Posts Tagged ‘investment’

IBM Invests in Welltok, a Health Platform Using the Power of Watson


Dan Primack of Fortune reports, “Last month, IBM committed to invest $100 million in tech startups that are leveraging Watson, the company’s famed cognitive computing platform. [Wednesday], IBM [announced] that the first portfolio company in its ‘Watson Fund’ is Welltok, a Denver-based health optimization platform. IBM is participating in Welltok’s new $22 million Series C funding round, which is being led by venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates. Also investing is Qualcomm Ventures and existing Welltok shareholders Emergence Capital Partners, InterWest Partners, Miramar Venture Partners and Okapi Venture Capital.” Read more

Microsoft’s New Head of Research on What’s Ahead

Peter Lee 2010

David Talbot of the MIT Technology Review recently wrote, “Microsoft new head of research, Peter Lee, is tasked with helping the company invent the future. His bosses hope that it will be one in which the computing giant has more than just 4 percent of the market for mobile operating systems. Lee’s strategy is to funnel resources toward technologies he believes could revolutionize our relationships with computers, mobile and otherwise. He also faces the challenge of managing an increasingly rare breed in the computer industry: a large and sprawling corporate research division. Microsoft Research currently has 1,100 researchers and engineers in 13 labs around the world, from Cairo, Egypt, to New York City.” Read more

Vestec Secures Equity Investment from Leading Middle Eastern Investor

Waterloo, ON, Canada (PRWEB) June 27, 2013 – Vestec, Inc. a leader in powerful Artificial Intelligence technologies, announced today that they have secured a significant equity investment from Prince Mishaal bin Abdullah bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. Prince Mishaal has also joined Vestec’s Advisory Board and will help guide Vestec’s growth strategy in the Middle East.

“Advances in Artificial Intelligence research are creating a powerful paradigm shift in speech technologies across different platforms and languages,” said Dr. Fakhri Karray, Vestec’s primary Founder and CEO. “We are looking forward to leveraging Prince Mishaal’s deep expertise and strong relationships to facilitate Vestec’s growth in the Middle East.” Read more

Vestec Raises $1.5M for Semantic Health Care Technologies

A new article reports, “Vestec, Inc. a leader in cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence technologies, today announced that they have secured a $1.5 million equity investment from V. Raman Kumar, founder and former CEO of MModal, the world’s largest clinical documentation company and pioneer of voice-based medical transcription… Mr. Kumar has joined Vestec’s Board of Directors as Vice Chairman and will also oversee the development of products and services for the global industry with a special focus on healthcare.” Read more

Investments That Could Work For A Smarter Web

Are you starting to feel like there’s no real winning investment strategies these days, at least for the average investor? Make some gains one month, only to lose them all the next.

Well, maybe it’s time to invest a little something in efforts that might not pay you back in dollars, but in online badges, acknowledgement of your contributions or donations, maybe even in a chance to provide input into a solution that can advance semantic web, Linked Data, or discovery technologies? Or maybe the ROI is just about feeling that you did something good.

Recently we wrote about Sebastian Trüg’s fundraiser to keep the Nepomuk semantic desktop alive, for example, which this month reached its 9000€ initial goal (though he’s still in search of long-term funding). Turns out there are – or recently have been – other opportunities to put some of your pocket change to work for a smarter and more meaningful web of data. Projects on, for instance, run the gamut from fashion ($1 to fund chic 3D glasses), to theatre (you can help launch the LA production of Spring Awakening for $10 or more), to technology.

Kickstarter builds itself as the world’s largest funding platform for great projects, and whiling away the late-night hours wandering through the crowd-funding forum, it surprised me to learn that among its successfully funded projects were efforts including, the brainchild of online travel industry pioneer Dan Whaley. This is described as “a distributed, open-source platform for the collaborative evaluation of information. It will enable sentence-level critique of written words combined with a sophisticated yet easy-to-use model of community peer-review. It will work as an overlay on top of any stable content, including news, blogs, scientific articles, books, terms of service, ballot initiatives, legislation and regulations, software code and more-without requiring participation of the underlying site.”

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Semantic Advertising: Quality Counts, Funding Grows

 A recent survey of media buyers conducted by semantic advertising vendor Peer39 revealed – as you might expect – an intense interest among that audience in page quality and quality controls on their online campaigns. Only five percent of respondents said page quality doesn’t matter, and only eight percent said they don’t currently use quality controls. For 87 percent of them, about 50 percent or more of campaigns require quality controls.

The top quality attributes for campaigns, they say, are content-rich environments (52 percent), home pages (51 percent), and user-generated content (55 percent).

UGC is a tricky problem in the online advertising space, because it adds more risk – site owners do what they can to ensure that comments don’t transgress boundaries but moderation only goes so far, or is otherwise subject to time-, resource- or cost-constraints. Not to mention that user comments that some advertisers may find inappropriate aren’t necessarily something that would be flagged as problematic by human moderators or automated systems.

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Silk Raises Nearly $500K in Funding

We recently reported on the impressive Amsterdam startup, Silk, winner of the TNW Startup Rally: “Silk is an app for the web that helps you collect, sort and view the information that you need without making you comb through the data yourself. It also allows content creators to provide their content in a more structured manner on the web. This is an app that will allow you to better navigate the semantic web seas, also known as Web 3.0.” According to a recent article, “Silk announced it has completed a €320,000 ($475,000) funding round led by Atomico, the venture capital firm led by Niklas Zennström, who also co-founded Skype.” Read more

Panel: Venture Capital Outlook – SemTech 2009 Video

Steve Bastasini, Cerebra

Eghosa Omoigui, Intel Capital
Peter Rip, Crosslink Capital
Michael S. Dunn, Hearst Interactive Media
Shawn Carolan, Menlo Ventures

After a period of caution about the viability of semantic technologies, investors seem more willing to fund semantic start-ups right now. And even with the economy in distress, semantics is managing to create excitement amongst the VCs. Semantic search has been hot for a couple of years – the possibility of finding the next Google being just too enticing – but the focus seems now to be shifting to enterprise and consumer apps where as Jim Hendler famously said "a little semantics goes a long way." Money is going into enterprise software, such as business intelligence tools, and innovative consumer apps based around social networks, smarter information filtering and productivity enhancement.

So what do the VCs want to see in the business plans for semantic start-ups now? Are there still plenty of good opportunities out there for entrepreneurs or have the best ideas already claimed their share of available capital?

Panel: Venture Capital Outlook from Semantic Universe on Vimeo.