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AI Startup Clarifai Lays Off 20% of Its Staff

Clarifai, a six-year old artificial intelligence software startup, laid off around 20% of its staff of around 100 employees on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter. The cuts include Amy Kim, the product manager who led Clarifai’s work with the Department of Defense’s Project Maven AI contract; and Rudi Chiarito, principal infrastructure engineer, who spent eight years at Google before joining Clarifai in 2015, the people said.

A Clarifai spokesman confirmed the layoffs and said the company is “reallocating resources” to better serve its customers. “We’re grateful for the contributions these important team members have made to our journey so far, and we wish them the best,” the spokesman said.

The layoffs are the latest source of tension at Clarifai, which sells cloud-based deep learning software that lets developers include image and video recognition features in applications. Clarifai has seen internal unrest related to its involvement in Project Maven and over CEO Matt Zeiler’s plan to fast-track the launch of a facial recognition product. As we reported in January, Clarifai employees have urged Mr. Zeiler to delay the launch due to concerns over the accuracy of the software.


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