August 20, 2019 / 4:44 PM / 2 months ago

Goldman Sachs, China's Ping An back artificial intelligence firm H20.ai

FILE PHOTO: A trader works inside the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange July 16, 2013. Goldman Sachs Group Inc said on Tuesday quarterly profit doubled, beating Wall Street estimates, boosted by returns from investing the bank's own money. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc, China’s Ping An Global Voyager Fund and others have invested $72.5 million in H20.ai, a rapidly growing artificial intelligence startup, the companies said on Tuesday.

Founded in 2012, California-based H20.ai is a software company that aims to make it easier for companies that lack the skilled workforce or time to adapt to the rapidly changing artificial intelligence landscape, Chief Executive and founder Sri Ambati said in an interview.

Customers like Capital One Financial Corp, Wells Fargo & Co, Aetna and Booking.com can use H20’s platform to automate model building, feature engineering and to pull valuable insights out of large amounts of the companies’ proprietary data, Ambati said.

H20 gives customers “recipes” to use that automate the entire process of building, training and deploying models, or it will help a company’s own employees to create their tailored models.

“Our mission is to make our customers AI companies ... and (to reduce) the barrier for new data scientists to produce great models,” Ambati said.

At a bank like Goldman Sachs, that may mean H20 works with traders in the fixed-income and equities groups to improve processes related to bond pricing.

“The results we’ve got with H2O are promising, (and) we are now looking at wider adoption of the AI models across the equity trading floor for market making,” Erdit Hoxha, Goldman’s head of European equity trading, said in a statement.

Goldman’s principal strategic investments group and Ping An led the series D fundraising round, with Wells Fargo, NVIDIA Corp and Nexus Venture Partners continuing their investments. This brings the total amount of money H20 has raised to $147 million.

The company plans to use the money to expand its sales and marketing teams globally and to further build out its suite of products, Ambati said.

Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Editing by Paul Simao

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