PreSeries receives Partnership Award at Telco Data Analytics conference

The Telco Data Analytics conference series is the perfect occasion to witness leading industry players showcasing their innovations, success stories and strategies for the future of telecommunications. It is the place to go to uncover new trends, network with potential partners and stay abreast of opportunities and challenges facing the market. The latest edition of the European tour took place in Madrid on October 25 and 26. Major operators like Telefonica, Orange, Swisscom and other industry players such as Huawei, EMC, ip.access, Netscout, Solvatio and SAP were in attendance.

One of the highlights was the award ceremony, where BigML won the Partnership Award for its collaboration with Teléfonica Open Future_ in creating PreSeries. Preseries’ mission is to take advantage of the latest innovations in Machine Learning to transform startup financing from its current subjective form into a highly objective data-driven practice.

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Amir Tabakovic (VP Business Development at BigML) holding the prize

Thanks to Telco Data Analytics for this award. We are looking forward to establish an even more fruitful partnerships in the future!

AI Startup Battle coming to São Paulo on December 9, at the BSSML16

The Artificial Intelligence Startup Battle where the jury is an algorithm keeps on traveling around the world! We are glad to announce our next stop: São Paulo, Brazil, on December 9, 2016. This will be the third edition of a series of very exciting battles, where five AI startups compete with each other and are judged by a Machine Learning algorithm, with no human involvement.

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The world’s premiere Artificial Intelligence Startup Battle took place in Valencia, Spain, last March 2016, when Telefónica Open Future_ and BigML presented PreSeries to the world. The reaction of the audience was extremely positive! So much that the PreSeries team and Telefónica Open Future_ decided to continue with a series of battles spread worldwide. That is why we launched the second edition in Boston last October 12 at PAPIs ’16. But we still want more! This third time in São Paulo, Brazil.

Apply to compete!

The worldwide interest in Machine Learning makes Brazil’s economic capital São Paulo the perfect South American stop to organize the next AI Startup Battle. If your startup applies Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning as a core component of your offering, we invite you to compete in the battle! Submit your application and if you are selected, you’ll be able to pitch on stage, make connections at the conference, and get unique exposure among a highly distinguished audience.

Five Artificial Intelligence startups will be selected to present their projects on stage on December 9 at the closing of the Brazilian Summer School in Machine Learning 2016. These five startups will be automatically judged by the Machine Learning algorithm of PreSeries that will predict the probability of success for each startup.

The winner of the battle will be invited to Telefónica Open Future_’s acceleration initiatives to enjoy the access to the Wayra Academy (up to six months) and to Wayra services and contacts, such as training, coaching, a global network of talent, as well as the opportunity to reach many Telefónica enterprises in Brazil and abroad. After six months the winning company will be evaluated and may apply to run for a full Wayra acceleration process, including up to a US $50,000 convertible note loan (versus a possible 7 to 10% equity). Microsoft will also contribute to the prize of the winning startup with US $120,000 in Microsoft Azure credits to be consumed in two years. The winner will receive a BizSpark Plus stamp, an upgrade of the Microsoft benefits for startups offered in Azure, access to its software platform, and the opportunity to connect with investors and other businesses.

Competition details

WHAT:

  • Artificial Intelligence Startup Battle.

WHEN:

  • Friday, December 9, 2016 from 06:00 PM to 07:30 PM BRST.

WHERE:

  • VIVO Auditorium (Telefónica Building). Av. Engenheiro Luís Carlos Berrini, 1376 – Brooklin, São Paulo – SP, 04571-000, Brazil.

APPLICATION PROCESS:

The Machine Learning technology behind PreSeries

The battle is powered by PreSeriesa joint venture between Telefónica Open Future_ and BigML that uses a diverse set of public and private data about early stage startups to find patterns that help investors foresee which companies warrant a potential investment. PreSeries predictive models are built on top of BigML’s Machine Learning platform and facilitate agile data-driven decisions in combination with the worldwide funding experience of Telefónica Open Future_.

