Originally written by Mike Butcher and published on TechCrunch on 9 September 2019 at https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/09/adarga-closes-5m-series-a-funding-for-its-palantir-like-ai-platform/
AI startup Adarga has closed a £5 million Series A fundraising by Allectus Capital. But this news rather cloaks the fact that it has been building up a head of steam since its founding in 2016, building up what they say is a £30 million-plus sales pipeline through strategic collaborations with a number of global industrial partners and gradually building its management team.
The proceeds will be used to continue the expansion of Adarga’s data science and software engineering teams and to roll out internationally.
Adarga, which comes from the word for an old Moorish shield, is a London and Bristol-based startup. It uses AI to change the way financial institutions, intelligence agencies and defence companies tackle problems, helping crunch vast amounts of data to identify possible threats even before they occur. The startup’s proposition sounds similar to that of Palantir, which is known for working with the U.S. military.
What Adarga does is allow organizations to transform normally data-intensive, human knowledge processes by analyzing vast volumes of data more quickly and accurately. Adarga clients can build up a “Knowledge Graph” about subjects and targets.
The U.K. government is a client as well as the finance sector, where it’s used for financial analysis and by insurance companies. Founded in 2016, it now has 26 employees — including data scientists from some of the U.K.’s top universities.
The company has received support from Benevolent AI, one of the key players in the U.K. AI tech scene. Benevolent AI, which is worth $2 billion after a $115 million funding round, is a minority shareholder in Adarga. It has not provided financial backing, but rather support in kind and technical help.
Rob Bassett Cross, CEO of Adarga, commented: “With the completion of this round, Adarga is focused on consolidating its competitive position in the U.K. defence and security sector. We are positioning ourselves as the software platform of choice for organisations who cannot deal effectively with the scale and complexity of their enterprise data and are actively seeking an alternative to knowledge intensive human processes. Built by experienced sector specialists, the Company has rapidly progressed a real solution to address the challenges of an ever-growing volume of unstructured data.”
Bassett Cross is an interesting guy, to say the least. You won’t find much about him on LinkedIn, but in previous interviews, he has revealed that he is a former army officer and special operations expert who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded the military cross.
The company recently held a new annual event, the Adarga AI Symposium, at the The Royal Institution, London, which featured futurist Mark Stevenson, Ranju Das of Amazon Web Services and General Stanley A. McChrystal.
Matthew Gould, head of Emerging Technology at Allectus Capital, said: “Adarga has developed a world-class analytics platform to support real-time critical decisioning by public sector and defence stakeholders. What Rob and the team have built in a short time is a hugely exciting example of the founder-led, disruptive businesses that we like to partner with – especially in an ever-increasing global threat landscape.”
Allectus Capital is based in Bermuda and invests across Asia-Pacific, the U.K. and the U.S. It has previously invested in Cluey Learning (Series A, AUS$20 million), Everproof, Switch Automation and Automio.