Cloud-native platform company Graft has launched from stealth with a $4.5 million pre-seed round led by GV, to put modern AI within reach of every organization. NEA, Essence VC, Formulate Ventures and SV Angel also participated. Graft plans to use the money to continue growing the team, building the product and bringing it to market.

Graft helps remove typical AI barriers to entry: expertise, infrastructure and cost. Instead of cobbling together makeshift solutions over months or years, organizations can focus on activities that yield true, differentiating value, like investing in data and label quality. Everyone in the organization from business analysts to product managers can apply the resulting intelligence using powerful SQL extensions and straightforward production APIs.

Co-founder and CEO Adam Oliner wanted to do what modern AI companies were doing with technologies like pre-trained models and embeddings but there was no easy path. They had to build and integrate the key infrastructure mostly from scratch. Once it was in place, they were able to deploy substantially better search and recommendations throughout the product, while also unlocking a variety of other use cases.

Oliner went on to found Graft with Maria Kazandjieva (former director of engineering at Netflix), Eric Schkufza (former principal scientist at Amazon), Mick Hakobyan (distinguished tenures at Meta, Netflix and Microsoft), Irina Calciu (former senior researcher at VMware) and Brian Calvert (former machine learning platform technical lead at Cruise Automation) to make modern AI accessible to organizations at any stage of their AI journey.

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