StageZero Raises $ 1.8 Million to Combine Mobile Gaming Rewards and AI Training Data

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StageZero has raised $ 1.8 million in funding to provide rewards for players participating in in-app tasks that generate valuable AI training data.

The funding will allow StageZero to expand its team, refine the effectiveness of its products, and continue to create tools to help companies ethically develop AI systems quickly and easily.

Until now, the data needed to train machine learning models so that they can understand certain contexts (for example, what a hard hat looks like) and solve problems has been elusive as companies face challenges. long delivery times. Despite these issues, according to Memory Leak, the market for AI training data will reach $ 5 billion by 2023, with the industry growing 31% year-over-year.

StageZero inserts “microtasks” into the application in mobile games. These are small activities that users can
complete in exchange for rewards and perks, including extra coins and lives. The tasks are similar but more engaging than the typical in-app ads found in free-to-play games.


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Denver-based Konvoy Ventures led the round, with participation from Turkish venture capital studio Ludus, blockchain firm Hyperamp and existing investors Into Ventures, Nordic Game Ventures, Alexis Bonte (COO of the Stillfront group), Andrew Sheppard (Managing Director of Transcend), and Wilhelm Taht (Senior Vice President of GSN.

StageZero has raised a total of $ 2.8 million since its inception in 2016. Jackson Vaughan, Managing Partner of Konvoy Ventures, has joined its board of directors.

Above: example of a micro-task integrated into the application.

Image Credit: StageZero

Typically, tasks will include “labeling” elements by drawing boxes around certain objects or providing simple audible translations, using their voices. Inputs from players generate both computer vision data (an AI technology that enables computers to understand and label images accurately.

Label images are useful for many uses such as driverless cars, retail inventory management, medical diagnostics, agriculture, and worker safety) and natural language processing data (NLP ) to train virtual assistants to speak different languages. Beyond mobile games, StageZero also works with e-learning platforms to access highly motivated award seekers.

Above: Thomas Forss, CEO of StageZero.

Image Credit: StageZero

StageZero’s data, which is otherwise difficult to collect and label, is not only more diverse (and therefore more viable), but also 100% compliant with data privacy laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation. data (GDPR) of the European Union. StageZero’s own benchmarks show it has higher accuracy
than the industry standard service, Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, and at one-third the cost.

“We are accelerating the AI ​​revolution, with our technology bringing value to the entire chain. With our technology, businesses can quickly learn AI, while gamers see their user experience improved, ”Thomas Forss, CEO of StageZero, said in a statement. “By harnessing the power of mobile gamers, a segment that continues to grow rapidly, we will drive rapid, yet ethical, technological advancements through data, and with this funding we are now poised to significantly expand our team and refine our product. “

“The data labeling market that StageZero is creating for game studios and data science teams offers a better experience for gamers, a potentially more lucrative new revenue stream for
mobile games and a scalable labeling solution for teams building machine learning models, ”Vaughan said in a statement. “We’re excited to support the Forss brothers and the rest of the StageZero team as they bring micro-tasks to players around the world. “

Brothers Thomas and Nicklas Forss started the Helsinki company in 2016 as a game development company, aiming to use AI in games. They realized that the AI ​​data needed to run algorithms is hard to find and expensive, and it was possible to solve the lack of AI data using gamers and app users, and started developing MicroTasks technology. They have a team of 11 people.


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Casey J. Nelson