Figure Eight to be acquired by Appen in $300mn deal

Appen to acquire Figure Eight Technologies

Appen to acquire Figure Eight Technologies

Appen is launching a $300 million capital raising to fund the acquisition of Figure Eight, raising $285 million through a fully underwritten placement at $21.5 a share and $15 million through a non-underwritten share purchase plan.

Tech firm Appen has recently announced that the company has acquired Figure Eight, a machine intelligence firm, in an all-cash deal which would see Appen pay an upfront amount of $175 million.

If the acquisition goes ahead, Appen will benefit from Figure Eight's approximately 200 customers and engineering and data science teams to accelerate Appen's technical capabilities and offerings.

"The union of Appen and Figure Eight creates a unique, exciting and powerful opportunity for our customers", Appen CEO Mark Brayan told shareholders.

Figure Eight is a best in class machine learning software platform which will materially increase the quality of Appen's revenues and the breadth of its customer base via high growth, high-gross margin recurring revenue from annual platform subscription fees. "We now have the best of both worlds: our highly efficient cloud management platform and scalable, skillful multilingual crowd, combined with Figure Eight's innovative customer facing SaaS platform with ML-assisted annotation".

Post this year, Appen's future success will need the contribution of Figure Eight's robust technology and seasoned experts.

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Co-Founder of Figure Eight, Lukas Biewald, stated that this move was the genuine validation of everything the company had achieved. "Combined, we expect to meet and exceed our customers' scale, speed and quality requirements". "This transaction is a genuine validation of everything we've achieved and a great platform for our teams to combine and continue to do fantastic things in AI".

Appen is being advised by Atlas Technology Group of San Francisco.

Appen's main game is essentially data grooming and annotation from multiple sources including speech, text and video across multiple languages.

The selling point of Figure Eight's capability is what it calls "human-in-the-loop" machine learning that allows it to pump ML data to the likes of chatbots, search and autonomous vehicles.

The company partners with technology, automotive and eCommerce companies - as well as governments worldwide - to develop, enhance and use products that rely on natural languages and machine learning.

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