Amenity Analytics, a New York-based startup developing what it describes as a “text-mining” AI platform for enterprise, today announced that it’s raised $18 million in series B financing led by Starr Companies, with participation from Allstate, Intel Capital, and State of Mind Ventures. It brings the company’s total raised to around $25.6 million, following a $7.6 million series A round in 2017, and will help further grow its team, said CEO Nathaniel Storch.
“Some of the most sophisticated minds on Wall Street already trust our technology to uncover insights that give their investment strategies an edge,” he added. “Over the past year, we’ve assembled a dynamic team who has delivered a product that is only scratching the surface of its capabilities.”
Storch, a former Wall Street analyst and portfolio manager, founded Amenity Analytics in 2015 with Ronen Feldman, a professor at Hebrew University in Israel, and Hedva Feldman, who previously served as software department head at Matrix. The startup’s cloud-based platform, which is currently in beta, taps natural language processing (NLP) to detect sentiment, key commentary, and statements of apparent deception in news coverage, social media activity, and research reports for Fortune 100 clients. Current customers include Barclays, Citi, Evercore, Moody’s, Nasdaq, TimeWarner, and other media companies, financial exchanges, and large consultancies.
Amenity Analytics’ fundraising comes just days after another firm with a robust NLP product suite — Affectiva — raised $26 million. The MIT Media Lab spinoff’s Speech API can recognize things like laughter, anger, and various forms of emotional arousal in live and recorded speech, while measuring things like voice volume, tone, speed, and pauses.
They’re not the only firms applying NLP and sentiment analysis to enterprise applications. Salesforce’s Service Cloud’s agent console features Einstein Reply Recommendations, which uses natural language processing to “instantly” suggest agent responses over chat and messaging. Google’s AutoML Natural Language, which is available through its Cloud AutoML platform, helps to parse text across domains; Hearst uses it to organize content in its domestic and international magazines. And Tableau’s Ask Data, an NLP feature for Tableau Server and Tableau Online, enables users to pose queries and get a response.
Research firm Tractica forecasts that the NLP software market will grow from $136 million in 2016 to $5.4 billion by 2025.
“Since its initial round of funding, Amenity has demonstrated an ability to advance its technology not only to serve the financial industry, but also to uncover applications for insurance and a variety of other sectors,” said Intel Capital senior managing director Nick Washburn. “Today’s most sophisticated financial institutions can uncover meaningful insights and drive business value by applying Amenity’s novel NLP techniques to their growing volumes of unstructured text.”