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Scale AI Nabs $250M Deal to AI-ready the US Defense Department

The San-Francisco-based firm already working with Air Force

Data labeling startup Scale AI has secured a $250 million Blanket Purchase Agreement with the Department of Defense (DOD).

The deal would have federal agencies use Scale’s AI platforms to “solve their most critical AI challenges.”

Becoming the Defense Department’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center (JAIC) AI readiness partner, Scale will be tasked with developing test and evaluation capabilities for machine learning, deep learning and neural networks.

Use cases the Defense Department identified as critical to work on include autonomous systems, humans augmented by machines and natural language processing-enabled products and services.

“AI is not a one-and-done technology, and we’re thrilled to see the JAIC embrace the continuous approach to test and evaluation that Scale was founded on,” said Alexandr Wang, CEO and founder of Scale.

“By adopting this framework, the government’s AI programs will be more resilient, responsible and equitable, ensuring that U.S. investments in AI lead to successful deployments of new, impactful technologies.”

The company already is working with the U.S. Air Force. Additional customers include Samsung, PayPal, General Motors and Toyota.

The San Francisco-based firm raised $325 million in series E last year, bringing its total capital raised since 2016 to more than $600 million.

Scale AI also announced that former Amazon consumer executive, Jeff Wilke, was joining as a special adviser to the CEO.

Wilke was tipped to succeed former CEO Jeff Bezos, only to be pipped to the post by AWS chief Andy Jassy.

Wilke announced his retirement in August 2020, having been at the company since 1999. The newly appointed adviser is an active investor in startups, having a share in Pacaso, SparkToro and Convoy, among others.

And another big name in tech, Eric Schmidt the former CEO of Google, spoke with Scale’s Wang at the company’s TransformX event in December. The pair discussed how AI will shape the world’s future and the ongoing AI race between the U.S. and China.

The former Google chief made comments on the latter topic last year, saying the U.S. should align itself with Japan and South Korea when it comes to AI.

Linking back to its defense work, Scale boasts several former DoD officials in its ranks.

Former White House CTO Michael Kratsios joined last May, becoming the startup’s managing director.

Written by Ben Wodecki and republished with permission from AI Business.



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