AI Startup Battle in Boston – The AI has spoken!

It is now well established that advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology have opened up new markets and new opportunities. So much so, that hearing early-stage investors preaching how AI will automate everything is not a surprise nor a far fetched idea anymore. Even though, investors are keen to admit the disruptive power of AI, they still have a harder time admitting the same when it comes to the venture capital industry itself. The idea of automating early-stage investments is slowly taking ground in the VC community, but a lot convincing still needs to be done. Thus said, and knowing the industry’s appetite for competition, what a better way than organizing a startup contest with the jury being an AI? That is why we created the AI Startup Battle, our best attempt to show the world that even VCs can be disrupted one advancement at a time.

The last edition of the AI Startup Battle took place last Wednesday (Oct. 12 2016) during PAPIs ‘16, the 3rd International Conference on Predictive Applications and APIs. Four startups competed on stage at the Microsoft New England Research & Development Center (MIT Campus) and an impartial AI, powered by PreSeries and Telefónica Open Future_ chose the winner without having humans influencing the outcome.

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Joonko, winner of the AI Startup Battle at PAPIs ’16 – Represented by Ilit Raz, CEO & CoFounder (left) and Guy Grinwald, CTO & CoFounder (right)

After being questioned live on-stage by the algorithm, the four startups were delivered a score from 0 to 100 representing their long-term likelihood of success. This edition’s winner with a total score of 89.24 is Joonko, which provides data-driven solutions to help companies improve the diversity and inclusion of their workforce. They will be offered an investment of up $50,000, an incredible place to work, access to mentors, business partners, a global network of talent as well as the opportunity to reach millions of customers.

The second place was for Cognii with a close score of 83.84, they are dedicated to improve the quality, affordability and scalability of education with the help of Artificial Intelligence. The third position went to Heartbeat Ai Technologies with a score of 70.73; they aim to design emotionally intelligent technologies and tools to help machines understand people’s feelings, needs and motivations. Finally the fourth position, was for Palatine Analytics with a score of 70.71; they help companies evaluate the current and future performance of their employees by using Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Analytics.

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From left to right: Poul Petersen (CIO at BigML), Lana Novikova (CEO at Heartbeat Ai Technologies, Miguel Suarez (Strategic Advisor at BigML), Guy Grinwald (CTO & CoFounder at Joonko), Ilit Raz (CEO & CoFounder at Joonko), Archil Cheishvili (Founder at Palatine Analytics), and Dharmendra Kanejiya (Founder & CEO at Cognii)

Following the event, Francisco J. Martin, President of PreSeries, and Cofounder and CEO of BigML said “Today was further testament to the increasing level of interest in a quantifiable, data-driven approach to evaluating early stage startups. We have been continuously improving the models that make PreSeries possible as evidenced by the variety of questions ranging from team experience and depth to prior investor interest, as well as intellectual property and current traction. Many traditional investors were skeptical when we started this journey, but we are now witnessing that a growing number of institutional investors are starting to see the merit in PreSeries’ approach. It’s safe to say our ‘crazy idea’ will move onward with an emboldened spirit”.

Stay tuned for updates on the next AI Startup Battle!

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.