Olin College startup indico announced $3 million in initial funding as part of Boston’s Techstars annual Demo Day. The event, held at the House of Blues, featured 12 groups of entrepreneurs who participated in the three-month Techstars Boston accelerator program.
Olin College student and induce Chief Technology Officer, Madison May, stated, “We’re incredibly excited to have the support of General Catalyst, .406 Ventures, Two Sigma, Boston Seed, and many angel investors. This round of funding will provide us with the time and resources we need to turn our vision into a reality, and will enable us to continue growing the indico team. In addition, we know that the support of our investors is not solely monetary. We’re working with firms that we respect and trust, and their wisdom and expertise is perhaps even more valuable than their financial support. Our investors are first and foremost friends and mentors.”
The idea for indico was hatched in an Olin College dorm room by Slater Victoroff and Alec Radford. The startup now includes Aidan McLaughlin, Madison May and Ezra Varady, all from Olin, as well as two Babson College students Diana Yuan and Gary Jiang. According to its website, “indico is building text and image APIs that help developers build smarter software with machine learning.”
Slater Victoroff, one of indico’s founders, describes what he does this way, “Machine learning is the art and science of teaching computers to perform tasks which we used to think only people could do.” For example, machine learning makes it possible for website users to receive personalized recommendations based on prior purchases. Think Siri turning speech into text. Or Netflix suggesting you watch Homeland if you liked the television series, 24. Or Google’s predictor search.
Indico has implications for a wide variety of spheres. In fact, the field of machine learning is quickly becoming crowded as it is becoming the Internet’s next big phenomenon. But what makes indico different is its desire to put big data into smaller hands. “At indico we believe that data science shouldn’t be an esoteric field dominated by large corporations,” notes the company website. “Our APIs put the power of deep learning algorithms in the hands of any developer, free of charge.”
Invited to participate in the Techstars accelerator program in August, indico has been gearing up for demo day ever since. A busload of Olin students departed from campus early in the morning to head to the House of Blues to support their fellow students. “So many of the practical skills Olin teaches have come in handy at indico, and it’s great to see the continued support of the Olin network,” said May.
Indico joins several other successful Olin startups. Technical Machine, received more than $1 million in seed capital less than three months after going public on the crowdfunding site Dragon. The company, now based in San Francisco was also started on Olin’s Needham campus. Lilypad Scales, started by two Olin graduates Amos Meeks and Molly Farison won the undergraduate division of the Babson College B.E.T.A challenge. The competition offers the winners a cash prize of $20,000 and “services in kind” donations from corporate sponsors.
So, what’s next for indico? According to May, Demo Day may mark the end of TechStars, but it’s only the beginning of indico’s journey to bring data science to everyday software.
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