[Trellis in SiliconANGLE] Pernod Ricard Winemakers taps Trellis to predict grape harvests with AI

Pernod Ricard Winemakers, the premium wine division of Pernod Ricard, today announced that food system artificial intelligence innovator Trellis Ltd. will provide accurate grape yield, quality, harvest timing and procurement cost prediction across Australia and New Zealand.

Read more here.

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OurCrowd Blog

[BrainQ in Forbes] Tech Experts Predict 13 Areas AI And VR Are Set To Revolutionize

No longer a niche technology, AI has become a fixture for many businesses and has a growing role in consumers’ lives. On its heels is virtual reality, which is gaining popularity across multiple applications, from employee training to entertainment to mental health recovery.

Read more here.

The post [BrainQ in Forbes] Tech Experts Predict 13 Areas AI And VR Are Set To Revolutionize appeared first on OurCrowd Blog.

OurCrowd Blog

Lumiata raises $14 million for its service to predict healthcare outcomes

Healthcare systems are always looking for ways to save money, and a startup called Lumiata has just raised $ 14 million to continue building out its service that aims to help them do it. 

The company, already backed by Khosla Ventures and Blue Venture Fund, raised its latest round from Defy.vc and AllegisNL Capital. 

The company’s software cleans up healthcare data sets and then analyzes them to look for underwriting risks and cost savings for healthcare payors and providers.

The company said it would use the money to accelerate investment in new products and services, along with sales and marketing. It expects to open new offices in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2021.

“Lumiata excels at building trusted relationships with its customers,” said Dalbir Bains, FGC Health’s chairman, president and CEO, a Lumiata customer. “They have delivered results that help us manage consumer risks for co-morbidities. Our long partnership means that we can depend on them long-term to help us manage our pharmacy business.”

Products help businesses manage underwriting and clinical costs and risks for decision support.

Startups – TechCrunch

4 experts predict what 2021 might hold for the startup ecosystem of Amsterdam

amsterdam startups in 2021

In the startup-world, we love to talk about disruption and never has there been more disruption than in the year 2020. Needless to say, not all of it came from startups and not all of it was the good kind. So what about the next year? What does the year hold for the ecosystem, as predicted by the experts?

The Amsterdam startup-scene in 2021

Four people with deep knowledge and insights in the Amsterdam startup-ecosystem tell us about what they expect to happen in the coming year: Jan Andriessen, a partner at Amsterdam-based VC-fund HenQ; Bas Beekman, program director of StartupAmsterdam; Myrthe Hooijman, Director of Policy and Governmental Affairs at Techleap.nl and Kauan Von Novack, the Managing Director at Startupbootcamp.

Growth sectors in the Amsterdam startup-scene

I believe clean energy is going to be huge in the coming months”, says Startupbootcamp’s Von Novack. “The tide is turning politically and funding-wise, there’s mature technologies and experienced players by now, not to mention real impact in people’s lives.” He also predicts a strong recovery in ridesharing and massive growth in startups working on electric mobility solutions. “Last, but not least: I think there is a lot of space for micro-financing, micro-credit and any-time of fintech initiatives to support SMB’s and SME’s to recover from the COVID crisis.”

Fintech is also where Techleap’s Hooijman sees a lot of potential. And that means jobs, she says: “eCommerce, FinTech, and Food have already shown resilient growth during the first months of the Corona crisis. Overall, startups continue to be the number one job growth engine in the Netherlands. Startup jobs are growing faster than any individual sector. Even in 2020, there was a resilient growth despite Covid-19. “

StartupAmsterdam’s Beekman sees similar sectors grow rapidly in the coming year: “It will not be an easy year from an economic point of view, that’s for sure, but Amsterdam has a very diverse economy. If you zoom in on the tech sector, I think that companies in Healthtech, Biotech, Cleantech (climate economy), food, mobility and logistics have a chance to show growth in 2021.”

‘It’s usually a surprise’

For HenQs Andriessen, growth is not limited to a sector. It’s about the people: “One clear factor in Amsterdam is the maturity of several high growth companies such as Adyen and Thuisbezorgd, Backbase and Mollie. So I would look for people who played a role in building these companies and ran into problems or challenges that they think they can solve better when running their own company. Which sector that will be? That’s usually quite a surprise.” 

For instance, Andriessen explains that smart employees in a disruptive B2C food company can run into problems with invoicing, which leads to a brand new B2B fintech. “But these people have been exposed to the right way of building a company and they are aware of what is state of the art in the tech industry. This combination has created many successful companies before.”

