Data annotation company Appen was seeking to expand its operations and it found that the San Francisco-based Figure Eight was a perfect fit. Appen will pay $175 million in cash immediately for Figure 8 with another $125 million forthcoming if Figure Eight meets certain performance targets.

Anthony Ha reported on the Figure Eight acquisition for TechCrunch:

Both companies focus on using crowdsourced labor pools to annotate data, which in turn is used to train artificial intelligence and machine learning — for example, Figure Eight (formerly known as CrowdFlower and Dolores Labs) says its technology has been for everything from mapping to stock photography to scanning receipts for expense reports.

Appen, meanwhile, is a publicly-traded company headquartered in Sydney. CEO Mark Brayan described its technology — and its “crowd” of more than 1 million remote workers — as “highly complementary” to Figure Eight, which he praised for its data annotation and self-serve capabilities.

“We know that to compete and to be able to deliver even higher volumes, we need a richer set of technologies,” Brayan said. “That’s where Figure Eight comes in. They are, in our view, the leader in the market of the platform providers.” As for what this means for the Figure Eight team, he said, “Everybody stays in place,” and that Appen plans to continue investing in the product.


“The Figure Eight acquisition is the next step of our evolution,” he said. “Step one was to get bigger, step two is to become much more tech forward, which is what we get with Figure Eight.”

San Francisco-based Figure Eight has raised a total of $58 million in funding, according to Crunchbase, from investors including Trinity Ventures, Industry Ventures, Canvas Ventures and Salesforce Ventures. As CrowdFlower, it launched on-stage at the TechCrunch50 conference nearly a decade ago.