SAM raises $3.6 million for platform that helps spot global crises


Edmonton-founded artificial intelligence (AI) startup Social Asset Management (SAM), which analyzes open and connected data sources to spot early signals of emerging risks and potentially threatening situations, has raised $3.6 million CAD.

“We’ve built a system that can ingest the world’s connected data and spot patterns very early on.”

The round was led by Calgary-based Adventure Capital, with support from Mark Miller of Volaris Group, who joins SAM’s existing investors, the Associated Press and Accelerate Fund. The capital will be used to fuel SAM’s growth and operations, support its client base, and develop its AI in order to predict more crisis events.

“The world is now a hyper-connected place with an overabundance of unstructured signals coming from the IoT and social media,” said James Neufeld, SAM founder and CEO. “We’ve built a system that can ingest the world’s connected data and spot patterns very early on.”

SAM was founded in 2013, and also has a hub located in London, England. The technology uses billions of tweets, photos, videos, and posts on social media to create a raw dataset, which it calls its “global sensory network.” The company then analyzes, detects, and aims to deliver the most relevant on the ground information to SAM’s customers.

“We’re excited to join the journey,” said Brian Craig, founding partner of Calgary-based Adventure Capital leading the investment round. “They are a passionate team focused on solving one of the biggest challenges we face today: how to predict crisis events before it’s too late.”

The startup is reporting that it has recently seen “record adoption and revenue growth,” as it is currently helping social, tech, public, and aviation sector clients stay one step ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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SAM said many of the early warnings of COVID-19 were missed due to lagging technology and out-dated crisis monitoring processes. SAM notifies its customers of emerging developments, like lockdowns, closures, evacuations and unexpected risks related to COVID-19. During the pandemic, SAM is continuing to watch for emerging threats while responding to the crisis.

“By performing the super-human task of scanning vast amounts of raw, unstructured data from across the internet, SAM’s AI engine is enabling our journalists to get a faster jump on breaking news wherever it’s developing,” said Jim Kennedy, senior vice president for strategy and enterprise development for the Associated Press.

SAM typically works with large enterprises, emergency responders, and non-governmental organizations, but Neufeld said the company is also picking up interest from governments.

“Since our world is smaller than ever before, many teams have far greater responsibilities and must keep an even closer ear to the ground,” Neufeld said. “COVID-19 is the perfect example that is taxing every aspect of society, many would have benefited to know more, sooner. We can help shorten that gap.”

Image source SAM

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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