We Raised Seed Financing from Andreessen Horowitz

Scott Clark
All Model Types, SigOpt 101

When we created SigOpt, our mission was simple: optimize everything.

What do we mean by that?

Everything – such as a new product, service or website – should be designed to reach its maximum potential, whatever that may be. That might be the most stable, cost-effective shaving cream formula or maybe the website design most inclined to help a customer make a purchase. But the process for reaching that fully optimized potential is difficult. Too many organizations pay very smart, highly compensated individuals to effectively “turn knobs” for the last 20 percent or more of the process to bring something to life. Their time would be better spent elsewhere. Other organizations don’t have the resources to optimize their products to the fullest potential.

I experienced the need for something like SigOpt while studying applied mathematics at Cornell and performing bioinformatics research. Too often, researchers wasted dozens of hours tweaking their work in search of better models and algorithms. For companies, this inefficiency comes at a significant cost in terms of both time and resources.

Our vision is for SigOpt to eliminate that kind of manual testing, and today, we’ve come a step closer. We’re thrilled to announce we’ve raised more than $2 million in seed funding, led by Andreessen Horowitz and Data Collective. We’ll use the funds to grow our operations and open a new office in San Francisco.

“Organizations ranging from consumer product companies to pharmaceuticals to academic institutions waste tens to hundreds of hours, at significant cost, fine-tuning tests and experiments via trial and error for every product,” said Peter Levine, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. “The process is costly and inefficient. The promise of SigOpt is that users will be able to quickly optimize their projects with better results and then get back to what they should be doing.”

I continued to build out the technology that would become SigOpt while working at Yelp to boost the company’s digital advertising – with these tools, we efficiently tuned various aspects of the advertising system.

Here are some of the exciting ways SigOpt is already in use:

  • A/B Testing – SigOpt integrates seamlessly with Optimizely to make A/B testing even more effective and efficient. Anyone can easily import tests from Optimizely, and SigOpt can optimize existing traffic while finding the most promising new tests to run.
  • Consumer Packaged Goods – Using SigOpt, Afterglow, a hair care development company, can optimize testing of new formulas for its products, to improve stability and reduce cost.
  • Machine Learning – OptimoRoute is a multi-stop route and schedule planner for delivery and field services that is using SigOpt to leverage machine learning more intelligently by suggesting new variations for its routing algorithms. This saves months of engineering time so OptimoRoute’s team can focus on more important problems.
  • Synthetic Biology – Pembient, which manufactures synthetic versions of sought-after biological materials like rhino horns and elephant tusks, is optimizing its experiments with SigOpt to reach ideal formulas more quickly.

“Even disciplined Fortune 500 product-centric companies struggle to find the perfectly optimized version of what they need to sell, or give up part-way when costs and delays become too painful,” said Matt Ocko, a Managing Partner at Data Collective. “For smaller companies, it’s an even more dire situation. SigOpt’s flexible software platform makes it possible for everyone from startups to giant corporations to painlessly use data from their existing processes, in an elegant UX, to massively optimize their products or services.”

We are incredibly honored to be working with the great minds at Andreessen Horowitz and Data Collective on our next chapter. As we say at SigOpt: stay tuned!

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Scott Clark, Ph. D.
Scott Clark Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

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