- Featureform has created a unified platform for feature definition, management, and deployment offered to developers under an open-source license with commercial additions.
- Since Featureform is an immutable platform, once entries are made, they cannot be updated or modified.
The creator of a feature shop for AI development, Featureform Inc., announced that it has raised a USD 5.5 million seed round, bringing its total funding to USD 8.1 million.
The company is focusing on what it claims is a primarily custom method by which businesses convert unprocessed data into signals to be fed as inputs into large language models or machine learning models. An AI model employs features as input variables to anticipate or make judgments. The features’ caliber and choice directly impact the model’s performance quality.
Featureform has created a unified platform for feature definition, management, and deployment offered to developers under an open-source license with commercial additions. Search, monitoring, orchestration, and governance are all integrated within the platform.
Simba Khadder, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, compares it to Terraform, a popular infrastructure-as-code platform that served as the model for the name Featureform. Using a declarative configuration language, Terraform allows developers and administrators to define and provision data center infrastructure.
“I think of a feature as a definition. We store the definition, run it for you on [data analytics platforms] Databricks or Snowflake, define your pipeline, define the metadata and versioning, make it shareable, monitor for model drift, and make sure governance is properly used. We’re a full platform to define and manage features, not just a place to store them,” he added.
A vector database, which is made particularly to handle the series of numbers or coordinates that represent data in the multidimensional form required in machine learning, is where features are kept. Data scientists can use it to design, oversee, and implement features for large language model systems and machine learning.
‘Ad hoc in entirety’
Khadder mentioned that the feature management status at many organizations is chaos. “It’s completely ad hoc. There’s no process at all,” he stated, highlighting the instance of this bank that had a library of 3,000 features, “and they had no idea which ones were being used. A lot of them were defined by people who’d since left the organization, and everyone was afraid to turn them off because they didn’t know what they were and what was running through them.”
Since Featureform is an immutable platform, once entries are created, they cannot be updated or modified. “We keep track of dependencies, so if you create a new one, there’s still a pointer to the old one. You don’t have to worry about all that complicated logic,” he added. As the platform monitors data lineage, it can also spot and prevent personally recognizable data.
Khadder said his organization has witnessed a “huge explosion of interest since generative AI took off a year ago. This space has matured as every cloud vendor has released a feature store. We get a lot of inbound inquiries,” he mentioned.
GreatPoint Ventures LLC and Zetta Venture Capital LLC led the seed funding round, which also saw participation from Alumni Ventures Group LLC and Tuesday Capital Management LLC. The company announced that the funding will be used to “expand product growth and increase support for existing and new enterprise customers, in addition to its open-source community.”