By AI Trends Staff
In a periodic profile of selected startups, we feature a look at DeepCube and FortressIQ.
DeepCube: Shrinking Deep Learning Models to Boost Performance
Startup DeepCube this week launched a software-based inference accelerator said to improve deep learning model performance on any existing hardware.
DeepCube was co-founded by Dr. Eli David, a professor at Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, Israel and a leading expert in the field of computational intelligence, specializing in deep learning and neural networks. He is also the co-founder of Deep Instinct, which applied deep learning to cybersecurity.
DeepCube’s chairman and other co-founder is Yaron Eitan, a serial entrepreneur who has built and supported many technology companies in the past 30 years.
Asked by AI Trends in an interview to describe the DeepCube team, Dr. David said the 15 AI researchers and developers in the company “are the best students I have ever had,” with masters and doctorate degrees.
Asked to describe the business problem DeepCube is trying to solve, Dr. David said many Fortune 500 companies are getting good results in their research on AI proof of concept projects. “Their problem is deployment, not only on the edge but in the cloud. They are paying exuberant amounts of money to execute in the cloud,” which also presents latency, bandwidth and privacy issues, he said. These obstacles are holding AI back. “You don’t see wide deployment of AI, despite all the hype,” Dr. David said.
The DeepCube accelerator reduces the footprint required by the inference engine to do its work, making it “10 times faster with less memory, resulting in a 10x reduction in the cost of computing,” Dr. David said. Using patented technology, DeepCube is said to continuously restructure and “sparsify” – to make leaner – deep learning models during the training phase. The goal is to reduce the size of the model while maintaining or improving accuracy.
Neural networks and deep learning models are becoming “heavy,” said co-founder Eitan, requiring big infrastructure investments to run. “We can provide advanced computing for a fraction of the cost,” he said.
The company’s go-to-market strategies include working with developers of AI hardware accelerators, licensing directly to enterprises who want to employ in their own environment or in the cloud. “We don’t care,” where the deployment happens, Dr. David said. The third strategy is to work with vertical solution providers, such as makers of security cameras, drones and possibly, self-driving cars.
The company has raised $10 million in the last two and a half-years.
Learn more at DeepCube.
FortressIQ Discovers Business Processes Ripe for Automation
FortressIQ offers the Process Discovery platform, incorporating AI to obtain data-driven insights about current state tasks and processes, seeking opportunities for automation. The company employs robotic process automation (RPA) techniques to generate process documentation. The company was founded in 2017; in November 2019, Microsoft announced a partnership. The company had raised $16 million prior to its latest round of $30 million in Series B funding announced this week.
In response to queries from AI Trends, CEO Pankaj Chowdhry offered some background on the company.
Asked to describe the team, Chowdhry said, “The FortressIQ team is a group of talented individuals with experience across a variety of industries and backgrounds.” Together, the team brings knowledge of AI, automation and modern technology stacks to its culture, and works to accelerate the ethical use of AI in business.
What business problems are you trying to solve? – We provide a way for companies to effectively manage their most strategic business initiatives. In order to make big shifts in an organization, companies need to know how their business operates today. Previously this was done with a team of consultants or business analysts, come at a very high cost, and would take months. This approach also lacks accuracy and completeness, as we’ve found that over half the time a process is executed it is a unique version of that specific process and questionnaires are not detailed.
How does your solution address the problem? – Our process intelligence platform provides a more thorough view of an entire organization – across every application, department, and the entire technology landscape – for less cost and in as little as a few weeks. By drilling down into each and every version of the process the insights produced also provide a level of accuracy unattainable with traditional methods.
How are you getting to the market? – We have an in-house team that sells directly to our customers as well as a partner ecosystem that helps drive direct and indirect sales channels.
Do you have any users or customers? – Yes. Over 60% of our customers are over $10 Billion in revenue, are globally dispersed, and encompass a variety of industries including financial services, retail, insurance, CPG, and manufacturing.
How is the company funded? – FortressIQ is a private company funded by some of the best names in venture capital. Our investors are: M12, Boldstart Ventures, Comcast Ventures, Eniac Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Tiger Global Management.
On the funding announcement made this week, Tamara Steffens, managing director at M12, the investment arm of Microsoft, stated, “We’re thrilled to have FortressIQ as part of the M12 portfolio. In the face of explosive data growth, automation is increasingly critical to an organization’s ability to scale and compete. FortressIQ’s capacity to identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies where automation can help is improving both the employee experience and business outcomes.”
Learn more at FortressIQ.
Cryptocurrency News From Japan: May 24 – May 30 in Review
This week’s headlines from Japan included GMO Coin exchange polling customers on their view of digital assets, Lisk opening a base in Japan, Bitflyer showing 2019 net losses, blockchain startup LayerX securing significant funding, and two entities reported successful collaborative blockchain-based securities experiments.
Check out some of this week’s crypto and blockchain headlines, originally reported by Cointelegraph Japan.
GMO Coin users pick Bitcoin over XRP
Out of 1,578 polled exchange users, 47% put Bitcoin as their top choice. XRP and Ethereum came in second and third respectively. Similar polling from 2019 found XRP as the asset of choice regarding future expectations. Roughly 70% of customers also listed hodling for the long term as their objective in crypto.
Lisk opens up shop in Tokyo
Crypto asset project Lisk (LSK) has chosen to start up a base in Japan. Lisk-related pursuits will take place at the Lisk Center Tokyo, built by the Lisk Foundation. Lisk looks to fortify its Japanese community.
Blockchain marketing outfit Binary Star also joined forces with the Lisk Foundation last month.
Bitflyer tallies 2019 losses
Financial totals from 2019 show Tokyo-based crypto exchange Bitflyer ended the year in the red. January to December 2019 posted net losses of approximately $6,967,574, in USD terms.
