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Zapata raises $38 million for quantum machine learning


Zapata Computing has raised $38 million for its quantum computing enterprise software platform. The figure, which brings its total funding to over $64 million, will be put toward Zapata's core mission: "Delivering quantum advantage for customers through real business use cases." Quantum computing leverages qubits (unlike bits that can only be in a state of 0 or 1, qubits can also be in a superposition of the two) to perform computations that would be much more difficult, or simply not feasible, for a classical computer. Unlike most quantum computing startups that build the hardware, Zapata is focused on the algorithms and software that sit on top. Based in Boston, Zapata has one product: its hardware-agnostic Orquestra quantum computing platform.

Kea raises $10M to build AI that helps restaurants answer the phone – TechCrunch


Kea is a new startup giving restaurants an opportunity to upgrade one of the more old-fashioned ways that they take orders -- over the phone. Today, Kea is announcing that it has raised a $10 million Series A led by Marbruck, with participation from Streamlined Ventures, Xfund, Heartland Ventures, DEEPCORE, Barrel Ventures and AVG Funds, as well as angel investors Raj Kapoor (chief strategy officer at Lyft), Craig Flom (who was on the founding team at Panera Bread), Wingstop franchisee Tony Lam and Five Guys franchisee Jonathan Kelly. Founder and CEO Adam Ahmad said that with restaurants perpetually understaffed, they usually don't have someone who can devote their attention to answering the phone. At the same time, he suggested it remains an important ordering channel -- especially during the pandemic, as takeout and delivery has become the biggest source of revenue for many restaurants. The New Yorker's Helen Rosner put it succinctly when she suggested that anyone who wants to support restaurants should "pick up the damn phone." Similarly, Ahmad said that for restaurants, paying substantial third-party ordering fees on all of their orders is "not a sustainable long-term strategy."

Gatik raises $22.5 million for autonomous short-haul delivery trucks


Gatik, a startup developing an autonomous vehicle stack for B2B short-haul logistics, today closed a $22.5 million series A financing round. The company also announced it will bring a fleet of self-driving vans to Canada as part of a deal with Loblaw, the country's largest retailer with over 200,000 employees. Some experts predict the pandemic will hasten the adoption of autonomous vehicles for delivery. Self-driving cars, vans, and trucks promise to minimize the risk of spreading disease because they inherently limit driver contact. This is particularly true with regard to short-haul freight, which is experiencing a spike in volume during the outbreak.

Israeli Startup AI21 Labs Raises $34.5M For AI-Based Language Tech


AI21 Labs, a startup formed by veterans from an elite tech unit in the IDF to build AI systems, announced on Thursday it raised $34.5 million in total equity capital to work on its AI-based writing solutions and offerings. The funding includes a seed round of $9.5 million in January 2019 and the latest round of $25 million led by Pitango First, the seed and early-stage fund of Pitango's investment platform. Pitango is Israel's largest venture capital fund and was co-founded by Chemi Peres, the son of former president Shimon Peres. The VC focuses on core technologies like deep tech, AI, and machine learning. Other investors in the latest funding round included TPY Capital, another VC headquartered in Tel Aviv.

Israeli Startup Raises $15 Million to Boost AI Due Diligence Platform


CTech – Israeli business intelligence startup Intelligo Group, which has developed an automated due diligence and personnel background platform based on AI (artificial intelligence), has announced a $15 million Series B financing round led by Behrens Investment Group and including several existing investors. Intelligo has raised a total of $22 million to date. The company was founded in 2014 by CEO Shlomo Mirvis, Chief Research Officer Dana Rakovsky and COO Nadav Ellinson. Intelligo currently has more than 100 clients, including top corporations. The company employs 42 people and is in the process of adding to its workforce.

EdgeQ raises $51 million to fuse AI compute and 5G within a single chip – TechCrunch


No, it's not bingo at your local silicon chip enthusiast meetup, and no, I am not trying to game Google's search algorithms (well, maybe just a bit). Rather, it's a combination of technologies that are predicted to become critical for the future of the Internet of Things across industries as diverse as shipping and security. One way to get all these technologies into single devices is just to agglomerate a bunch of off-the-shelf silicon chips and jam them into a product. Take a wireless radio chip, add some computing capacity, add some AI chip wizardly and voilà, you have yourself a modern IoT device. There's just one problem: These devices often have a lot of constraints.

Onit acquires legal startup McCarthyFinch to inject AI into legal workflows – TechCrunch


Onit, a workflow software company based in Houston with a legal component, announced this week that it has acquired 2018 TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield alum McCarthyFinch. Onit intends to use the startup's AI skills to beef up its legal workflow software offerings. The companies did not share the purchase price. After evaluating a number of companies in the space, Onit focused on McCarthyFinch, which gives it an artificial intelligence component the company's legal workflow software had been lacking. "We evaluated about a dozen companies in the AI space and dug in deep on six of them. McCarthyFinch stood out from the pack. They had the strongest technology and the strongest team," Eric M. Elfman, CEO and co-founder of Onit told TechCrunch.

Microsoft rolls out Dynamics 365 Project Operations in India


Technology major Microsoft on Wednesday announced the general availability of its Dynamics 365 Project Operations solution in India. The solution, the Redmond, Washington-based company said, aims to help service-based businesses unify operational workflows for better visibility, collaboration and insights. It will utilise real-time analytics to connect leadership, sales, resourcing, project management and accounting teams to offer better visibility and insights, a statement said. Clients will be able to tackle challenges arising from disparate systems and data silos and address inadequacies in areas of client expansion, collaboration between project managers, workforce optimisation and have better agility among business leaders, it said. The solution will also offer customers business insights, data and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities for faster decision making and visibility, while enabling sales and project managers to accelerate sales cycle and project delivery.

Nvidia Q3 revenue $4.73 billion, EPS $2.91 beat expectations, Q4 view higher as well


Shares of graphics chip titan Nvidia declined slightly in late trading after the company this afternoon reported fiscal Q3 revenue and profit that comfortably exceeded Wall Street's expectations. CEO Jensen Huang said NVIDIA is "firing on all cylinders. Demand, he said, for the company's latest video game compute cards, the GeForce RTX GPU, "is overwhelming." Revenue in the three months ended in October rose 57%, year over year, to $4.73 billion, yielding EPS of $2.91. Analysts had been modeling $4.42 billion in revenue and $2.58 per share in earnings. Nvidia's revenue from its data center business rose by 162%, year over year, to $1.9 billion, the company said. Revenue from video gaming was up 37% at $2.27 billion. For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $4.896 billion to $4.704 billion. That is well ahead of consensus for $4.4 billion and $2.54. Nvidia has been riding the success of its new generation of GPUs, the A100 series, introduced in May. Huang said that cloud companies are "deploying it globally," referring to the parts. "And our customers are moving some of the world's most popular AI services into production, powered by NVIDIA technology.

AI dev platform startup DataRobot raises $270 million at a $2.7 billion valuation


Boston-based DataRobot, a startup developing an end-to-end enterprise AI platform, today raised $270 million in an equity funding round led by Altimeter Capital. DataRobot says the pre-IPO round -- which included new and existing investors T. Rowe Price, Blackrock, Silverlake, NEA, and Tiger -- values the company at over $2.7 billion. The benefits of AI and machine learning can feel intangible at times, but surveys show this hasn't deterred enterprises from adopting the technology in droves. Business use of AI grew a whopping 270% over the past four years, according to Gartner, while Deloitte says 62% of respondents to its corporate October 2018 report deployed some form of AI, up from 53% a year ago. But adoption doesn't always meet with success, as the roughly 25% of companies that have seen half of their AI projects fail will tell you.