Everything you need to know about innovation

[Decode CarTech] How Much Can Autonomous Cars Learn from Virtual Worlds? / How big data is transforming the automotive industry?

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How Much Can Autonomous Cars Learn from Virtual Worlds? By Evan Ackerman

To be able to drive safely and reliably, autonomous cars need to have a comprehensive understanding of what’s going on around them. They need to recognize other cars, trucks, motorcycles, bikes, humans, traffic lights, street signs, and everything else that may end up on or near a road. They also have to do this in all kinds of weather and lighting conditions, which is why most (if not all) companies developing autonomous cars are spending a ludicrous (but necessary) amount of time and resources collecting data in an attempt to gain experience with every possible situation.

In most cases, this technique depends on humans making annotations to enormous sets of data in order to train machine learning algorithms: hundreds or thousands of people looking at snapshots or videos taken by cars driving down streets, and drawing boxes around vehicles and road signs and labeling them, over and over. Researchers from the University of Michigan think there’s a better way: Doing the whole thing in simulation instead, and they’ve shown that it can actually be more effective than using real data annotated by humans.

How big data is transforming the automotive industry? by Gary Eastwood

The rapidly expanding Internet of Things (IoT) is seeing more and more devices connected to the internet. Traditionally, these have been biometric wearables, home appliances and audio-visual equipment. Automobile manufacturers, however, are making a play to corner this market for their own ends.

Entrenching Wi-Fi into automobiles opens an entirely new avenue of pursuit that entails vehicles communicating directly with the internet for GPS navigation, email and music streaming, for example.

By 2020, the connected car market report states that connected car services will account for approximately $40 billion annually. These services include infotainment, navigation, fleet management, remote diagnostics, automatic collision notification, enhanced safety, usage based insurance, traffic management and, lastly, autonomous driving. The root of these applications is big data, as increasing amounts of data are collected from remote sensors; this information is being interpreted and leveraged to transform the automotive industry into one of automation and self-sufficiency.

[Decode HealthTech] Looking at big data in business and medicine / Emma Watch, a wearable that counters Parkinson’s tremor / Colonoscopy performed by capsule robot

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Looking at big data in business and medicine, by Akhilesh Pathipati

In any educational environment, there’s a set of buzzwords that create a common vocabulary. Medical students constantly hear about “bench-to-bedside research,” “evidence-based medicine,” and “compassionate care.” Meanwhile, business school students can’t stop talking about “aligning objectives,” “disruptive innovation,” and of course, “synergy.”

One of the most frequently used phrases in both schools is “big data.” The idea is that with bigger, faster computers and new analytical techniques, we can now sift through vast amounts of information to generate new insights.

Watch Microsoft demo Emma Watch, a wearable that counters Parkinson’s tremors, by Emil Protalinksi

Smartwatch shipments rebounded slightly at the start of this year, but they are still very much niche products. Their biggest potential is in regards to health, from getting everyone to take more steps all the way to helping counter specific diseases. Microsoft’s Emma Watch, probably the most inspiring demo shown off at the company’s Build 2017 developer conference today, falls into the latter category.

Colonoscopy performed by magnetically controlled capsule robot by Rich Haridy

A colonoscopy is still the most effective way for a physician to diagnose a variety of colorectal diseases. The procedure, completed under sedation, is a mildly invasive and unpleasant process that many patients tend to delay due to concern over discomfort. But new research has paved the way for a capsule-sized robot to take over these procedures in the future, making the diagnostic and treatment process quicker and easier.


[Decode Entrepreneurs] How VC assess a pitch / The Best and Worst Ways to Connect With VCs / Pay your respects to dead tech companies

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How Venture Capitalists Really Assess a Pitch – HBR

Before Lakshmi Balachandra entered academia, she spent a few years working for two venture capital firms, where she routinely witnessed a phenomenon that mystified her. The VCs would receive a business plan from an entrepreneur, read it, and get excited. They’d do some research on the industry, and their enthusiasm would grow. So they’d invite the company founder in for a formal pitch meeting—and by the end of it they’d have absolutely no interest in making an investment. Why did a proposal that looked so promising on paper become a nonstarter when the person behind the plan actually pitched it? “That’s what led me to pursue a PhD,” says Balachandra, now an assistant professor at Babson College. “I wanted to break down and study the interaction between the VC and the entrepreneur.”

The Best and Worst Ways to Connect With VCs by Larry Kim

Wow, I can’t believe just over a month ago I quit my job. I knew it was time.

Since then, I’ve been focused on raising money for my new startup company. That has meant a lot of travel time. I’ve been flying back and forth between the east and west coasts, pitching my startup to VCs.

It’s remarkably hard to get VCs to take a meeting with you, especially if you’re hoping to meet with top-tier investors. Which is kind of ironic, since their whole job is to meet with entrepreneurs.

So how to you connect with VCs in the first place? Here are the best and worst ways to do it.