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The AI Startup Battle will meet its select audience in a very innovative context, the Brazilian Summer School in Machine Learning 2016. This event is part of a series of Machine Learning courses organized by BigML in collaboration with VIVO and Telefónica Open Future_. Read this blog post for more details.

BSSML16 is a two-day course for industry practitioners, advanced undergraduates, as well as graduate students seeking a fast-paced, practical, and hands-on introduction to Machine Learning. The Summer School will also serve as the ideal introduction to the kind of work that students can expect if they enroll in advanced Machine Learning masters.

AI Startup Battle in Boston – Meet the contenders!

If you are somewhat familiar with the world of startups today, you have probably noticed how startup competitions keep popping up all around the place. From the biggest competition to the more modest, every early-stage venture can now find its way under the spotlight. But despite their growing number, startup contests are for the most part still relying on the same approach. Meaning, carefully selected companies pitching in front of carefully selected juries.

By design, a competition’s result will reflect its jury’s subjectivity. Even when decades of research in psychology and behavioral economics show us that putting human bias at the center of a selection process might not be the best solution. For lack of better alternatives, humans are believed to be the best and only option. Yet when dealing with predicting the success of a startup, a jury will often provide you with as many opinions as there are members of the jury. In the end, the result is a consensus of opinions based on five minute presentations and handful of slides.

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Luckily, there is still hope for a more scientific approach that does not remove the fun out of the competition! Our solution? The AI Startup Battle.

The second edition of the Battle will be taking place on Oct. 12 as part of the PAPIs ’16 conference on predictive applications and APIs. Join us at the Microsoft N.E.R.D. center on the MIT campus where you’ll see live real-world & high-stakes AI judging startups.

The first edition that was previously held in Valencia in March 2016 where PreSeries’ impartial algorithm crowned Novelti, a company that uses online machine learning algorithms to turn IoT data streams into actionable intelligence. Novelti will be presenting on stage this week and kickstart the contest for this year’s participants.

Let’s have a quick look at the contenders:

Cognii: they’re developing a leading edge assessment technology to evaluate essay-type answers for online learning platforms. Their exclusive natural language processing technology can also give customized feedback, not just a score, to engage students in an active learning process and improving their knowledge retention. Cognii’s solution is offered through an API for all online learning platforms, including LMS (Learning Management System), MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course), and more.

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Joonko: The first data-driven solution for workforce diversity. It integrates into companies’ SaaS platforms and analyzes real actions in real time. The data collected is unbiased – this way, organizations can ensure that all employees get an equal opportunity to succeed in a safe, non-judgmental way. Diversity is a business problem, not just an HR one.

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Palatine Analytics: Palatine helps companies evaluate the current and future performance of their employees by using AI and Predictive Analytics. With Palatine, you can collect reliable data points by incentivizing employees through Palatine’s real-time AI-driven feedback system capturing accuracy of evaluations, recognizing strengths and weaknesses of employees, and using predictive analytics to accurately predict their future performance.

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Heartbeat Ai Technologies: The mission of Heartbeat Ai is to design emotionally intelligent technologies and tools to help machines understand people’s feelings, needs and motivations, and ultimately improve our emotional wellbeing. How? Language uniquely enables the differentiation of fine-grained emotions. The approach first teaches machines to understand fine-grained emotions from language and context. Then, it builds a broader understanding of human needs, desires and motivations.

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Good luck to all participants!

Introducing the Artificial Intelligence Startup Battle in Boston on October 12 at PAPIs ‘16

Telefónica Open Future_, Telefónica’s startup accelerator that helps the best entrepreneurs grow and build successful businesses, and PAPIs.io invite you to participate in the Artificial Intelligence Startup Battle of PAPIs ‘16, the 3rd International Conference on Predictive Applications and APIs, to be held in Boston on October 12 at the Microsoft New England Research and Development Center.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has a track-record of improving the way we make decisions. So why not use it to decide which startups to invest in, and take advantage of all the startup data that is available? The AI Startup Battle, powered by PreSeries (a joint venture between BigML and Telefónica Open Future_), is a unique experience you don’t want to miss, where you’ll witness real-world and high-stakes AI.

