But creativity is one of the last remaining vestiges of human endeavor that is safe from the bony claws of algorithmic automation … though for how long is another matter.
Algorithms are increasingly stretching into the creative realm, with the likes of Google offering tools that replicate human drawings, Wix offering automated web design, Prisma transforming your photos into artwork, and Automated Insights generating sports and financial press coverage using nothing but numbers.
Then there’s Tailor Brands, which recently raised $15.5 million to grow its AI-powered platform that automatically creates company brands.
It’s against this backdrop that Albert Technologies is setting out to disrupt the digital marketing sphere with an AI platform that automatically generates campaigns for brands around the world. This week, Albert announced that it has raised a fresh $18 million in funding from institutional investors that include Schroder Investment Management, Hargreave Hale, and Old Mutual Global Investors. The round adds to an initial $42 million the company raised at its 2015 London IPO, back when it was known as Adgorithms.
But all this leaves us with one lingering question: What, exactly, does Albert do?
At a basic level, Albert crunches vast swathes of data that it converts into insights and uses to autonomously run optimized campaigns.
Digging down into the details, Albert works across channels — such as Facebook and Google — to measure the impact and outcome of marketing campaigns, and then automates its own campaigns based on what it deems effective for a particular market segment.
Companies can feed Albert their own creative content, such as slogans, images, and logos, as well as their market targets. Albert can also siphon data from its own database to figure out key characteristics of a serious buyer. It can then try to find other potential customers that match those traits, known as “lookalike” audiences, and run its own trial campaigns on a small group of customers before refining the campaign and launching it on a larger scale.
The story so far
Albert was founded out of Tel Aviv in 2010 by Or Shani, and the product was developed by a team of data scientists and engineers in the years leading up to its 2014 launch. The startup was entirely self-funded ahead of its debut on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) in 2015, and it entered the U.S. market in August 2016 ahead of Salesforce’s Einstein launch a month later.
In addition to targeting enterprises directly, Albert also makes its platform available to advertising agencies, who can in turn offer it to their clients. With another chunk of cash in the bank, Albert will now look to build out its customer base in more markets and better service its existing clients, which include U.S. motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, luxury lingerie company Cosabella, Singapore-based food company Dole Asia, and Australian gift retailer RedBalloon.
“In 2016, we launched in the U.S. market and demonstrated how an autonomous AI could execute convoluted marketing processes,” Shani said. “In 2017, our focus was setting up the company operationally to serve enterprise and agency clients, as well as refining our value proposition with these user types in mind. In 2018, all of this work will culminate in an expanded offering and exponential growth across regions.”
In 2017, Albert shifted its official headquarters to New York City, were it currently counts 80 employees, though its main R&D hub remains in Tel Aviv, with around 100 employees.