Whilst it's a well known 'fact' that 9 in 10 startups fail, starting your own company isn't something to be frowned at. Amongst the percentage who do in fact go on to achieve success are the Google’s, the Microsoft’s and the Spotify's of the world. Each year we hear stories of startups gaining huge rounds of investment and going on the be acquired by large corporations, and often a key obstacle in getting your company to this stage is lack of exposure.
At each RE•WORK event, we invite startups to present their work, appear in our exhibition area, and meet industry experts and leading VCs to help provide a launchpad to catapult them to success. After all, networking and receiving advice and feedback from leading minds in your industry is invaluable.
Today we're going to take a look at some of the startups who have attended our events to see where they are now:
In January of this year, American Express announced that they had acquired the virtual travel assistant, Mezi, for an undisclosed amount. In both 2016 and 2017, their CEO, Swapnil Shinde, spoke at the Virtual Assistant Summit, sharing their work on simplifying and personalising travel with AI and chatbots. The human assisted AI bot uses AI, natural language understanding and machine learning to simplify and personalise travel for thousands of customers. Since the acquisition, Swapnil and his co-founder (and brother) Snehal, are continuing to focus on developing the core technology of the product by training the model to learn travellers’ preferences and understand the way they are making requests using natural language, getting more efficient over time.
London based Ernest.ai was founded in 2015 by Niall Bellabarba, Cristoforo Mione and Sicilia, as an AI powered personal finance manager integrated into Facebook Messenger. At the Deep Learning in Finance Summit in 2017, Niall shared their work in automation and robots in finance, drawing on ‘the good, the bad, and the ugly.’ Since his presentation about their private banker chatbot, they have been acquired by Moneyfarm, the UK ‘digital wealth manager’. Moneyfarm are going to be integrating the technology from Ernest into their own services and the bot will be used to on-board customers, analyse customer transactional data amongst other uses.
‘The real potential of Artificial Intelligence, is making everyone’s home and work environments smart.‘ Tijmen Blankevoort, Co-Founder and CTO of Scyfer presented on the future of AI through active learning at the Machine Intelligence Summit in Amsterdam last June. Scyfer, born out of University of Amsterdam, was founded in 2013 and works on creating solutions using AI for companies in multiple industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, finance and e-commerce. Soon after appearing at the summit, Scyfer were acquired by Qualcomm who have been working on AI for around a decade. Qualcomm have most recently turned their focus to device-focused solutions ‘in order to enhance reliability, cut latency and bandwidth usage while improving privacy protection.’ Scyfer’s offering of real-world AI applications makes it ideal for Qualcomm.
The conversational AI startup MindMeld was acquired by Cisco for $125 million back in July last year, soon after Vijay Ramakrishnan presented his work at the Virtual Assistant summit. Vijay returned after the acquisition and spoke in London discussing the deep learning techniques they’re using for entity recognition. MindMeld helps businesses to build conversational interfaces with cloud based services, and this was particularly interesting to Cisco as they were keen to ‘add new conversational interfaces to [our] products starting with Cisco Spark.’ MindMeld are now working with Cisco to create voice and chat assistants that will be on-command to assist with daily tasks.
The Canadian AI company focus on teaching machines to think, reason and communicate with machines, and were acquired by Microsoft in January of 2017, after confirming their participation in the Deep Learning Summit in Montreal. Layla spoke about how they’re working to teach conversational interfaces to learn in both consumer and enterprise environments from ‘speakers in our kitchens, to assistants on our phones, these conversational systems are designed to serve us through dialogue.’ Maluuba are now helping with Microsoft’s broader goal of making AI more accessible and useful to the general public.