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AI startup Flower Labs, Attained a Valuation of $100 Million in its Latest Funding Round

Flower Labs, a startup pioneering open-source software facilitating AI model training without centralized data pooling, has secured a valuation of $100 million in its latest funding round.

Led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Felicis Ventures, the $20 million investment underscores Flower’s advancement in enabling federated learning, a method allowing AI models to be trained without consolidating all training data in a central server. This approach enhances data privacy and security, making federated learning increasingly appealing to industries such as healthcare, finance, and defense.

The company’s co-founders, Daniel Beutel, Taner Topal, and Nicholas Lane, initially collaborated at the University of Cambridge. Lane, a machine learning professor and former director of Samsung’s AI lab in Cambridge, joined forces with Beutel, pursuing a PhD, and Topal, a visiting researcher with industry experience. Together, they developed the Flower framework for federated learning as a research endeavor in 2020, maintaining it as an open-source academic project for two years.

However, as the framework garnered traction among prominent corporations and government entities, the trio opted to establish Flower Labs in March 2023. Dedicated to maintaining the platform and developing and marketing developer tools, Flower Labs aims to simplify the deployment of Flower for federated learning.

The Flower framework has already been utilized in over 1,100 projects, as acknowledged by the Flower Labs team. Additionally, there are 3,100 developers engaged in discussions on a Slack channel established by the startup for those interested in leveraging the framework for federated learning projects. Among the notable companies utilizing Flower are Accenture, Orange, and the healthcare division of Siemens.

Beutel disclosed that Flower intends to utilize the new venture capital to raise awareness of federated learning, expand the developer base using Flower, and increase its workforce. Currently, the startup employs a modest team of 13 individuals scattered across Europe, with some based in Cambridge, others in Germany, and a few elsewhere on the continent.

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