The year of a new cloud-generation

With those growing areas of the ecosystem in mind, how will Amsterdam’s ecosystem evolve in 2021? 

Andriessen believes, “that the cloud market is maturing. Most enterprises have made the switch from on-premise to cloud software. However, a lot of ‘first generation’ cloud software is high on functionality but was never really built for your employees who are the actual target user. We love companies that address this opportunity and are part of the second generation of cloud providers that do not just provide functionality on paper, but know how to build a great product that will be used.”

Hooijman is looking at the broader picture when it comes to startup trends in Amsterdam: “Startups and tech trends don’t limit themselves to a city. When we talk about technology that will change the future and impact the economy, we are talking about deep-tech, where technologies like AI, blockchain, and data science meet physical components, such as robotics and sensors, to provide solutions for the major problems we face. Whether that be climate change, healthcare or mobility, and transport. One of the biggest challenges is how to attract and retain the right talent, and organise a quantitative and qualitative talent pool that matches the needs of scaleups. 

Digitisation and the return of tourism

Beekman focuses on the digitisation of businesses, to make sure they are future-proof: “Not so much a new trend, but very important in times like these: in recent months we have been working on setting up a major program to help SMEs with the necessary digitization they have to make, the so-called MKB Digitaliseringsoffensief (SME Digitization Offensive), which will start at the beginning of 2021. We are looking for startups that can help with that important task, whether it concerns remote working, or digital security, payment methods, use of AI and so on.”

At Startupbootcamp, Von Novack is pretty clear about what he considers the most important trend: “Sustainability, for sure. Building back but in a better way is key. I think governments, corporations, investors, SMEs, everybody will be very critical of consumption choices.” He also predicts another trend, that many Amsterdammers will probably not like. Tourism will come back, big time. “All that locked up energy will come in full force during summer or winter breaks. Startups building value props now for the Tourism 2.0, can reap the benefits.”

Diversity and inclusiveness in 2021: serious business

Part of the growing consciousness in the businessworld is an increased focus on diversity and inclusiveness. StartupAmsterdam is launching RISE Female Hub to take action, says Beekman: “The aim of this action program, which will start at the beginning of this year, is to stimulate more attention for female entrepreneurship and women in tech, in the city and ultimately to get more diversity, including more women with an ethnic background, into the start-ups.”

Von Novack says there is no other way, “And not only from the social angle of diversity and inclusion, but from the top-line angle as well. If Amsterdam companies want to grow exponentially in other markets and countries, they must include different points of view and cultures into their decision making, otherwise they run the risk of making cultural and market assumptions which are very dangerous.”

Read also: With female founders receiving hardly any funding, Amsterdam’s push for diversity continues

For Techleap, diversity and inclusion is a key focus area, partly proven by their work with Fundright, says Hooijman: “The technology sector is predominantly male, and that causes limitations in the innovative ability of the ecosystem. Research shows that a more diverse ecosystem is a more productive ecosystem, so we must work to promote balance, diversity, and inclusivity. As the capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam can take a lead on some of the best practices.”

Andriessen would like to see these topics go beyond mere talk: “Rather than making this a mission statement item and sticking to words only, I hope diversity and inclusiveness will be put into action and be part of hiring and performance management of all VC’s and startups.”

Connection within the city and beyond

Besides making new years’ resolutions, the beginning of a new year is also a good moment to make a wish. What Hooijman would like to see change in Amsterdam is a more connected ecosystem in 2021: “It is essential to flourish. As Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands, ànd a best practice example on building a vibrant startup ecosystem, it would be great if Amsterdam reaches out even more to other regions in the Netherlands and they act as one ecosystem together.”

Von Novack hopes for something similar too: “A broader and more united network of founders and support organizations. For a city of its size, Amsterdam is quite fragmented so you encounter founders in the same sub-industry that have never even heard of each other. Some level of coordination would help the players be more connected and competitive in the global market.”

Remember in-person meetings?

Meanwhile, Beekman hopes the city and its people come out of the crisis all right: “The current crisis will cause more and more people to lose their jobs in sectors that will be hit hard. I think that after retraining and upskilling, many of these people can work for the fast-growing tech companies in the city. We are busy setting up a talent ecosystem guide that will connect tech companies, knowledge institutions and start-up academies and make it easier for people without a job to get started in the start-up ecosystem.

Finally, Andriessen articulates what everyone in the pandemic-weary world is currently craving for: “Even though we do just as many deals remotely as in person, I miss the face-to-face meetings with portfolio and prospect investments. I hope we can meet again in person!”

