AI developer Appen upgrades guidance as its customers beg for more

AI developer Appen upgrades guidance as its customers beg for more

Artificial intelligence is frequently cited by analysts as one of the world's fastest growing industries, so it's little wonder that innovators in the space are often on the fast track to financial success.

Keeping with that trend is New South Wales-based Appen (ASX: APX), an AI developer that helps other companies improve their data and scale their business via machine learning, data collection and annotation.

Appen today upped its 2019 full year earnings guidance from $85-90 million to $96-99 million off the back of burgeoning demand from its growing client base.

The company says its rosy earnings forecast is driven by increases in monthly relevance revenues and margins, largely from its existing customers and projects.

Appen has been working for more than 20 years to collect and enrich datasets across a variety of industries like government, technology, eCommerce and automotive.

The platform is used in more than 130 countries, accessed in more than 180 languages and engages the services of a crowd of more than 1 million contractors.

It collects and annotates data across a variety of formats including text, image, video and speech.

When Appen released its full year results a few months ago, it revealed a revenue increase of 60 per cent to $245 million and a statutory profit growth of 33 per cent to $18.6 million.

At the time, Appen's CEO Mark Brayan cited an increase in the speech and image data markets for its pleasing results.

"Speed and image is gathering speed," he said.

"We're seeing an increase in use cases and our existing customers are asking for more data to develop new AI products and to improve their existing offerings."

In April Appen acquired San Francisco-based firm Figure Eight, which accelerated the company's technology roadmap, diversified its revenue and expanded its overseas markets.

"The number and size of joint opportunities is exceeding our expectations," said Brayan.

"Its technology is better than we first thought, and its government footprint is unique with very high barriers to entry.

"This market is emerging as a new growth pillar for the company."

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