Pay your respects to dead tech companies at the Startup Graveyard by MATTHEW HUGHES – The Next Web

An innovative idea. Funding. Hype. Positive press. Kick-ass leadership, and a talented technical team. All of these things are vital for startup success. But they don’t guarantee it.

There are lots of companies that looked promising, but ultimately collapsed under the weight of their own aspirations, or because they lacked a decent business model.

Hoping to serve as a memorial to these late companies is the Startup Graveyard. Scroll through it and you’ll see some names you’ll recognize, like RDIO, 99dresses, Exec, and Secret.

Click through, and Startup Graveyard gives you a bit of biographical information about the company, like what it did, how much it raised, its competitors, and who founded it.

It’ll also give you a list of reasons why the company ultimately failed, taken directly from the founders themselves. No conjecture, and you learn hard lessons without having to pore through countless Medium posts.

[Decode VC] VC is a team Sport / Are European VCs too Risk-Averse? / Why VC’s are obsessed with large outcomes?

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VC is a team sport – Mike Maples

The venture business has a lot of folks who talk a good game…but this is because it is in fact a humbling game. The LPs who invest in venture funds want awesome returns but very few VCs deliver them. Most venture firms are lucky to have even one great investing partner…yet even these rare groups force the LPs who invest in them to buy “the bundle” of multiple partners rather than the true money-makers.

At the same time, the truly great firms understand VC is a team sport.

Are European VCs too Risk-Averse? Ventech

“VCs do not want to take risks” is an often-heard criticism expressed during start-up conferences or wherever VCs meet with entrepreneurs in more relaxed settings. There is however an inherent paradox in this statement since suggests that VCs have somehow managed to grow out of their risk-taking nature and found a magic formula on how to make a good living on risk-free investment decisions.

Why VC’s are obsessed with large outcomes ? – Fred Destin

VC’s get put on pedestals all the time, called legendary at the first sight of a decent exit whilst they glide around town deciding which entrepreneurs deserve their funding. Pretty much everyone who’s been into the venture game long enough got involved in some notable success that allows him or her to seduce the press and maintain a perception of greatness, warranted or not. Entrepreneurs for their part are either amused or annoyed at the giant exit numbers that VC’s drop like calling cards.

But the reality is often very different. It’s REALLY challenging to make the venture model work.

[Decode AI] Is This AI or BS? / The Great AI Recruitment War / The mind in the machine

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Is This AI or BS? Artificial Intelligence Is All the Rage, but Sometimes It’s Just Hype – Adage

It seems like artificial intelligence is everywhere. No longer the stuff of Ridley Scott and Stanley Kubrick flicks, AI has rapidly wormed its way into everyday news coverage and real-world business conversations. Since last April alone, the amount of published articles, blog posts and multimedia content featuring the words “AI” or “Artificial Intelligence” has more than doubled, according to Factiva.

Talk of AI often centers around life-altering technological advancements such as driverless vehicles or genomic medicine. But the ad and marketing tech industry, always willing to capitalize on a trend, has joined in with a flood of new digital ad and marketing platforms and services branded as AI-fueled technologies.

The question is whether marketing AI is the real deal, or just marketing of its own.

The Great AI Recruitment War: Amazon Is On Top, And Apple Is Almost Nowhere ToBe Seen – Forbes

When Matt Zeiler finished his PhD in machine learning from New York University in 2013, the tech giants came scrambling.

While he was graduating, the young artificial intelligence researcher won the ImageNet competition, which pits teams against each other for who can get the best image recognition. His team beats outs giants like Google. His teammate, the NYU Professor Rob Fergus, was quickly picked up by Facebook, and the tech giants were hungry for Zeiler too. Google, where Zeiler had previously interned, offered him a position, but so did Microsoft, Apple and Facebook. A bidding war started.

The mind in the machine: Demis Hassabis on artificial intelligence – Financial Times

The co-founder of DeepMind explains how AI will help us make unimaginable leaps in understanding the world

[Decode Entrepreneurs] Truth about pitching your startup in silicon Valley / Creating Simple Rules for Complex Decisions

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Truth about pitching your startup in silicon Valley – The Refiners

There are people in this world who are great at pitching and people who simply aren’t.

Engineers and developers generally…aren’t. Sorry about it.

Another tidbit – your startup’s Co-founder or CEO probably wasn’t great either.

With that said, I can’t imagine being a foreigner who not only has one shot to pitch it right but having done so in English.

Wait, I actually do.

In this article, I promise to give you prime intel from my experience of how it is to not only pitch your startup in Silicon Valley but how it is to pitch your startup here as a foreign founder.  I’ll also throw in steps on how to successfully structure your pitch so you’re able to convince any investor in Silicon Valley as a bonus. You’re welcome.

Well, It’s actually experienced from a third person perspective.

Anyway, time for the good stuff.