Startups – Silicon Canals

Cosmose AI lands €12.5 million Series A to help stores predict foot traffic

Warsaw and Shanghai-based Cosmose AI, the platform that predicts and influences how 1 billion people shop offline, today announced the completion of a €12.5 million Series A investment round, valuing the company in excess of around €83.4 million. The Series A round was led by institutional capital from Tiga Investments, OTB Ventures and TDJ Pitango, supported by a number of ultra-high net worth individuals in Asia.

Founded in 2014, Cosmose harnesses anonymous mobile user IDs and high precision location data to empower some of the world’s most prominent companies including LVMH, Richemont, Walmart, L’Oreal and Samsung. The Cosmose platform gathers anonymised data on consumer behaviour to help retailers inform their sales and advertising strategies, retain their customer base and improve the shopping experience of customers in their stores. 

Following their seed funding in 2019, today’s Series A reflects the business’s commercial momentum with retailers in Asia in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and the easing of local lockdown restrictions. Earlier this year, the Cosmose platform gathered data from over 360,000 stores – including over 600 luxury and beauty brands and major shopping malls in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau – to assess how brands can recover from the fall in retail as a result of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. 

In recent months, Cosmose has entered commercial engagements with Marriott and Walmart to help them understand offline shopping habits and drive footfall. During that time, Cosmose has expanded its operations to Japan, partnering with Japan’s leading e-commerce company to offer Cosmose’s technology to its clients and bring seamless retail experience.

The Series A round was led by investors in Cosmose’s growth markets in Asia and supported by investors in its engineering base in Eastern Europe. New capital has been raised from Tiga Investments, founded by Raymond Zage and based in Singapore. Ultra-high net worth individuals from India, Israel and Singapore have joined the Series A round, underpinning the broad appeal of Cosmose’s platform and validating opportunities for geographic expansion. The Series A round was also supported by TDJ Pitango and OTB Ventures, the largest dedicated technology VC firm in Central and Eastern Europe, which led Cosmose’s seed funding in 2019. The world-class engineering team at Cosmose is based in Warsaw, Poland and includes four world championship programming medalists (ICPC, IOI, TCO). Cosmose growth teams are located in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Tokyo.

Today, Cosmose gathers insights from over 1 billion smartphones and 360,000 stores. By 2022 the company aims to expand its ecosystem to over 2 billion smartphones and 10 million stores across Asia. Later this year Cosmose will launch its product in Southeast Asia, followed by Middle East and India. In light of these growth opportunities, and commercial momentum in Asia, Cosmose is expecting to breakeven and generate profit in 2021.

Miron Mironiuk, CEO and Founder of Cosmose AI, said: “Today is an important milestone for Cosmose and a big boost for retailers looking for ways to recover from the pandemic. At Cosmose, machine learning is the foundation of everything we do, and I am proud that our technology can help the retail industry in this challenging environment. We are seeing great momentum across Asia and, with the backing of the world’s largest companies, I look forward to a bright and profitable future in retail.”

Raymond Zage, CEO and Founder of Tiga Investments, said: “Cosmose is a unique technology proposition at a time that retailers in Asia are craving innovation. I was attracted by the strong results Cosmose is already achieving for some of the world’s recognisable brands, while simultaneously ensuring user privacy is protected. Cosmose team is saving stores while enhancing consumer experience.”

Adam Niewiński, Managing Partner and co-founder of OTB Ventures, said “Cosmose is a European technology success story, demonstrating the potential of human capital and engineering talent. Today, accurate data insights are more important than ever before, and we are delighted to see Cosmose create value for the global retail ecosystem at a crucial time when technology can underpin a new economy.”

EU-Startups

New telemedicine service The Cusp rolls out at-home hormone test for women to predict menopause

The Cusp, a newly launched startup offering telemedicine services for women in perimenopause and menopause, is launching an at-home hormone test service that slashes the cost of in-office visits and lab tests.

Women in California can order the test at a cost of $ 159 for a telemedical consultation and test, versus roughly $ 500 for having the same test and lab work administered in a clinic, according to the company.

Unlike other, commonly prescribed hormone tests, The Cusp bases its still-to-be-clinically-validated test on new research that a key hormone measurement can help predict the time to menopause. The company is currently working with researchers to help the broader medical community validate these findings. 

Although the test may not be clinically validated, the company said that its use of “menopause specialists” with specific training in issues surrounding perimenopause and menopause can provide a more complete diagnosis of a woman’s current state and what is likely to come next based on both clinical and laboratory data.

