Food is a growing, complicated area of ecommerce with lots of room for improvement. It's just not easy to store, pick, and deliver fresh groceries. "This complication is something CommonSense sees as an opportunity," says Elram Goren, CEO and co-founder of CommonSense Robotics. The Israeli robotics company announced today that it raised $20 million in Series A funding, in a round led by Playground Global and including previous investors Aleph VC and Eric Schmidt's Innovation Endeavors. The funds will be used to expand the company and further develop robotics and AI for "micro-fulfillment centers," which are automated grocery fulfillment centers where robots will efficiently store, sort, and process inventory that fit in small warehouses.
Ng announced Tuesday that he raised money from venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates, Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners as well as SoftBank Group Corp. Under Ng, Baidu released a voice-based operating system that users can talk to - much like Amazon's Alexa voice assistant or Apple's Siri - and also started working on self-driving cars and face recognition technology to open things like transit turnstiles when users approach. I think it's a more systematic, repeatable process than most people think," said Ng, who also taught artificial intelligence courses at Stanford University. The first company to receive money from the fund will be Landing.ai,
When it comes to raising tens of millions of dollars in venture capital, it helps to be a veteran of Baidu's artificial intelligence units. Over the prior 12 months, former employees of the Chinese tech giant have raised close to US$300 million in VC funding rounds, according to a review of deals by China Money Network.
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Rokid, a Chinese startup that makes an AI voice assistant and smart devices, just raised a Series B extension round led by Temasek Holdings, with participation from Credit Suisse, IDG Capital and CDIB Capital. The size of the round was not released, but a source familiar with the deal told TechCrunch that it is $100 million. The company's previous funding was its Series B round, which was announced in November 2016. Founder and chief executive officer Mingming Zhu says Rokid raised a Series B instead of a C round because the company, which is based in Hangzhou, China with research centers in Beijing and San Francisco that develop its proprietary natural language processing, image processing, face recognition and robotics technology, is still in its early stages. Rokid wants to focus on gathering more resources and bringing in strategic investors like Temasek Holdings before moving on to a Series C.