US-based cloud marketplace for algorithms Algorithmia has today announced raising US$2.4 million in seed funding led by Madrona Venture Group with participation from Rakuten Ventures, Deep Fork Capital and angel investors such as Oren Etzioni and Charles Fitzgerald.

This marks the first investment made by Rakuten Ventures since the Japan-based firm launched its US$100 million global fund in June 2014.

Founded by Diego M. Opennheimer and Kenneth Daniel, Algorithmia allows developers to create, share and build on other algorithms. It also aids discovery of algorithms with its own app store, and implementation through its universal API. Currently, the product is still in private beta, and is slated for launch in end-2014. Interested developers can request an invite on Algorithmia’s home page.

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“Most algorithms never see the light of day because they are trapped in academic papers. Algorithmia could become a key platform where algorithmic innovation meets the market,” said Oren Etzioni, entrepreneur and CEO of the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence.

Saemin Ahn, Managing Partner, Rakuten Ventures, also commented on the motivation behind investing in a company like Algorithmia. He said,

“We live in a world dominated by ‘smart things’ and ‘contextually curated relevant things’. Although these things may seem simple from a user’s perspective, all of them run on a series of complex algorithms. This is one of the verticals where we see Algorithmia as this generation’s version Unity Technologies.
For big data, being able to apply the right algorithms to a massive data set is core to producing the right output. Companies like Algorithmia have the potential to shorten this process and bring insights to market in a more effective manner. This allows creators to spend more time working on the core ideas and philosophies behind meaningful products, and less time worrying about stitching together scripts and codes.”

Furthermore, these algorithms can range from scouring the best food reviews to analysing DNA. By aggregating such information in one single library, businesses can better serve their customers’ needs with technology and data without much fuss.

Going forward, Tim Porter, Managing Director, Madrona Venture Group, will be joining Algorithmia’s board.