Category: machine learning

June 6, 2019 Off

How Amazon’s delivery robots will navigate your sidewalk

By Jill T Frey

Earlier this year, Amazon announced its Scout sidewalk delivery robot. At the time, details were sparse, except for the fact that the company had started to make deliveries in a neighborhood in Washington State. Today, at Amazon’s re:Mars conference, I sat down with Sean Scott, the VP in charge of Scout, to talk about how his team built the robot, how it finds its way around and what its future looks like.

These relatively small blue robots could be roaming a sidewalk near you soon, though as of now, Amazon isn’t quite ready to talk about when and where it will expand its network from its single neighborhood to other areas.

“For the last decade, we’ve invested billions of dollars in cargo planes and delivery vans, fulfillment center robots, and last holiday period, we shipped over a billion products with Prime free shipping,” Scott told me. “So it’s my … Read the rest

June 6, 2019 Off

Jeff Bezos wants to build the infrastructure for space startups

By Jill T Frey

At its re:Mars conference, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos took the stage today to be “interviewed” by Jenny Freshwater, Amazon’s director of forecasting. As any AWS machine learning tool could have forecasted, having an employee interview her boss didn’t lead to any challenging questions or especially illuminating answers, but Bezos did get a chance to talk about a variety of topics, ranging from business advice to his plans for Blue Origin.

We can safely ignore the business advice, given that Amazon’s principle of “disagree and commit” is about as well known as it could be, but his comments about Blue Origin, his plans for moon exploration and its relationship to startups were quite interesting.

He noted that we now know so much more about the moon than ever before, including that it does provide a number of resources that make it a good base for further space exploration. “The reason … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

Twitter bags deep learning talent behind London startup, Fabula AI

By Jill T Frey

Twitter has just announced it has picked up London-based Fabula AI. The deep learning startup has been developing technology to try to identify online disinformation by looking at patterns in how fake stuff vs genuine news spreads online — making it an obvious fit for the rumor-riled social network.

Social media giants remain under increasing political pressure to get a handle on online disinformation to ensure that manipulative messages don’t, for example, get a free pass to fiddle with democratic processes.

Twitter says the acquisition of Fabula will help it build out its internal machine learning capabilities — writing that the UK startup’s “world-class team of machine learning researchers” will feed an internal research group it’s building out, led by Sandeep Pandey, its head of ML/AI engineering.

This research group will focus … Read the rest

June 3, 2019 Off

PropTech startup Kodit.io raises $13M to automate house buying and selling

By Jill T Frey

As anyone who has ever tried to buy or sell a home knows, the entire process can be the most stressful of one’s life. Traditional real estate agents rarely make the process any less stressful, leaving the industry ripe for disruption by tech companies which can automate many of the existing processes.

Startups like Offerpad in the US have done just this by becoming an on-demand, tech-enabled direct home buyer and seller, and raising as much as $155M in VC to achieve this. The market in Europe is less well developed, which is why it’s clearly interesting that Kodit.io, a Finnish Proptech company that gives homeowners a “stress-free way to quickly sell their homes for a fair price”, has announced the close of a €12M ($13.4M) venture round to fund expansion in Europe.

Investors include New York-based FJ Labs, Austrian Speedinvest and Spanish All Iron Ventures, as well as … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Diving deep into Africa’s blossoming tech scene

By Jill T Frey

Jumia may be the first startup you’ve heard of from Africa. But the e-commerce venture that recently listed on the NYSE is definitely not the first or last word in African tech.

The continent has an expansive digital innovation scene, the components of which are intersecting rapidly across Africa’s 54 countries and 1.2 billion people.

When measured by monetary values, Africa’s tech ecosystem is tiny by Shenzen or Silicon Valley standards.

But when you look at volumes and year over year expansion in VC, startup formation, and tech hubs, it’s one of the fastest growing tech markets in the world. In 2017, the continent also saw the largest global increase in internet users—20 percent.

If you’re a VC or founder in London, Bangalore, or San Francisco, you’ll likely interact with some part of Africa’s tech landscape for the first time—or more—in the near future.

