If you are looking for an answer to the question What is Artificial Intelligence? and you only have a minute, then here's the definition the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence offers on its home page: "the scientific understanding of the mechanisms underlying thought and intelligent behavior and their embodiment in machines."
However, if you are fortunate enough to have more than a minute, then please get ready to embark upon an exciting journey exploring AI (but beware, it could last a lifetime) …
Waabi, founded by AI pioneer and visionary Raquel Urtasun, today launched out of stealth to build the next generation of self-driving technology. Waabi's innovative approach unleashes the power of AI to'drive' safely in the real world, bringing the promise of self-driving closer to commercialization than ever before. Waabi also announced today a $83.5-million (USD) Series A financing with backing from best-in-class investors across the technology, logistics and the Canadian innovation ecosystem. The round, which is among the largest Series A rounds ever raised in Canada, was led by Khosla Ventures with additional participation from Uber, Radical Ventures, 8VC, OMERS Ventures, BDC Capital's Women in Technology Venture Fund (WIT), Aurora Innovation Inc., AI luminaries Geoffrey Hinton, Fei-Fei Li, Pieter Abbeel, Sanja Fidler and others. AI and self-driving pioneer Raquel Urtasun is the founder and CEO of Waabi.
WIRE)--Airbus Ventures announces its latest investment in Telexistence, Inc., a leading innovator in remote-controlled robotics with artificial intelligence that has closed a $20M Series A-2 financing round led by a group company of Monoful Inc. and comprising additional funds from KDDI, Deepcore, UTokyo IPC, and multiple new investors. Telexistence has raised about $41 million to date, since the company's inception in 2017. "As we rethink and transform the basic meaning of'existence,' we are actively expanding our in-house engineering team, accelerating product development, and upscaling deployment to the company's growing customer base in offline retail and logistics," explains Jin Tomioka, Telexistence CEO and co-Founder. "This funding signals a new chapter, and we are excited to welcome new partners, still more grateful than ever for Airbus Ventures, our lead Series A investor in 2018, and their mentorship and dedication to our mission." Materializing a vision of a more connected humanity interacting and evolving across multiple spatial and temporal scales, Telexistence releases humans from physical constraints utilizing Telexistence technology, robotics, telecommunication, VR, haptics, and AI.
June 3, 2021 - In The AI-First Company: How to Compete and Win with Artificial Intelligence, prominent venture capitalist Ash Fontana asserts that we are in the second half of a century-long cycle in the development of artificial intelligence (AI). Pointing to Google, Apple, Amazon, and other tech giants, Fontana contends that businesses in all industries will be dominated by companies that prioritize and rely upon AI in the next 50 years. That is, the world will be dominated by "AI-First Companies" – companies that focus on "collecting important data and then using that data to train predictive models that automate core functions" within their, or their customers, businesses. In Fontana's vision, AI empowers the predictive models to process the collected data to generate information, information which both provides value to the business and permits the business to generate proprietary insights. This self-reinforcing process is a "loop," which Fontana asserts is a competitive advantage, akin to a moat but more powerful because it is dynamic, capable of both widening and deepening on its own.
If you're into the market and investment side of things, how does a Series F funding round as part of a $325 million investment led by Eurazeo and GV (formerly Google Ventures), bringing Neo4j's valuation to over $2 billion sound? If you're into the technology and applications side of things, how does a Neo4j demo of a social network application with 3 billion people, running queries designed to test the limits of graph query languages and databases across a 1000 node cluster sound? Graph database vendor Neo4j CEO and co-founder Emil Eifrem is announcing the funding and showcasing the demo today at the company's annual virtual conference NODES. We caught up with Eifrem to get a taste of things to come. Truth be told, we were not entirely surprised to learn about Neo4j's funding round.
Automating insurance claims is a big business, and the world of AI is coming at it'full pelt'. The latest is Akur8, an insurtech automating insurance platform whose'Transparent AI' product is trying to eat into the incumbent large business of Willis Towers watson, among others. It's now closed a Series B funding round of $30m led by an undisclosed investor. This brings its total funding to $42m. The round is to support international expansion.
Industrial analytics and machine monitoring platform MachineMetrics today announced that it closed a $20 million series B funding round led by Teradyne, an industrial automation and robotics company. Bill Bither, MachineMetrics cofounder and CEO, says that the new capital will be used to scale the company's sales, marketing, and customer operations; expand its partner ecosystem; and enhance capabilities at the edge. Manufacturing is undergoing a resurgence as business owners look to modernize their factories and speed up operations. According to ABI Research, more than 4 million commercial robots will be installed in over 50,000 warehouses around the world by 2025, up from under 4,000 warehouses as of 2018. Oxford Economics anticipates 12.5 million manufacturing jobs will be automated in China, while McKinsey projects machines will take upwards of 30% of these jobs in the U.S. MachineMetrics' platform aims to streamline machine data collection and production analytics to deliver insights.
AI can transform sourcing and screening from investors' pack mentality, to funding more female founders who build better products and services -- and create higher returns for investors. Venture capitalists know that their advantage lies in identifying the most promising opportunities before their competitors do. This is confirmed by a University of Chicago study by Morten Sorensen, which shows that investors create 60% of their value from the upper part of the funnel, specifically from sourcing and screening. In which case, sourcing and screening must be a constant target for improvement, right? No -- apart from a few VCs who have reinforced their sourcing with web crawlers, sourcing and screening practices have remained the same since the inception of the VC asset class around 1940.
The self-driving vehicle industry may be young, just a bit over a decade old, but already a meaningful trend is taking shape: it's proving to be more open to women CEOs and founders–including women of color–than the broader tech industry and for U.S. companies generally. With this week's news that Waabi founder and CEO Raquel Urtasun raised $83.5 million in a Series A round for her Toronto-based startup, three out of 12 leading autonomous technology companies in North America are now led by women. What's more, in a time when companies across all industries are working to improve diversity, two of the women leading self-driving tech companies, Zoox CEO Aicha Evans and Waymo co-CEO Tekedra Mawakana, are Black. "I've been really excited to see the number of women interested in autonomous technology. There's an appreciation for what it can do for people, what it's going to unlock," says Alisyn Malek, who left General Motors to cofound autonomous shuttle startup May Mobility in 2017 (and is currently executive director of the Washington-based Commission on the Future of Mobility).
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.