Today, I’m excited to announce that Pryon closed a $100 million Series B investment round led by Thomas Tull’s US Innovative Technology Fund (USIT). I wanted to share more about this milestone and how it supports our task and purpose. Luckily, I get to do this in writing versus a long-winded speech at the Oscars!
Firstly, I want to thank the USIT team for their vote of confidence and for the Breyer Capital team who introduced us. Breyer and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund co-led our Series A in 2019 together with Digital Alpha Advisors and Greycroft. Beyond them, we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the years of support conferred to us since inception by BootstrapLabs, Carolina Angel Network, Engage Ventures, Gaingels, Good Growth Capital, Micron Ventures, Piedmont Capital Partners, Rex Health Ventures, Steel Perlot, Two Sigma Ventures, and a myriad of others. It certainly wasn’t a sure thing when they joined our cap table, yet they were able to see what we saw with conviction that entire industries would be disrupted by artificial intelligence (AI).
USIT’s dual-use mission backs ventures like Pryon that serve both commercial and public sectors. They recognize our technology as an essential element of a global-spanning digital supply chain that supports critical infrastructure, something that the pandemic laid bare. It’s become clear that what we’ve been working towards will become a mandatory part of the enterprise software stack well before the end of this decade. At the risk of sounding too folksy, it’s truly a blessing to be working with all involved since we align on multiple levels. Our backers called this market early and cannot be described as fair-weather friends, since they first invested prior to generative AI (GAI) hitting the mainstream.
Pioneering AI for the future of work
In 2007, at the inaugural TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, an event lampooned on HBO’s comedy Silicon Valley, I pulled a flip phone out of my jacket pocket and spoke into it, my words being transcribed by the world’s first ever cloud-based speech recognition (ASR) engine. A second later, a response was uttered out loud via the world’s first cloud-based text to speech (TTS) engine. And… crickets. Nobody knew what the heck I was showing them. What I was not allowed to reveal at the time is that we were secretly working with Apple on a prototype of Siri, years before an iPhone that could support that capability even existed. Five years later, my previous venture, Yap, was acquired by Amazon as their first ever AI-related M&A. There, it would form the nucleus of Alexa and the race was on to permeate AI into our personal lives. We were ahead of our time, as our engine had an implementation of neural networks before the famed research papers that came out in succeeding years.
I then started thinking about how AI would eventually come to our workplaces. Yet, by 2017, I remained surprised by how underdeveloped it still was in intensive enterprise environments, especially given more recent and significant discoveries in transformers-based architectures. It was clear from our backgrounds that the experience of asking a question and getting an instantaneous answer was groundbreaking in the consumer world. However, this capability was missing in academic, corporate, government, and nonprofit environments. So, I recruited key practitioners in our field and adjacent fields out of Big Tech and rounded up the team to catch our own football, since many of us were behind these incarnations you already used at home.
We established Pryon to solve a persistent but surmountable problem impacting enterprises across every industry. We call it knowledge friction: the disconnect between buried, high-value content and the people who need to get accurate information quickly to deliver precise work. This challenge was exacerbated by the cloud and mobile revolutions, which enabled an explosion of content that, paradoxically, made information harder for people to find and use. Our team saw an opportunity to create an AI-powered knowledge management solution capable of ingesting then traversing the vast quantity of content available and distilling it down to the sugar packets of information individuals need to make informed decisions.
We established Pryon to solve a problem impacting enterprises across every industry: knowledge friction — the disconnect between buried, high-value content and the people who need to get accurate information quickly.
Pryon weaves a knowledge fabric that unlocks insights for workers across industries
We created a first-of-its-kind knowledge fabric that weaves together the majority of an organization’s content to extract valuable intelligence and know-how. Pryon unlocks previously impossible-to-find known and tribal knowledge, enabling users to glean precious pearls of wisdom from their unstructured multimodal data. In doing so, we deliver our clients a decision advantage through authoritative, reliable, and verifiable answers.
I’m immensely proud that Pryon is deployed today by Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to reimagine the future of work. You can say that we’re trusted by brands that know better. Unlike consumer-first generative tools, Pryon’s SOC 2-compliant platform was purpose-built for the enterprise. Our novel approach to model building includes computer vision (CV), large language models (LLMs), and proprietary connectors that ensure our platform remains grounded on our four pillars of enterprise AI: accuracy, scalability, security, and speed.
But we don’t stop there. Responsible AI (RAI) is not just an afterthought or a buzzword to us. It’s a commitment that we take very seriously and embedded in our DNA. Because it’s an extrapolation of our last venture, where many of our design decisions were made to ensure personal information like contacts, phone calls, and texts were never revealed — almost a decade before anyone ever talked about ethical AIs.
In the Pryon platform, RAI is represented through four key initiatives:
- Respecting authorship
- Energy efficiency
- Privacy and security
- Ethical sourcing of training data
You can learn more about Pryon’s commitments to RAI in our upcoming webinar series.
Our Series B backing fuels Pryon’s growth and innovation
As a pioneer in developing enterprise-grade AI solutions, Pryon remains at the tip of the spear because our team is used to operating there. We are inventing technologies that others will name years later as it’s always been. We’re using the resources from our Series B round to support two key developments for Pryon’s continued leadership of AI-enhanced knowledge management: growth and innovation.
We’ll cover more about these exciting initiatives in Part Two of this letter. Or, you can register for our Just Know Now webinar series to be the first to hear about it.
A final note of thanks
I remember reading Isaac Asimov’s iconic science fiction masterpiece Foundation as a teenager. It inspired me to dream of a world where math could predict the future to prevent catastrophes. We’re on the cusp of having technologies that will allow us to better the world in all our respective disciplines by increasing the magnitude of consumable knowledge. It is in this spirit that we established this venture and now project Pryon into the future.
I want to give special thanks to David Nahamoo, our Chief Scientist, and Chris Mahl, our President and COO. I met David during my days at IBM and still find it surreal that I get to work with an intellect of his caliber. We don’t get to this stage without the top-flight R&D talent that he was able to recruit. Chris represents the other side of the equation as a luminary in commercialization. Given his previous leadership experiences at brands such as Informatica, Oracle, and Salesforce, we’re able to develop a full-spectrum team that deploys AI in a way that’s relevant to organizations, by priority staging outcomes that matter to them.
Thank you to our clients, investors, and partners for their continued and growing confidence in us. Not a day goes by when we’re not thinking about your future needs and wants since we recognize your importance to safeguarding and supporting our communities.
Finally, I’m incredibly grateful to our team of hard-working Pryoneers for all their tireless efforts in reaching this milestone, and I am inspired about where we’re going next. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming days, weeks, and months.
To learn more about our Series B funding round, read the press release.
Discover how you can eliminate knowledge friction with Pryon. Register for the webinar today.