Jun 17, 2020 - Technology

A venture capital firm's AI platform is behind $100 million of its investments

A robot holding a bag of cash

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A proprietary machine-learning platform has driven more than $100 million in portfolio-company investments for the venture capital firm EQT Ventures, according to numbers first seen by Axios.

Why it matters: EQT Venture's home-brewed Motherbrain platform represents a notable effort to adapt machine learning to the failure-prone process of picking and choosing early-stage tech investments.

How it works: Motherbrain monitors over 10 million companies and takes data from dozens of structured and unstructured sources to identify patterns that may be useful as EQT Ventures searches for possible investments.

  • Part of Motherbrain's appeal is that it can locate companies for potential investments directly through data anywhere in the world, rather than relying on investor connections or geography.
  • "Motherbrain is part of our quest to do everything we do in a smarter way," says Henrik Landgren, an operating partner at EQT Ventures who leads the product work on Motherbrain.

Among the companies discovered with Motherbrain's help is Standard Cognition, which develops AI-powered autonomous checkout technology.

  • "[EQT Ventures] told us that 'Motherbrain informed us we had to talk to you,'" says Michael Suswal, co-founder and COO of Standard Cognition. "I felt flattered and it made me more interested in the firm. We probably wouldn't have connected with them if it wasn't for Motherbrain."

The bottom line: We often think of automation as outright replacing human jobs, but the Motherbrain platform is an example of another trend: augmenting how humans work.

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