Artificial intelligence is quickly becoming a foundational technology for enterprise software development and startups have begun addressing a variety of issues around using AI to make software and processes much more efficient. To that end, we are delighted to announce that Jocelyn Goldfein, a Managing Director at Zetta Venture Partners will be joining on us a panel to discuss AI in the enterprise. It will take place at the TechCrunch Sessions: Enterprise show on September 5 at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It's not just startups that are involved in AI in the enterprise. Some of the biggest names in enterprise software including Salesforce Einstein, Adobe Sensei and IBM Watson have been addressing the need for AI to help solve the enterprise data glut.
The startup investing market is crowded, expensive and rapid-fire today as venture capitalists work to preempt one another, hoping to deploy funds into hot companies before their competitors. The AI startup market may be even hotter than the average technology niche. In the wake of the Microsoft-Nuance deal, The Exchange reported that it would be reasonable to anticipate an even more active and competitive market for AI-powered startups. Our thesis was that after Redmond dropped nearly $20 billion for the AI company, investors would have a fresh incentive to invest in upstarts with an AI focus or strong AI component; exits, especially large transactions, have a way of spurring investor interest in related companies. That expectation is coming true.
Seventy-four tech founders, CEOs, investors, and billionaires have signed an open letter to Congressional leaders urging them to reject the GOP plan to defund Planned Parenthood. The group, led by Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp, includes industry bigwigs Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital; Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield; Reddit's Alexis Ohanian; Eventbrite CEO Julia Hartz, and Cowboy Ventures partner Aileen Lee. In the March 16th letter, Karp and his peers "urge Congress not to pursue any legislation that blocks women from accessing critical preventive care – including well-woman exams, birth control, and cancer screenings" at the nonprofit's health centers: "We know Planned Parenthood's care and leadership have been instrumental to this success. We are committed to supporting their ability to build on this important work and, above all, we are connected to Planned Parenthood's mission which so closely resembles what we stand for as leaders in technology: creating opportunity for everyone to chart their own path in life and pursue their own ingenuity – without barriers or fear. That will not be possible for the millions of people who rely on Planned Parenthood if Congress moves forward with legislation to deny them access to critical preventive care.
Ash Fontana, Managing Partner, Zetta Venture PartnersUber's cars are crashing, Microsoft's bots abusing people on twitter and U.S. judges sentencing people using biased algorithms. Machine learning models rely on probabilistic assumptions because they're trying to model things that are uncertain. Probabilistic assumptions don't always hold, so the models don't always work. We should keep this in mind when building machine learning products so that we meet the expectations of our customers, at best, and avoid the unchecked use of machine learning in high-stakes situations, at worst. As a venture capital firm focused on intelligent software for the enterprise, we at Zetta Venture Partners have developed a framework for understanding the impact of products built on machine learning.
Even though there are many great AI software tools on the market, you still need to assemble a strong team when it comes to putting together projects. The technology is complex and evolving. There are also the challenges of change management within an organization. So then what are the roles for an AI project? Well, first of all, there needs to be an executive sponsor.