As an early stage startup, you will enjoy a great opportunity to secure seed investment, and get press coverage in one of the technology capitals of the world. On the other hand, attendees will discover disruptive innovation from the most promising startups in AI, as the winner will be chosen by an impartial algorithm that evaluates startups’ chances of success based on signals derived from decades of entrepreneurial undertakings.

Want to compete in the AI Startup Battle?

If you are a startup with applied AI and Machine Learning as a core component of your offering, then we’ll be happy to meet you! Submit your application and if you are selected, you’ll be able to pitch on stage, make connections at the conference, and get unique exposure among a highly distinguished audience.

Five Artificial Intelligence startups will be selected to present their projects on stage on October 12 at the closing of the PAPIs ‘16 conference. They will be automatically judged by an application that uses a Machine Learning algorithm to predict the probability of success of a startup, without human intervention.

The five startups selected to present will get a free exhibitor package at PAPIs worth $4,000 each.

The winner of the battle will be invited to Telefonica Open Future_’s acceleration program and will receive funding of up to $50,000. The winner will not only enjoy an incredible place to work but also access to mentors, business partners, a global network of talent as well as the opportunity to reach millions of Telefónica customers.

NOTE: During the acceleration program, part of the startup team should be working from one of the countries where Telefónica operates (i.e., Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom, or Venezuela).

Disrupting early stage technology investments

It only seems like yesterday when Telefónica Open Future_ sponsored the World’s first AI Startup Battle last March in Valencia, when we first introduced PreSeries to the world. The winner of this world’s premiere AI Startup Battle was the Madrid based Novelti, who scored a competition high 86 points. The event was the warm-up round to the upcoming one in Boston. This time we will find out some of the most promising early stage startups in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in North America, Europe and the rest of the world.

As a bonus, the minds behind PreSeries will take the center stage to speak about their technology architecture, e.g., the supporting data, the training of the model, and its evaluation framework. It is a rare opportunity to find out what goes on behind the scenes in delivering this innovate real-life predictive application.

Startup Battle highlights:

WHAT:

  • AI Startup Battle.

WHEN:

  • Wednesday, October 12, 2016 from 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM (EDT).

WHERE:

  • Microsoft New England Research and Development Center – 1 Memorial Dr #1 1st floor, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02142. USA.

APPLICATION PROCESS:

  • To apply to present at the battle, please fill out the application form  before September 29th. Spots are limited and will be awarded on a first come first serve basis.

ATTENDANCE:

CO-ORGANIZED BY:

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PAPIs ’16

The scenario of the AI Startup Battle could not be more innovative. The battle is part of PAPIs ’16, the 3rd International Conference on Predictive Applications and APIs. It is a community conference dedicated to real-world Machine Learning and related intelligent applications. Subject-matter experts and leading practitioners from around the world will fly to Boston to discuss new developments, opportunities and challenges in this rapidly evolving space. The conference features tutorials and talks for all levels of experience, and networking events to help you connect with speakers, exhibitors, and other attendees.

As PAPIs conference series makes its debut in the United States, there are also some changes including a pre-conference training day on October 10, 2016.  Curriculum includes Operational Machine Learning with Open Source & Cloud Platforms, where participants will learn about the possibilities of Machine Learning, how to create predictive models from data, operationalize and evaluate them.

Registration to PAPIs ’16 is separate. You can find out more details here.

A machine chooses the best startup at PAPIs Connect

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Artificial Intelligence is a fact, a machine is able to predict the success of a startup through analyzing data and asking questions. This is what happened in Valencia, where PreSeries chose Novelti as the startup most likely to succeed. This is possible due to the alliance between Telefónica Open Future_ and BigML.

The event coincided with the world-famous Valencian Fallas. The noise, gunpowder and fireworks were around the city, but the sparks were also present in the Paraninfo conference room at Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) during the first Artificial Intelligence startup battle, celebrated at PAPIs Connect. The startup battle was the perfect context to present PreSeries, a predictive platform able to predict the success of a startup in its very early stages, based on data analysis.

