MindsDB today announced it has raised $3 million to grow its automated machine learning platform made for data scientists and developers to quickly train and deploy models.

The open source platform has been downloaded more than 250,000 times through Python pip installs or software with a graphic user interface and has been used by 20,000 developers. Explainability tools are also built in under the hood due to the work of cofounder and CEO Jorge Torres.

“That’s extremely important for us and extremely important for the industry to take on, because without explainability, you don’t get the buy-in from the non-technical individuals,” cofounder and COO Adam Carrigan told VentureBeat in a phone interview.

The $3 million funding round is led by OpenOcean, whose general partner Patrik Backman cofounded and was a product lead at popular open source projects MariaDB and MySQL, respectively. MindsDB’s first investor was Berkeley SkyDeck, a fund based at the University of California, Berkeley. MindsDB is the latest open source project important to machine learning developers to spring from UC Berkeley. Databricks, for example, which has a $6.2 billion valuation following a funding round last fall, was founded by the people at Berkeley who created Apache Spark.

“We believe MindsDB can quickly establish a position as the leading solution for developers out there wanting to use ML/AI to include fascinating capabilities in their applications,” Backman said in a statement provided by OpenOcean. “The ecosystem around Berkeley has long been famous for innovation around Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, and a large number of exciting startups have emerged through their programs.”

The funding will be used to expand the team and the company’s revenue capabilities, Carrigan said.

“At the moment we’ve been really focusing on open source; we’ve got amazing open source metrics in terms of downloads and [GitHub] stars etc. We’ve got some initial contracts signed and sort of found our niche in terms of where the sales opportunities are, and now we need to scale that up,” he said.

The MindsDB platform competes with offerings from major public cloud providers like AWS SageMaker’s AutoPilot and Google’s AutoML. Carrigan says MindsDB is different because of its focus on privacy and use in an on-premises environment. Google Cloud Platform’s AutoML got the ability to operate in on-premises environments with the introduction of Anthos at the Next conference about a year ago.

MindsDB is a graduate of Y Combinator’s recent Winter 2020 batch.

Other participants in the $3 million funding round include Rogue Capital and Zyper founder Amber Atherton, SCM Advisors, and Berkeley SkyDeck.

MindsDB is based in Berkeley, California and has nine employees. The company, founded in 2017, has raised a total $4.3 million to date.

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