The Appen share price is up 2.5% today and now 114% in 2019


The Appen Ltd (ASX: APX) share price has continued its impressive run and charged higher again on Wednesday.

In afternoon trade the shares of the global leader in the development of high-quality, human-annotated training data for machine learning and artificial intelligence are up 2.5% to $27.50.

This latest gain means that the Appen share price has now put on a gain of 114% since the start of the year, which makes it the second-best performer on the ASX 200 behind Nearmap Ltd (ASX: NEA) and ahead of Afterpay Touch Group Ltd (ASX: APT).

Why is the Appen share price climbing higher today?

The majority of today’s gain is likely to be down to positive investor sentiment in the tech sector which has taken the S&P/ASX 200 Info Tech index 1.1% higher this afternoon.

As a comparison, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index is up just 0.15% at the time of writing.

In addition to this, Appen made a minor announcement this morning which may have given its share price a small boost.

What was announced?

This morning Appen announced that the founder of the recently acquired Figure Eight business, Lukas Biewald, has completed the purchase of Appen shares to the value of approximately US$1.5 million.

These shares will be held in escrow for 24 months post the acquisition completion date of April 2 2019.

Mr Biewald, who has continued to be an advisor to the business, agreed to purchase the shares at the time of the acquisition.

No details were provided over the amount that Mr Biewald was due to purchase previously, so this large purchase may have come as a pleasant surprise to shareholders as it means his interests are firmly aligned with theirs.

What is Figure Eight?

Figure Eight is a San Francisco-based best in class machine learning software platform provider which uses highly automated annotation tools to transform unstructured text, image, audio and video data into customised high-quality AI training data.

Appen acquired the company earlier this year for a consideration of US$175 million and an additional performance-related contingent consideration of up to a maximum of US$125 million payable in March 2020.

It is expected to materially increase the quality of Appen’s revenues and the breadth of its customer base, future-proof, de-risk, and accelerate its technology strategy, and add high quality, high growth, high margin and recurring SaaS revenue.

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James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Nearmap Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO and Appen Ltd. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Nearmap Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The Motley Fool’s purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool’s free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. 2019



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