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Telstra Leads Multi-Million Dollar AI Investment

Telstra’s independent venture capital arm has shown its intention to expand into the artificial intelligence data market following a $US100m (145m AUD) capital raising for San Francisco company Trifacta.

Trifacta employs machine-learning technology to deduce a greater depth of insights from the increasing level of data migrating to cloud-based storage.

Australia’s largest venture capital fund, Telstra Ventures Fund No 2, led the investment, joined in the round by the likes of Energy Impact Partners, NTT Docomo, BMW Ventures and ABN AMRO.

Telstra Venture joins a long and credible list of existing investors from Accel Partners, Greylock Partners, Ignition Partners and Google.

“The share register for Trifacta is very impressive. It is great to have so many experienced and impressive co-investors in this deal. That is a really massive plus for us,” Mr Koertge said.

Telstra sold a portion of its ventures arm to HarbourVest for more than $75m to assist in structuring complex transactions, including Ventures separation from Telstra last year.

Source: The Australian

Speaking to the Australian, Telstra Ventures managing director Matthew Koertge said, “we want to work with some of Telstra’s customers that have a need for the Trifacta revolution. We have already had some discussions with customers who have some interest”.

However, Mr Koertge revealed Trifacta might not be the only asset investment on the bill, saying there are other companies in the data space that Telstra Venture thinks are ‘particularly interesting’.

Telstra sees Trifacta as a critical driver for enabling multiple lines of business to reduce the time and cost in refining raw data.

Data quality is a critical reason for investment in AI machine learning, according to Trifacta CEO Adam Wilson.

“It’s this meteoric growth that is causing barriers to success as AI projects overwhelmingly face the same problem — data quality,” said Mr Wilson.

Since establishing in 2011, Telstra Venture’s invested more than $400m in 62 companies, spread across a range of sectors from cybersecurity to drones.

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