That’s why TechCrunch put together … Read the rest

May 29, 2019 Off

How we scaled our startup by being remote first

By Jill T Frey

Startups are often associated with the benefits and toys provided in their offices. Foosball tables! Free food! Dog friendly! But what if the future of startups was less about physical office space and more about remote-first work environments? What if, in fact, the most compelling aspect of a startup work environment is that the employees don’t have to go to one?

A remote-first company model has been Seeq’s strategy since our founding in 2013. We have raised $35 million and grown to more than 100 employees around the globe. Remote-first is clearly working for us and may be the best … Read the rest

May 27, 2019 Off

Arm announces its new premium CPU and GPU designs

By Jill T Frey

Arm, the company that designs the basic chip architecture for most of the world’s smartphones, today announced the launch of its next suite of designs for premium phones. It’ll be a while before you’ll see the first phones that use chips based on this design, but typically we see the first actual chips before the end of the year. With this launch, the company is announcing the Cortex-A77 CPU, the Mali-G77 GPU and a more energy efficient and powerful machine learning processor.

Given recent trends, it’s no surprise that the new Cortex-A77 doesn’t only focus on overall performance improvements, though the company’s promise of 20% IPC performance improvement over the last generation is nothing to sneer at. Thanks to a combination of hardware and software optimizations, the Cortex-A77 now promises significantly better machine learning performance, too.

Why focus on that when the company also offers a machine learning processor? Arm … Read the rest

May 25, 2019 Off

This is one smart device that every urban home could use

By Jill T Frey

Living in a dense urban environment brings many startup-fuelled conveniences, be it near instant delivery of food — or pretty much whatever else you fancy — to a whole range of wheels that can be hopped on (or into) to whisk you around at the tap of an app.

But the biggest problem afflicting city dwellers is not some minor inconvenience. It’s bad, poor, terrible, horrible, unhealthy air. And there’s no app to fix that.

Nor can hardware solve this problem. But smart hardware can at least help.

For about a month I’ve been road-testing a wi-fi connected air purifier made by Swedish company, Blueair. It uses an Hepa filtration system combined with integrated air quality sensors to provide real-time in-app feedback which can be reassuring or alert you to unseen problems.

Flip to the bottom of this article for a speed take or continue reading for the full Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Using full-body MRIs, Ezra can now detect 11 cancers in men and 13 in women

By Jill T Frey

When Ezra first launched about six months ago, the company was using magnetic resonance imaging machines to test for prostate cancer in men.

But the company’s founder, Emi Gal, always had a larger goal.

“One of the biggest problems in cancer is that there’s no accurate, fast, painless way to scan for cancer anywhere in the body,” Gal said at the time of his company’s debut.

Now he’s several steps closer to a solution. Rather than having to do painful biopsies, which often come with significant side effects, Gal’s software can now be used to slash the cost for a full-body MRI scan designed to screen for 11 different types of cancer in men and another 13 types of cancer in women (who have more organs that are likely to develop cancer).

The scans take about an hour … Read the rest

May 21, 2019 Off

Bringing tech efficiencies to the agribusiness market, Silo harvests $3 million

By Jill T Frey

Roughly $165 billion worth of wholesale produce is bought and sold every year in the U.S. And while that number is expected to go up to $1 trillion by 2025, the business of agribusiness remains unaffected by technology advancements that have reshaped almost every other industry.

Now Silo, a company that recently raised $3 million from investors led by Garry Tan and Alexis Ohanian’s Initialized Capital and including Semil Shah from Haystack Ventures, angel investors Kevin Mahaffey and Matt Brezina and The Penny Newman Grain Company, an international grain and feed marketplace, is looking to change that. 

Silo’s chief executive, Ashton Braun, spent years working in commodities marketplaces as a coffee trader in Singapore and moved to California after business school. As part of the founding team at Kite with Adam Smith, Braun worked on getting off the ground Kite’s software to automate computer programming, but he’d … Read the rest