“Menopause is very stigmatized and midlife care is a highly underserved market. We launched The Cusp to provide women with a new model of care during this stage of life so women can optimize their health,” said The Cusp, chief executive, Taylor Sittler. “Our focus begins with perimenopause treatment, as early care can lead to healthier outcomes.”

The company said that the test is best for women experiencing early signs of perimenopause, typically between the ages of 42 and 50.

“Throughout my career I’ve been focused on the intersection of women’s health, menopause and breast cancer. It was shocking to me how little information is out there for women, so I worked with national committees helping establish guidelines for managing menopause symptoms and sexual functioning in cancer survivors,” said Dr. Mindy Goldman, director of the Gynecology Center for Cancer Survivors and At-Risk Women Program at UCSF, and a physician working with The Cusp . “I’m thrilled to be a part of  The Cusp, as we are on the front lines providing women with comprehensive diagnostic tools and personalized care so that menopause can be faced head-on and managed with a multi-pronged approach that can include medical interventions, naturopathic solutions and/or hormone replacement therapies.”

The company is providing care to roughly 75 patients, and is growing its membership rapidly. With its recent launch, The Cusp has joined startups like CurieMD, Elektra Health and Geneve, which are all focused on providing medical services to women in perimenopause and menopause.

To date, the company has raised $ 4 million from investors, including HomeBrew, Village Global and individual investors like Katie Stanton and Megan Pai.

Sittler, a co-founder of Color Genomics, sees an opportunity in applying new diagnostics tests and technology to treating women as they enter menopause.

The Cusp charges an initial $ 210 for tests and the first three months of care and then an additional monthly fee of $ 72 per month.

“Being able to provide these personalized solutions that involve proprietary technologies… we would love to get into newer treatments… once we get a few zeros to our member number… there’s an initial advantage that we have in terms of the integration we’ve already done and the advantages that we have,” said Sittler.

Startups – TechCrunch

UK startup NumberEight raises a €2 million seed round to predict consumer behaviour

UK-based NumberEight, a contextual intelligence platform for mobile devices that predicts consumer context to deliver the right content at the right time, has closed a €2 million seed round led by Nauta Capital.

NumberEight leverages advanced context recognition, artificial intelligence, and signal processing techniques to produce over 100 contextual insights such as “travelling to work on a bicycle” to provide mobile apps with real-time behavioural and situational consumer insights.

Their online dashboard takes these real-time events, anonymises and correlates them with in-app activity to empower its customers to deliver context-driven, real-time personalised experiences to the user.

Founded in 2016, the UK-based company was founded on the back of co-founder and CEO Abhishek Sen’s research into signal processing and recommender systems at TU Delft and after working in mobile companies including Apple, Palm, and BlackBerry.

CEO Abhishek said: ”The idea of NumberEight started by asking a simple question: why can’t my sophisticated smartphone automatically recommend music to me based on my current mood and activity?

For technology to truly be transformative, machines need to become more like humans, and not vice-versa. As we interact with more devices around us, empowering devices with the cognitive ability to think for themselves, without compromising our privacy, is paramount. This is what contextual intelligence is. It unlocks the ability for companies to deliver hyper-personalised and relevant experiences across all devices.”

“User privacy was at the heart of our decisions from day one. The common approach of collecting bulk user data for analysis in the cloud introduces difficult consent issues, so instead, we researched new algorithms that allow this advanced technology to work on humble consumer phone hardware. The hard-earned result is a platform where sensor data never leaves the user’s device, and privacy is preserved,” explains Chris Watts, NumberEight’s CTO and co-founder.

Context-based personalisation is an emerging concept within mobile computing – driven by the need to have frictionless and tailored interactions with mobile devices on one hand, while on the other anticipating user actions and behaviour when delivering content at an individual level.

NumberEight’s technology can power the entire mobile app ecosystem across various sectors, however, the company is currently focused on the €132 billion Media and Entertainment market– from music streaming and online radio to mobile gaming and advertising. Furthermore, the cash injection comes as the global COVID-19 pandemic has led to a significant increase in media consumption across all generations as revealed by Global Web Report.

The round will support NumberEight’s enhancement of its patent-pending technology, hire new engineering and commercial talent, and accelerate their business growth.

As part of the round, Nauta Capital’s General Partner, Carles Ferrer, will join NumberEight’s board. Commenting on the investment, Carles said: “NumberEight’s ability to apply edge AI and mobile sensor data to truly power real-time user context is a highly compelling proposition. Abhishek and Chris have built a best-in-class solution providing powerful consumer insights while putting privacy first. We are thrilled to join the team as they go on to scale their context-as-a service offering.”

EU-Startups