AI Is Now

Artificial Intelligence: The new mobile?

Back in the pre-iPhone era, investors would rally around the word ‘mobile’ as the ‘next big thing’. It was clear that mobility and doing things on small-screen devices would affect the lives of many for years to come, but what wasn’t clear was how. How were applications going to get smart enough to add value on the go? How were web standards going to evolve fast enough to accommodate all the different kinds of devices available in the market? Which platforms across the myriad of non-compatible platforms (Symbian, WinCE, RIM, Java etc), should developers invest their time?

What happened, we all now know as history… the iPhone set the bar for mobile devices and subsequently also created the app experience to enable walled-garden brand experiences, services, and products. Over the subsequent years, frameworks, APIs and other building blocks were built that enabled the quick development of apps and web apps to create the responsive and app-economy we all now take for granted as part of the offering for any new startup/service at launch. Two major platforms have created the landscape of mobile, iOS and Android, and everything else is mostly now built on that.

‘A vehicle for enablement that will be part of our daily lives in the very near future’

I believe the same is bound to happen with AI. In many ways it is tempting to think of it as a ‘standalone’ sector. However, in spite of the attention it is getting as one in the short term, I don’t believe it is in the long term. Rather, like mobile, it is fundamentally a vehicle for enablement that will be part of our daily lives in the very near future. As such, where the real development will take place will be in different verticals that will be disrupted or enhanced as part of AI’s evolution; the data sets, the algorithms, sdk’s and api’s becoming widely available, and a few major platforms, perhaps those being created by the likes of Google’s, Microsoft, IBM’s, or Amazon’s will become the foundation for the industry, similar to how iOS and Android dominated in the mobile space.

Our investments in companies using AI

At Seedcamp, we’ve been working on investing in companies across the value chain that are changing different sectors. In how to identify theft risk, we’ve backed Third Eye, which allows security staff, augmented with computer vision, to identify threats. We’ve backed Viz.ai,which allows doctors to detect anomalies in ultrasound scans far faster than would normally be possible. We’ve backed Beagle who are changing the legal landscape by identifying risk areas within legal circumstances as well as companies like AiBuild who are using a combination of computer vision and machine learning techniques to increase the accuracy and robustness of 3D printing robots. We’ve backed a couple of stealth companies (for now) in the cybersecurity space that are working on identifying network level attacks as well as transactional attacks within a company’s infrastructure. We’ve invested in companies that automate business processes such as UIPathand, lastly, we’ve backed companies that own and manage large data sets which companies will rely on for their AI-based tools in the future.

While at the moment we are finding our personal experiences with AI enhanced through first version services such as Siri/OK-Google/Amazon Echo (virtual assistant), chatbots e.g Facebook, Hedge funds/high frequency trading, cyber security — ie darktrace, OCR (optical character recognition), we believe we are just at the very beginning of this revolution, with far more daily tool integrated services to come.

These services will just get better and better as we rely more and more on algorithms which squeeze out the inefficiencies in our human-based decisions and will deliver us a far more personalized experience in our day-to-day lives than any of the current generation products/services can offer.

Want to learn more about AI? Attend our event in partnership with Northzone on 23rd November to hear more from experts in this space and pitches from startups applying artificial intelligence to their businesses.

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A chat with Werner Vogels, CTO and VP at Amazon

Werner Vogels, CTO and VP at Amazon and a world-leading expert on scalable systems, didn’t have the traditional entry into tech one might expect.

Responsible for driving Amazon’s technology vision, which is to continuously enhance innovation on behalf of Amazon’s customers at a global scale, Werner is one of the architects behind Amazon’s approach to cloud computing, Amazon Web Services (AWS).

Tune in to my 100th podcast special for a deep-dive on Werner’s fascinating and varied journey from studying Computer Science aged 28 and a 10 year career in academia, to co-founding his own business before starting his first “real job” at Amazon in 2004.

Learn more about the core pillars that uphold Amazon’s approach to hiring, team work and commercialization as well as how a relentless focus on customer centricity guides all product development.

With references to Seedcamp-backed companies such as TransferWise — improving customer experience and disrupting staid industries such as financial services — hear Werner’s thoughts on the need for enterprise to innovate to compete with younger companies or risk going out of business.

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Podcast Catchup — Product development, Acquisitions, Leadership, and Corporate VCs

In these series of podcasts since my last update, we covered quite a wide range of topics. Chatting with Sitar, we explored what a product led company looks like…

With Chrys, we covered leadership, corporate VCs and enterprise investments.

With Nic we covered the evolution of the European ecosystem and company development.

With Hugh, we covered the ins and outs of how companies are purchased by larger players worldwide.

And lastly, with Alex, we covered a range of topics, but also how to best work with Corporate VCs and setting your company up for acquisition.

Hope you enjoy them!

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