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Roboflow raises $20 million Series A to continue democratizing computer vision

Des Moines computer vision company Roboflow announced today that it has raised a $20 million Series A led by Craft Ventures. Additional investors named include Lachy Groom, Jack Altman, DJ Patil, Max and Sam Altman, Cassidy Williams, Harry Hurst, Greg Brockman and Mike Maples.

“Computer vision is one of those foundational technologies that – like the personal computer and smartphone – will transform every industry,” wrote Roboflow CEO Joseph Nelson in a blog post announcing the raise. “Software is limited by its ability to receive structured information from the world as input, and that structure is traditionally interpreted from the environment via a human brain. Computer vision enables software to directly interface with every part of the world around us, unleashing a Cambrian explosion of new possibilities. It’s helping us merge the physical and digital worlds. That’s why computer vision needs to be a part of every developer’s toolkit, not reserved for a few teams of machine learning experts.”

The Series A round comes less than a year after Roboflow raised a $2.1 million seed round in January.

Just last month, the company launched “Roboflow Universe” a community hub that allows anyone to share their computer vision datasets and pre-trained models with the world. Roboflow Universe was featured as the no. 1 product of the day last week on ProductHunt.

To date, more than 50,000 developers have used the service, with use cases ranging from protecting endangered species to accelerating microbiology research to cleaning the world’s oceans.

“We first met Joseph and Brad when they were participating in YC. After using the product, we could see that Roboflow had created a tool that enables any developer — not just ones with machine learning expertise — to harness the power of computer vision,” wrote David Sacks in a post titled, Why We Invested in Roboflow. “Their thesis, that machine learning can be transformative in almost any industry, has been proven out over the last year, as they now work with customers across diverse industries with myriad use cases.”

David Sacks will be joining Roboflow’s Board of Directors along with Arra Malekzadeh.

The company is actively hiring and currently has seven positions listed on its careers page including open positions for Machine Learning Engineer and Head of Marketing.

Previous coverage

Roboflow launches “Roboflow Universe,” a community hub for computer vision projects -Aug. 12, 2021

Roboflow raises $2.1 million seed round -Jan. 12, 2021

Roboflow accepted into Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 Batch -Aug. 25, 2020

Roboflow is streamlining the development of computer vision apps -Jan. 23, 2020

Roboflow raises $20 million Series A to continue democratizing computer vision | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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