Primer Adds $40M to Expand Team, Language Capabilities and Enter New Verticals

Sean GourleyPosted by Sean Gourley

Our mission at Primer is to accelerate human understanding of the world. Over the past year we’ve made important progress towards this goal. We expanded the team to 60 people and deployed our software into some of the largest companies and government organizations in the world. We added customers in eight countries and deepened our work with many of the leading companies in the financial sector. On the technical side we continued to make breakthroughs in our core technology areas of natural language understanding and generation. We also added Russian and Chinese language analysis capabilities to the software.

To further our mission and expand capabilities into new languages and sectors, we secured $40M in Series B capital. The round is led by Lux Capital with participation from Bill Maris’ Section 32 and Mubadala Ventures, the venture capital arm of Mubadala Investment Company. All of our existing investors participated in the round as well, including DCVC, Amplify, Avalon, AME, Bloomberg Beta, Crosslink and In-Q-Tel. Lux’s Zavain Dar joins our board, bringing deep expertise in the technical elements of artificial intelligence and unique insights on the commercialization of AI.

Primer’s impact to date

Today, financial institutions use Primer to make sense of volumes of data, from analyzing quarterly filings to summarizing sell side analyst reports to automating risk and compliance processes. Primer’s software allows analysts to quickly summarize data and surface key insights. An example is the most recent 10K filing from Facebook. Primer's software read through the 88 page document and in seconds was able to automatically generate a one page summary for analysts to read. As part of this summary, Primer’s technology pieces together information from multiple Facebook documents to infer that the number of reported fraudulent accounts had increased by up to 4x on the previous year. While Facebook had reported the raw data in its 10K filing, the significance in the percentage increase was initially missed by the media.

Analysts at government agencies can use Primer to automatically generate daily briefings on critical global developments across the world, yielding a deep understanding of events and expediting decision making. To give you a sense of Primer’s capabilities, when the attack on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard happened on September 22nd, Primer was able to automatically analyze the events as they unfolded, connect them together, and compare this chain of events with all similar sequences of events that have been observed in the past four years. This technology allows analysts to quickly understand the aftermath of similar attacks that have occurred in the past and gives them the tools to make better predictions as to what the next 30 days following the attack will look like.

On the commercial side, national retailers are using Primer to scour trend reports, sales data and social media to stay on top of emerging trends to inform purchasing decisions. And they can do this in multiple languages including Chinese, which is important in the retail sector.

We’ve also been able to turn Primer’s technology towards building self-writing knowledge bases. We’re helping to close the information gap on Wikipedia by using deep learning models to generate Wikipedia-style pages for thousands of scientists. We’re starting with scientists but have the capability to expand to all kinds of entities. We believe that super-powering humans to keep the world's repository of information accurate, complete and up-to-date is critical to helping people understand and make sense of the world around them.

What’s next

Although we’ve come a long way in the past 12 months, there’s more we want to do. The additional capital will allow us to rapidly expand our language capabilities and significantly grow our engineering and sales teams. As part of this growth we will also be expanding our footprint in Washington, D.C. and New York to deepen our relationships with our government and financial customers.

We will also push forward in the coming year with expansion into the legal and pharmaceutical verticals. Pharmaceutical companies are already using Primer to understand massive repositories of research that could lead to the improvement of medicine. In the legal sector, we’re applying our technology to important problems in document discovery and compliance. These new verticals represent significant opportunities for our language processing and generation technologies.

I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished so far. But I’m most excited about what’s ahead. We’re in the early days of realizing the power of augmenting human intelligence with artificial intelligence, and the additional capital will help us reach the future we know is possible even faster.