Appen: Deploying world-class AI remotely

Almost all companies in 2020 are toying with the idea of remote work for a significant time or forever. To help on that journey, we present the top 10 global companies who have aced remote work. To learn more about:

  1. What is remote work?
  2. Twimbit’s e-tact framework
  3. Our selection criteria

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#1

Twimbit’s top 10 global companies to ace remote work
Company: Appen
Industry: Tech
800+ employees | Remote + Gig

Ethos

Appen’s mission is to give confidence to their clients who want to deploy world class AI by providing reliable resources. Appen provides or improves data used for the development of machine learning and artificial intelligence products.

Data types include:

  1. Speech and natural language data
  2. Image and video data
  3. Text and alphanumeric
  4. Search and social media engines

To successfully deploy AI solutions, the most crucial requirement is the right training data. Appen facilitates this need by giving access to its crowd, platform, and expertise needed to generate world-class, reliable training data at scale. Twilio is another company which effectively manages an active crowd. To know more about Twilio click here.

Talent Strategy

Appen has a high entry barrier into their remote workforce. They thoroughly screen their talent input. Appen gives priority to candidates who have:

  1. Experience in remote work
  2. Experience in social media, web search, mobile device usage, translation or transcription
  3. Degrees in linguistics
  4. Communication skills over all platforms
Hiring Process
  1. All pre-screenings through Skype
    • A difficult three-part qualification exam
    • Test both the theoretical and practical comprehensions
    • Only 1 retake
  2. In-person or video-interviews

Customer Centricity

Appen is a provider of training data for AI. Its customers, therefore, are prone to numerous doubts. How do they please the customer?

  1. A success centre to address customer concerns through remote means like FAQ, tutorials and blogs.
    • FAQs deal with doubts of clients in general or on data acquisition
    • Crisp tutorials contain screen recordings of deploying Appen products
    • A beautifully organized support page with broad headings as stages of deployment
  2. The information which is not available in this page is provided through blogposts
  3. In March 2020 integrated their $300Million acquisition Figure Eight, in the customer support section

Merger & Acquisitions

On March 10, 2019, Appen acquired Figure Eight for $300Million.

  1. US$175 million upfront
  2. An additional payment of up to US$125 million based on Figure Eight’s performance this year.
  3. Both companies focus on using crowdsourced labour pools to annotate data to train AI and ML.
  4. Figure Eight possesses numerous technologies from mapping to stock photography to scanning receipts for expense reports.

Appen’s CEO Mark Brayan is hopeful that the 1 million remote workers of Appen will be complimentary to the data annotation and self-serve capabilities of Figure Eight.

For scale, Appen earlier acquired another data annotation company Leapforce in 2017.

“The acquisition of Figure Eight is the second step of becoming technically advanced after scaling up with the acquisition of Leapforce”.

Awards and Recognitions

Recognized by FlexJobs as a Top 100 Company to watch for remote Jobs 2014-2019

#1 ranked in 2017 and 2019.

Curious to know about other top picks by Twimbit?

Automattic |Basecamp | HubSpot | Lionbridge | Magellan Health | Microsoft | TranscribeMe | Twilio | VIPKid

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