The two-day conference was filled with interesting talks and panel discussions presented by Artificial Intelligence experts such as Nuria Oliver, Telefónica’s Scientific Director, and Ramón López de Mántaras, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the CSIC, among others. The most anticipated moment of the PAPIs Connect conference arrived with the startup battle, featuring five contestants: Datatrics, Emotion Research Lab, Intranetum, Novelti and Restb. The originality of this event was that, for the first time in history, the winner was chosen by an algorithm, without human intervention.

The run-up to the battle was presented by MªJesús Alonso and Poul Petersen, from PreSeries. They introduced the joint venture between BigML and Telefónica Open Future_, represented by Francisco J. Martín and Ana Segurado respectively. “In the last years, we have seen that around 80% of the startups we meet fail in the first five years of development. With the implementation of this innovative and must-have technology we can mitigate the risk involved in investing in new businesses and help the startups implement a better business model to secure their future” explained Ana Segurado.

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The audience was expectant and the contestants were nervous as the moment to present their projects neared. Each had to present their company in three and a half minutes.

Five startups with five ambitious projects:

  • Datatrics. Provides a predictive marketing platform very affordable and easy to use for marketing teams.
  • Emotion Research Lab. Analyzes human behaviour through facial recognition.
  • Intranetum. Uses Artificial Intelligence to classify the knowledge and know-how from a given organization.
  • Novelti. Offers analysis in real time to detect and prevent outliers from the cloud in all devices connected to IoT.
  • Restb. Monitors, with Deep Learning technology, the content generated by users that upload their photos to online spaces.

After the presentation of each project, PreSeries platform assessed them by asking questions such as the number of funding rounds, whether the founder has lead other projects previously, or how many team members the startup has. In this context, and together with other parameters the platform already knew, PreSeries gave a score between 0 and 100 to crown the winner, which was Novelti with a clear difference compared with the second place finisher, Intranetum.

It was a great result for Novelti, who won with a score of 86/100. Marco Laucelli, its CEO and Co-founder, together with Álvaro Agea, Technology Director, received the prize from Ana Segurado: the entrance in one of the Wayra academies, Telefónica’s startup accelerator. This means to be invested by Telefónica Open Future_ and accelerated at a Wayra academy.

“Telefónica inviting us to be part of their Wayra initiative and its ecosystem is very important. On top of that, having the opportunity to present Novelti in Boston is also a great prize for us”, highlighted Marco Laucelli, CEO and Co-founder of Novelti.

Finally, as closing fireworks for this celebration where Fallas and Artificial Intelligence got together, Novelti will participate in the AI startup battle world finals in Boston, which will take place at the end of 2016.

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An important milestone for this project that thanks to Machine Learning has been chosen without any kind of human manipulation.

This post has been translated from the original post published in blogthinkbig.com in Spanish by Pablo Requejo Rodriguez. The author of the video is Melissa Hortet.

Re-thinking Early Stage Technology Venture Investing

Venture Lifecycle

Warren Buffet once famously said “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”, which is distinctly relevant as of early 2016 thanks to a very volatile start to the year in public stocks — including even the eternal favorite tech blue chips. Unicorns, those privately financed tech companies with valuations well over $1 billion, have not been able to weather the market sentiment storm either, thus being forced into the unsavory choice of down round financings to be able to keep executing on their world domination plans.

With all this activity, 2016 makes for a challenging investment climate to say the least. As pundits have heated discussions on financial news networks, investors are getting ready for another potential investment winter against the backdrop of a 7 year bull run losing steam by the day. This points out to a climate, where the easy money of years past funding startups with the right buzzwords in their pitch decks may not be a guaranteed thing in the near future. In other words, we are likely facing a conjecture requiring an elevated level of discipline in assessing a tech venture’s fitness as early in the cycle as possible.

