Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Monday, June 24, 2024

‘Social Good’ Startup Captricity Raises $35M to Expand Automation Platform 

While most enterprises we cover are focused on scaling their infrastructure and with it their growth, a small but growing number of "social good" enterprises are looking for ways to leverage information technology to solve less sexy but equally important problems. Some are even attracting investors.

A case in point is Captricity Inc., a startup that has come up with a cloud-based "data-as-a-service" platform that uses deep learning techniques to decipher hand-written forms that still tend to dominate in the healthcare and insurance sectors. Captricity, Oakland, Calif., said Tuesday (Jan. 19) it has raised an additional $35 million in venture capital in a Series C funding round led by White Mountains Insurance Group (NYSE: WTM).

The latest funding round brings Captricity's total venture funding to $49 million. Among the startup's early investors is Mitch Kapor, the spreadsheet pioneer and founder of Lotus.

Captricity's data platform targets the healthcare, insurance and government sectors by scanning often-complex handwritten forms and capturing relevant customer data. Accurate recording of patient and applicant data is required for highly regulated industries like insurance while meeting requirements under healthcare privacy laws like HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

The data platform is designed to eliminate inefficient manual data entry, and the startup claims its deep learning and machine intelligence approach delivers greater than 99.9 percent accuracy.

While Captricity is targeting insurers and government agencies, it also is eyeing non-profit organizations in developing countries coping with mountains of paperwork that must be converted to digital formats. Captricity's technology is based on founder Kuang Chen's doctoral research in Africa where he found a huge need to convert handwritten forms into readily accessible digital data. Chen commercialized his cloud-based platform in 2011 and has since attracted customers such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, New York Life and Xerox Healthcare (NYSE: XRX). As a "social good" startup, it has also worked with organizations like Innovations in Poverty Action, a non-profit that seeks to develop "high quality evidence" used to alleviate poverty by funneling scarce resources to where they will do the most good. (You can donate here.)

Hence, Captricity appears to have convinced well-heeled angel investors and a large financial services holding company (White Mountains) that it can scale up its technology via large customers like insurance companies and big federal agencies while at the same time applying its technology to make a better world.

CEO Chen stressed in a statement that the latest funding round would be used to "democratize customer data access for…highly regulated customers, both commercial and non-profit…." A White Mountains executive will join Captricity's board.

The startup describes its cloud software platform as leveraging "crowd-guided deep learning technology" that extracts data from paper documents, scans, faxes, emails, call centers and online forms. It then uses analytics on the backend to automate the data entry process.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).