Startups at Microsoft Seattle Accelerator Focus on Data Science & Machine Learning

Microsoft’s Seattle Accelerator celebrated its first anniversary in August 2015. The program’s inaugural cohort focused on IoT and Home Automation, and the second on Productivity. With Machine Learning and Data Science being the major industry trend that it is, and given Microsoft’s new Cortana Analytics Suite offering, which includes the state-of-the-art Azure Machine Learning service, the Accelerator decided to focus on this domain for their newest cohort of startups.

According to Deloitte, in the past two years alone, over $1 billion of venture capital has been poured into cognitive technologies, and there is no doubt that big data and ML will be at the forefront of reinventing products, services and business processes for the conceivable future.

“Big data and advanced analytics techniques are touching more and more lives every day. We are on the cusp of doing remarkable things such as predicting disease outbreaks, drastically reducing wait times in emergency rooms, and even predicting and preventing crime. Nevertheless, we have barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential of these technologies to change the world. Microsoft’s goal is to make data science and machine learning broadly accessible – to every enterprise, every startup, and, over time, to everybody,” says Joseph Sirosh, Corporate Vice President of the Data Group at Microsoft. “The Cortana Analytics Suite empowers startups through our state-of-the-art platform and tools, and the startups that are part of the Seattle accelerator program are helping us get ever closer to that goal.”

Over the past few months, our Accelerator team has been on the hunt for the most dynamic entrepreneurs with the biggest visions and most disruptive ideas. They traveled to 12 cities in the U.S. and Canada, spoke with many startup founders, and reviewed hundreds of business applications. Companies from over 50 countries applied to our program and the spectrum of companies we saw was very diverse indeed.

After a rigorous review process, we narrowed the field to 26 startups and invited them to Seattle for “Jury Day”, the last step in our selection process. Our panel of 50 jury members, most of them external to Microsoft, included investors, partners, customers, entrepreneurs, data scientists and even psychologists. The startups received constructive feedback from the jury, who had the difficult task picking a shortlist of finalists. We are thrilled to now announce that these 10 startups have been selected to kick off the third batch at the Seattle Accelerator:

 Affinio Affinio provides actionable audience insights that let brands and agencies understand the silent social majority.
| @Affinio
 Agolo Agolo builds proprietary summarization technology for analysts, improving the accuracy of reporting by over 4x.
| @agolo
 Clarify Clarify allows developers to search and understand audio and video using a simple API.
| @clarifyio
 definedcrowd DefinedCrowd is a platform that provides big data for speech and NLP technology by combining crowdsourcing and machine learning.
| @DefinedCrowd
 knomos Knomos is a knowledge network leveraging data visualization for legal research, education and user collaboration.
| @theknomos
 medwhat MedWhat is an artificial intelligence doctor that answers medical questions, has personalized medical conversations with users about their health and wellness, provides medical reminders and follows up using health record and medical sensor | @medwhatyou
 onebridge OneBridge Solutions provides mission-critical enterprise cloud apps for pipeline companies using Microsoft Azure, big data and machine learning.
| @OneBridgeSln
 percolata Percolata optimizes retail labor through sensors and mobile and web applications.
| @percolata_com
 plexuss Plexuss is radically changing the way universities find and recruit students.
| @plexussupdates
 simmachines simMachines provides metric and non-metric nearest neighbor classifiers, recommendations, clustering and search with a new family of dense distance functions.
| @simmachines

You’ll have a chance to meet these startups in person at our Demo Day in June, but, until then, join us in congratulating our newest Accelerator class. For more information on the Accelerator program, including mentors, timelines and more, visit the Microsoft Seattle Accelerator page or follow us at @MSFTVentures.

ML Blog Team