Hazy, the data anonymisation software developer formerly known as Anon AI, has won M12’s Innovate AI award, receiving a $1million investment from M12 in partnership with Notion.
Innovate AI is a global competition launched by M12, formerly Microsoft Ventures, to recognise and award capital to high-potential AI and machine learning start-ups. Ten finalists each in North America, Europe and Israel competed in a live pitch-off where their ideas were evaluated by a panel of experts from Microsoft and a local venture capital manager.
The investment awarded to Hazy adds to the £340,000 pre-seed funding it raised from a round led by the UCL Technology Fund, managed by collaboration between UCLB and Albion Capital, in January 2018. The combined investments enable Hazy to enhance its prototype model and build a ‘best in class’ developer tool.
Hazy, winner in the European category, automates data anonymisation to allow developers and data scientists to share data more securely. The protection of personal data is a big concern for companies; with GDPR coming into force this month, the need to maintain data security has never been higher on European corporate agendas.
M12 has invested in more than 50 startups since launch in 2016 including AI innovators like Agolo, Bonsai, Crowdflower and Livongo. It has also formed an AI fund to support startups focused on inclusive growth and a positive impact on society. Criteria assessed in the competition included:
- Problem addressed
Market size and growth potential
Performance and traction with customers
Ability of founding team to execute
Harry Keen, CEO, Hazy, says: “This award is both an excellent achievement and an immense boost, which provides a platform to drive our growth strategy. A $1 million investment is transformational for our company and will enable us to further improve our developer tools and engage with a greater range of clients and prospects. Competition was extremely tough and we are grateful that Microsoft has recognised the potential of our software.”
“Security is a top-line priority for Microsoft,” said Nagraj Kashyap, corporate vice president, global head of M12. “Hazy’s ability to anonymize data in order to ensure platform users and the data they share is more secure is paramount to safeguarding user privacy. We look forward to watching this talented team grow.”
In addition to the $1 million investment, Hazy has been awarded $500,000 USD in Microsoft Azure credits for three years. For more information on the award please read Harry's blog https://hazy-ai.com/blog/2018/05/01/microsoft-innovate-ai-prize