Sydney-based data science startup Hyper Anna has raised $16 million in a Series A round led by Sequoia China, with participation from IAG Firemark Ventures and existing backers Airtree Ventures and Westpac-backed Reinventure.
Coming after the startup’s $1.25 million seed funding round last October, the fresh capital will go towards Hyper Anna’s global expansion.
With its sights set on the likes of Singapore, China, and the USA, the startup is already scheduled to open an office in Hong Kong next month.
Natalie Nguyen, cofounder and CEO of Hyper Anna, said businesses globally are struggling to find data scientists to get the insights they need, and Anna looks to be the solution.
“If you ask, ‘how are sales going?’ and I told you that you had sold 100 units, on its own, that information does not provide much insight into the performance of the business. The intention is to track sales against time, and just like a human, Anna picks up on those nuances. Intent is something that humans have a knack for intrinsically understanding, but something that machines have traditionally struggled with,” she said.
“The idea behind Anna is that all businesses, regardless of scope or size, deserve to have access to data scientists to drive value from the data they create and own. With a shortage of talent in the market, Hyper Anna allows customers to scale their data analysis requirements in a very efficient manner.”
Anna, whose early customers include Westpac and IAG, can be most simply explained as similar in a sense to Siri, allowing users to “ask plain English questions” about a facet of the business.
The tool can be used to review existing data collections and to provide predictive insights, and leverages machine learning to ensure that results improve with use.
Rather than working through an app, users can interact with Anna in one of three ways: by connecting a website’s analytics data directly and asking questions online, cc’ing Anna in on an email conversation, or interacting through the platform via text.
For example, a user can email their colleague to let them know about a sales performance meeting at 2pm and cc Anna in on that conversation. Anna can read from the email context and understand that the user will need information about the company’s sales performance and then email that information through.
As it expands, Nguyen said the startup will continue to focus its efforts on the financial services sector.
The investment is just the latest for Sequoia China into an Australian company this year, with the firm participating in a $17.3 million round for Melbourne forex startup Airwallex in May.
Steven Ji, partner at Sequoia China, will join the Hyper Anna board as part of the funding round.
Image: Sam Zheng, Kent Tian and Natalie Nguyen. Source: Supplied.