CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Locu, the data-focused startup launched from Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s lab at MIT just announced a $4 Million Series A round of venture capital led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from Chris Sacca’s Lowercase Capital, Lightbank and SV Angel. Locu’s existing angel investors, including Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi of AngelPool, Quotidian Ventures, and Matt Ocko of Data Collective, also participated in the round.
Locu’s mission is to structure the world’s information. The company is particularly focused on large, distributed, and complex data sets that previously could only be tackled with costly and hard-to-scale manual labor.
“We started Locu to harness the sea of unstructured information that is all around us,” said Rene Reinsberg, Locu’s CEO. “Giving people and companies an easy way to tap into it, will change the way we live and work by adding a new level of intelligence to the applications we use every day.”
Locu’s patent-pending approach features an elastic hierarchy of crowd workers and advanced machine learning, developed by a 10-person engineering team composed of MIT computer science researchers who have worked on data-related projects at companies including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Bloomberg and ITA Software. While virtual work marketplaces like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk are geared towards micro tasks, Locu has built infrastructure to train and manage crowd workers to generate more complex structured data sets at scale.
“The next generation of web and mobile applications requires rich data sets that can only be generated with sophisticated machine learning techniques,” said Larry Bohn, partner at General Catalyst who will be joining Locu’s board. “Locu’s proven technology combined with an innovative human computation approach has shown dramatic results for leading application providers.”
Concentrating first on the local data space, Locu spent the last year creating the world’s largest real-time, structured repository of small business offerings data. The company has already processed hundreds of thousands of semantically annotated merchant pricelists, such as restaurant menus, and has been licensing its data to big web players and small developers that want to tap into more relevant local data. While the majority of its data is currently for the US, Locu also has data for the UK, Canada and is adding other international markets.
With the proceeds from this funding, Locu is planning to scale its team, technology and customer base.
Locu is a venture-backed technology company with offices in Cambridge, MA and San Francisco, CA. Locu’s mission is to structure the world’s information; the company is building technologies to efficiently digitize real-world content, through a novel combination of document analysis, machine learning and online human computation workflows.