Creating Simple Rules for Complex Decisions – Harvard Business Review

Machines can now beat humans at complex tasks that seem tailored to the strengths of the human mind, including poker, the game of Go, and visual recognition. Yet for many high-stakes decisions that are natural candidates for automated reasoning, like doctors diagnosing patients and judges setting bail, experts often favor experience and intuition over data and statistics. This reluctance to adopt formal statistical methods makes sense: Machine learning systems are difficult to design, apply, and understand. But eschewing advances in artificial intelligence can be costly.

Recognizing the real-world constraints that managers and engineers face, we developed a simple three-step procedure for creating rubrics that improve yes-or-no decisions. These rubrics can help judges decide whom to detain, tax auditors whom to scrutinize, and hiring managers whom to interview. Our approach offers practitioners the performance of state-of-the-art machine learning while stripping away needless complexity.

Startup Xpenditure turned down 20 VCs, but for what? – The Next Web

In the startup world, venture capitalists can find themselves treated as demigods. Feted by startup founders, by the media and by government, VC’s wield power, influence and, most importantly, money.

Alternatives to VC rounds are rarely considered. It’s expected that Series B follows A, and A follows seed. For a young startup ‘VC-funded’ is seen as a badge of honour to attract new employees and investors.

[Decode CarTech] What happens when self-driving happens

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What happens when self-driving happens by Nabeel Hyatt

A couple weeks ago I spoke to a working group of economists and climate change experts in Norway about what’s happening right now in autonomous driving: how fast it’s likely to go mainstream, the effects it might have, and the opportunities this creates both in government and in business. Below are my remarks.

Imagine what it must have felt like to be in a major urban center like New York or Boston in the early 1900s when, in a sea of horses and humans, the first automobile “put putted” past. Now imagine, if you will, three people standing nearby, with three different reactions to that event: The first, “Wow, I want to get one of those!” the second, “Wow, I want to build my own car company and make one too.” and lastly, “That thing is going to need a place to get gas.”

I believe fully autonomous driving has the potential to have as large an effect on our way of living as the car itself did. So it’s worth getting past the immediate “Wow” reactions, as well as some of the initial knee-jerk fears, and start to lay the groundwork for what’s coming next.

Seeing into the future

The image of internet-based electric BMW models autonomously picking up customers using online mobility services may seem outlandish at this moment, but will become commonplace in the next 10 years.

It is thanks to BMW Group’s innovation leadership in mobility and autonomous driving in recent years.

“BMW wants customers to experience premium mobility in both an individualized and emotional way,” said Harald Kruger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.

“Our goal is sustainable mobility. With our services, we are available whenever and wherever the customer needs us.”

The services are based on use of intelligent devices, including the BMW Mobility Mirror and a cloud platform that decides the best route through a virtual interface.

“BMW aims to be a mobility solutions provider for more than 100 million customers in 2025 and all areas of future mobility will be integrated as demonstrated in its centenary celebration last year in the Vision Next 100 series vehicles,” he said.

Cadillac has a secret weapon in its quest to beat Tesla at self-driving

In order for Cadillac to feel confident enough to introduce the industry’s first truly hands-free driving system to the public, the car company wanted to be sure it had enough data on the US highway system before it launched. How much data? Well, all of it.

To do this, Cadillac didn’t deploy a fleet of camera-mounted vehicles to record footage of the nation’s highways, like Google does for Street View. Nor did it rely on “fleet learning” like Tesla, in which many vehicles operating on the same software work together to build a more detailed map. Instead, Cadillac used vehicles equipped with high-powered LIDAR sensors to build a highly detailed map of the US highway system.

[Decode AI] Artificial Intelligence Market Overview, How Companies Are Already Using AI…

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Artificial Intelligence Market Overview and Innovation Quadrant – Q1 2017

The following post highlights how Venture Scanner categorizes the Artificial Intelligence (AI) startup landscape, and presents our Innovation Quadrant showing how those categories compare to one another. The data for this post is through April 2017.

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[Decode Entrepreneurs] Airbnb, Data Science Team, Barcelona

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What Airbnb Has Discovered About Building A Lasting Brand

Fast Company recently got access to an internal study undertaken at Airbnb, which tries to quantify the impact that investing in brand-building can have on an enterprise. Precipitated by Airbnb chief marketing officer Jonathan Mildenhall—who previously was a top executive at Coca-Cola—the study’s underlying assumption is that the tech community does not understand and appreciate what brand strength delivers, and that by not leveraging that tool, Silicon Valley (for all its success) has left huge value unexploited.

Robert Safian sat down with Airbnb’s head of brand, Nancy King, and TWBA\Chiat\Day chief strategy officer Neil Barrie to discuss the internal study. An edited excerpt is below. You can find an abridged version of the study itself here.

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[Decode VC] Spotify, that’s not an IPO!

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Spotify Finally Readies an IPO…That’s Not an IPO

Music-streaming service considers a direct listing, bypassing the typical public-offering script

Music-streaming service Spotify AB is readying an initial public offering that is expected by year-end. The rub is this: It may not really be an IPO.

Spotify is seriously considering a direct listing, in which the company would simply register its shares on a public exchange and let them trade freely, according to people familiar with the matter.

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