Hearst Invests In Startup That Uses Machine Learning To Aid Businesses, Journalists

Applied XL, an information company that tracks disruptions to the health of people and places, using machine learning to monitor disparate data streams and surface signals before they become news, announced it has raised $3.5 million in seed funding led by Hearst Ventures, with participation from Boston Globe Media Partners and STAT.

The company will use the new funding to scale its first vertical market, serving pharma and biotech professionals and expanding its offerings in the life-science analytics market, whose value is projected to reach  $42 billion by 2025.

The latest fundraising round brings Applied XL's to date to $5 million in the last 12 months.

"We are developing event-detection algorithms that replicate the rigorous research process of biotech journalists in order to surface important signals and deprioritize noise,” Applied XL CEO and co-founder Francesco Marconi said. “Professionals in this sector are overwhelmed with an ever-growing amount of unstructured data, missing out on crucial information, and slowing down their decision-making. Our vision is to build smart systems for eliminating information overload.”

Applied XL uses machine learning to dynamically categorize events, rank them, and assign proprietary labels that provide immediate insight into when and why important changes occur. It also has a human-in-the-loop system, which is then used to retrain the system's machine learning algorithms to achieve increased accuracy.



"Hearst recognizes the transformative potential of B2B information solutions tailored for specific industries,” Hearst Ventures Senior Managing Director Ken Bronfin said. “Hearst has already experienced marked success with our investments in the healthcare, transportation, and financial services sectors. Our investment in Applied XL reflects our broader strategic focus on leveraging the power of big data to power information products serving professionals across sectors.”

In January, Applied XL partnered with STAT, a health, science, and medicine-focused media company owned by Boston Globe parent company Boston Globe Media Partners, to launchSTAT Trials Pulse,  where professionals use data to inform regulatory strategy, clinical development and investment decisions.

"Since the launch of STAT in 2015, Boston Globe Media Partners has already seen the impact of a specialized product targeting small but influential audiences and charging them for high-end news, information, and insights,” Boston Globe Media Partners CEO Linda Pizzuti Henry said.

Applied XL was launched in 2020 through the Newlab Venture Studio by computational journalists who formerly led artificial-intelligence efforts at the Wall Street Journal and Associated Press.

Hearst Ventures, founded in 1995, has become a major corporate venture fund, with more than $1 billion invested to date.

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