra is launching its platform after testing its technology out with partners such as The Zebra, an online quote comparison tool for auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance. By using Sumatra, The Zebra’s data science team gained real-time access to customer behavior data that was previously only actionable offline.

“The platform has enabled our small data science team to ship multiple real-time ML and analytics services,” Meetesh Karia, The Zebra’s CTO and chief data officer, said in a statement. “Additionally, with Sumatra, our team is quickly able to leverage the tool for new use cases across the organization.”

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Sumatra was co-founded by CEO Greg Kuhlmann and software engineer Lucas McGrew in 2020. In their previous roles, they encountered challenges deploying machine learning in time-critical settings.

Kuhlmann earned his Ph.D. in Machine Learning from the University of Texas at Austin. He also led anti-fraud data science teams for the Apple App Store and Apple Pay services while helping develop the company’s centralized operational ML platform.   

Before co-founding Sumatra, McGrew had previously built algorithmic financial trading systems.

“We’ve seen firsthand how much value can be created by real-time ML when teams have the tools to iterate and ship quickly,” Kuhlmann said in a statement. “We also see organizations struggling to build these capabilities in-house, while staying focused on their core business.”

Sumatra’s recent seed round was led by S3 Ventures with participation from Sentiero Ventures, Data Power Ventures and AI Sprouts. Eric Engineer, a partner at S3 Ventures, said in a statement that Sumatra’s platform will spur innovation by “democratizing real-time machine learning.”

“Once data scientists of all stripes are empowered to deploy on their own — without having to depend on a costly, over-stretched data engineer — we will see a flurry of new use cases across companies of all types and sizes,” Engineer said.

Sumatra is currently hiring for three positions on its career page.

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