Chances are you have read about the controversial topic of Series A crunch that have been experienced in tech investment strongholds like Silicon Valley. This phenomenon has been a direct result of the supply side expansion of early stage investment sources. As a result, the average startup has found it much easier to secure enough funding to get started. At the same time, costs associated with building a minimum viable product and testing for product-market fit have come down thanks to more flexible product development methodologies (e.g., Lean Startup), scalable and affordable cloud infrastructure services, new open source software frameworks, as well as social media engagement and content marketing powered word of mouth that took the place of paid marketing campaigns (at least in early phases of evolution). To boot, crowdfunding services have sprung up and rapidly scaled such that they have become the go to initial funding platforms for many first-time entrepreneurs in highly fragmented market segments such as e-commerce, consumer products and even consumer hardware e.g. Pebble. They also offer the added benefit of helping recruit paying beta users without having to shell out any equity. They are no panacea though, and many startups find it difficult to cross from early adopters to the mainstream side of the famous “chasm”.

You may be thinking more early stage startups are not necessarily a bad thing, albeit the truth remains that (with intense competition for later stage and growth funding a reality) building a notable company of regional or global scale is still as tough as ever. Every year thousands of metaphorical eggs are spawned only for a few to make it to adulthood after natural selection has its way with the upstream swimming bunch that have to clear one hurdle after another. This proliferation of incomers have also added to the challenge of identifying winner-take-all type entrants early enough for serious investors to be able to recoup the costs of their entire venture portfolios instead of catching those at the tail end, when the valuations are already driven sky high by less sophisticated angels and/or private equity. Without a doubt, Tier 1 VCs still have the inner track given their strong networks and the loyalties of serial entrepreneurs from their past investments. Nevertheless, the task of spotting the next blockbuster has not necessarily gotten any easier for them either.

All of this makes inquiring minds ponder “There has to be a better way!”. At Preseries we are of the opinion that it is high time for early stage investing to catch up with the times and evolve what remains a very manual, clique-driven and subjective practice. At the end of the day, it is proof enough that the current approach leaves a lot to be desired since Uber had to receive seven rejections in one week while trying to raise $150k in exchange for 10% of the company in its early days. We live in an increasingly data driven society awash with information. It is unreasonable to expect any one expert to be able to cope with this incredible amount of intelligence arriving by the minute. We need machines to step up and help us pick up the relevant signals 24/7 in order to be able to stay up to date and people, projects, companies, competition, macro-forces and the consumers at large. As hard as it maybe to imagine for some, we believe venture investing is not necessarily immune to omission from the list of skills that were formerly deemed to be only performable by human experts.

So who needs services like Preseries today? The answer is pretty straightforward: Anyone with a vested interested in picking the wheat from the chaff when it comes to early venture investing. This means private investment offices and angels, who are looking to write a check to the right team of founders. Traditional VCs that aim to zero in on worthy companies earlier than they otherwise would with their current processes. Incubators and accelerators who are looking to systematically accept applicants with the most upside to their programs. Pension funds, endowments and strategic investment fund managers who are looking to evaluate the investing chops of those private investors that they are about the trust with their contributions. Even founding teams that would like to compare and contrast how they fit in within their ecosystem on multiple dimensions.

At Preseries we don’t yet claim to have the magic formula for early stage investing 100% nailed down. Anyone claiming to be in possession of the perpetual energy machine equivalent of the technology investment management will rightfully meet rolling eyes and scrutiny. As such, that claim in itself may be crazy. But what’s event crazier to us is denouncing the value of methodically piecing together relevant traces of information hidden out there in the vast and growing knowledge graphs the web has to offer so as to better assess the outlook for any given technology startup. First augmenting, then perfecting and ultimately replacing the semi-informed yet fallible human decision making is the difficult yet very worthy journey that Preseries has officially set on today.

Preseries

And not without a bang either. PreSeries is launching at PAPIs Connect 2016, Europe’s 1st Artificial Intelligence conference for decision makers, managers, and app developers. Today’s program includes a first in history startup battle segment, where the winner will be chosen solely by the PreSeries algorithm without any human intervention. So wish the participants luck and stay tuned for more!