In contrast, 2018 yielded a profit of $49,552,350.
LayerX garners millions in capital
On Thursday, blockchain company LayerX unveiled its capital raise totals, touting $27,833,187 in garnered funds. Focused on bringing physical processes into the digital world, LayerX has secured the backing of VC firms JAFCO and ANRI, as well as YJ Capital, a Yahoo VC entity.
“Corona has exposed various issues in Japan,” JAFCO director Keisuke Miyoshi said. “It is further accelerating the big trend called DX,” Miyoshi noted, referring to the digitization of business processes. Blockchain “is not a technology keyword, but a phase of actual demand for infrastructure reconstruction,” he added.
Fujistu and BOOSTRY note successful blockchain-based securities testing
Computer company Fujitsu, and Nomura Group’s blockchain entity BOOSTRY, noted collaborative testing success of digital securities transactions.
The group has begun research to create a platform for blockchain-based digital securities trading, factoring in aspects such as membership entitlements, a Fujitsu statement said.
MIT Group Funding Shows Growing Crypto Trading Interest
Floating Point Group, or FPG, a startup delivering institutional crypto traders automation technologies, garnered $2 million of capital from several entities.
“It’s becoming clear that sophisticated quantitative traders and platform developers are viewing the cryptocurrency markets as an exciting new opportunity,” FPG CEO John Peurifoy explained in a May 28 statement.
The funding goes toward expansion
Algorand CEO Steve Kokinos, Seabury Global Markets, AngelList founder Naval Ravikant, and multiple others invested the money into FPG, receiving company stake in return, the statement said.
An outfit operating under U.S. governing bodies, FPG plans on putting the funding toward regulation approvals, as well as the hiring of engineers.
FPG caters to tech-based traders
Originally stemming from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT, FPG offers traders a one-stop shop hub for automating their trades, giving them the technology aspects they desire, in line with U.S. laws. FPG works with APIs, letting traders connect to different exchanges and platforms for trading and liquidity, the statement noted.
“As this market matures, we’ll continue to add critical pieces of the prime brokerage stack through innovations and strategic partnerships with other high quality groups to deliver a holistic experience that meets the technical requirements of algorithmic traders or other groups building trading applications.”
The startup has already facilitated over $100 million in trade volume since its inception, the statement added.
Peurifoy’s comment is only the latest indicator of growing crypto trading and investing interest. Data analytics company Digital Assets Data CEO Mike Alfred recently told Cointelegraph of 20 formerly uninvolved people contacting him with interest in the industry.
Cointelegraph is in the midst of correspondence with FPG on further details. Additions or follow-ups will come as necessary, pending responses.
Wunder Mobility launches line of light electric vehicles
Mobility technology platform Wunder Mobility announced the launch of the Wunder Vehicles product in an exclusive business-to-business (B2B) agreement with Yadea, a Chinese light electric vehicle (LEV) manufacturer. In this partnership, Yadea will guarantee the supply of LEVs for Wunder Mobility, as it attempts to introduce its line of vehicles for clients that struggle to source vehicles for their fleets.
Wunder Mobility has long remained a mobility partner to companies and governments, providing a platform that enables them to launch, scale, and monitor new mobility services, while managing and optimizing daily operations.
The launch of Wunder Vehicles lets Wunder Mobility take a step towards being a mobility service provider rather than continuing to remain a mobility facilitator. The Wunder Vehicles product provides companies end-to-end support to start a fleet-sharing service, without needing to interface with multiple industry stakeholders to launch their business.
Partnering with Yadea helps Wunder Mobility to bring state-of-the-art LEVs to fleet-sharing companies. Wunder Mobility will also gain a grip over its supply, especially while operating in a supply chain environment that is extremely volatile due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The hardware component is what makes this product possible, and we wanted a reputable and reliable partner – one that aligned with our vision and goals – to move forward with for the long term,” said Sam Baker, president and co-founder of Wunder Mobility, to FreightWaves. “Yadea is the world’s largest manufacturer of LEVs, and we knew instantly that they’d help bring additional visibility and credibility to this product.”
Baker explained that the company was specifically searching for a partner whose expertise in LEV manufacturing was up-to-par with Wunder Mobility’s experience in mobility software. At the time when Wunder Mobility contacted Yadea, the Chinese manufacturer was also looking to get into shared mobility and expand offerings to include a B2B e-moped – making it a perfectly timed partnership.
“By partnering with Yadea, we’re able to provide customers with the best mobility software to function on the back-end, and the best vehicles to leverage on a daily basis,” said Baker. “The launch of Wunder Vehicles transforms Wunder Mobility from a mobility software provider into an all-in-one mobility solutions platform. We are now a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our customers looking to launch fleet-sharing companies.”
Over the years, Wunder Mobility realized that entrepreneurs looking to establish fleet-sharing companies often deal with the issues of shipping vehicles into their markets and in financing their operations. The pandemic has also shocked the markets, with potential founders lacking direction and support to mobilize a fleet within their chosen cities.
“Wunder Mobility is an outstanding leader in the mobility space, and we’re excited to partner with them to provide customers new travel solutions for the industry in Europe and Wunder Mobility’s other markets,” said Heidi Zang, senior overseas director at Yadea. “Our goal through this partnership is to promote environmentally friendly and safe vehicles to best serve our customers worldwide and further establish both Yadea and Wunder Mobility as industry leaders.”
Existing Wunder Mobility customers will now be able to use Wunder Vehicles to launch new fleets or revamp existing fleets with Yadea vehicles. At the same time, new users will get to start new fleets with Yadea and procure hardware from other partners. Baker mentioned that ride-sharing clients like Human Forrest, lelyx and Arnab Mobility have already deployed fleets of Wunder Vehicles.
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