Author: Jonathan Shieber

What an American artificial intelligence initiative really needs

TECHCRUNCH Rudina Seseri Contributor Rudina Seseri is founder and managing partner at Glasswing Ventures, an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Harvard Business School and an Executive-In-Residence for Harvard University’s Innovation Lab. More posts by this contributor The problem with ‘explainable AI’ How do we change the dynamics of the VC industry? At a high level, the American AI Initiative seems to be headed in the right direction. We absolutely need a holistic approach that considers all the various areas that are critical to building innovative AI solutions. This seems to be an underlying concept of the Initiative, as the executive order places...

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What business leaders can learn from Jeff Bezos’ leaked texts

TECHCRUNCH Joel Wallenstrom Contributor Joel Wallenstrom is president and chief executive of Wickr, a secure communications company. Before Wickr, Joel co-founded iSEC Partners, one of the world’s leading information security research teams, later acquired by NCC Group, and served as Director for Strategic Alliances at @stake, one of the very first computer security companies in the industry. More posts by this contributor Exposure of your sensitive data isn’t a bug, it’s a feature Taking the bite out of the non-malware threat The ‘below the belt selfie’ media circus surrounding Jeff Bezos has made encrypted communications top of mind among...

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Palmetto gets $20 million credit line for its solar and energy efficiency installation marketplace

TECHCRUNCH For homeowners that want to go green, but have trouble figuring out how to do it, Palmetto Clean Technologies has the answer. The company has an army of salespeople to pitch the benefits of solar power and energy efficiency, and will connect would-be clean energy consumers with financing options, installers, and software to monitor and manage their equipment. What Palmetto lacked, until the new $20 million credit line it has received from the utility-backed investment firm, Energy Impact Partners, is a way to smooth its revenues while it fronted the costs of solar panel acquisitions and installation. “One of...

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How to decarbonize America — and the world

TECHCRUNCH Ramez Naam Contributor More posts by this contributor The Ultimate Interface Is Your Brain The Green New Deal has burst onto the American stage, spurring more conversation about – and aspiration for – ambitious climate policy than at any point in at least a decade. I’m glad to see it. Suddenly, climate is on the agenda, and ambitions for climate policy are higher than perhaps at any point in US history. The Green New Deal is a resolution right now. It’s a statement of intent. It hasn’t yet progressed to the point of detailed policy proposals or legislation, which means now is the time to help craft its details. For the last decade I’ve written about and publicly spoken about innovation in clean technology and ways to address climate change. I’ve helped to lead a climate-fighting citizen ballot initiative in my home state of Washington, invested in clean energy startups, and advised on climate and clean energy policies of other nations. In that time, my views on what sort of climate policies have the most impact and have the greatest chances of winning over voters have changed. Policies that I thought were foolish a decade ago have revealed themselves to have been farsighted and effective. Policies I thought were powerful and elegant have, on closer inspection, revealed themselves to be far less effective than I believed. And the...

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BRCK acquires ISPs EveryLayer and Surf to boost Africa’s public Wi-Fi

TECHCRUNCH Jake Bright Contributor More posts by this contributor Africa Roundup: Zimbabwe’s net blackout, Partech’s $143M fund, Andela’s $100M raise, Flutterwave’s pivot Partech is doubling the size of its African venture fund to $143 million Kenyan communications hardware company BRCK has acquired the assets of Nairobi based internet provider Surf and its U.S. parent EveryLayer in a purchase deal of an undisclosed amount announced Friday. Based in Nairobi, Surf is a hotspot service provider aimed at offering affordable internet to lower income segments. BRCK is a five year old venture that pairs its rugged WiFi routers to internet service packages designed to bring people online in frontier and emerging markets. With the acquisition, BRCK gains the assets of San Francisco based EveryLayer and its Surf subsidiary, including 1200 hotspots and 200,000 active customers across 22 cities in Kenya, according to BRCK CEO and founder Erik Hersman. EveryLayer CEO Mark Summer confirmed these details with TechCrunch. Backed by $10 million from investors including Steve Case’s  href=”https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/revolution” data-saferedirecturl=”https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/revolution&source=gmail&ust=1550264079401000&usg=AFQjCNHxpQzuoH0fPB4lHfAa_bZ07Yiklg”>Revolution VC fund, BRCK plans to use its new resources to expand to an undisclosed East African and is eying options abroad. “We’re looking at Indonesia and starting our pilot in Mexico next month,” Hersman told TechCrunch on a call from Kigali. BRCK built its platform around providing internet solutions primarily in Kenya and Rwanda. In 2017, the company rolled out its SupaBRCK product and paired it to its Moja...

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Did New York lose anything with Amazon’s rejection? It’s complicated.

TECHCRUNCH Now that Amazon has said that it’s taking its ball and going home rather than deal with mean, pushy New Yorkers, outside observers are giving off the sense that the city (and its local politicians) are losing out for their recalcitrance. They’re wrong. New York City is running at about a 4.3% unemployment rate — higher than the national average of 3.9%, but a respectable number for jobs. Amazon’s promise of 25,000 jobs (high-paying jobs) may have reduced that number, but there’s no guarantee that those jobs would be filled by New Yorkers or Queens residents more specifically...

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Medivis has launched its augmented reality platform for surgical planning

TECHCRUNCH After two years of development, Medivis, a New York-based company developing augmented reality data integration and visualization tools for surgeons, is bringing its first product to market. The company was founded by Osamah Choudhry and Christopher Morley who met as senior residents at NYU Medical Center. Initially a side-project, the two residents roped in some engineers to help develop their first prototypes and after a stint in NYU’s Summer Launchpad program the two decided to launch the company. Now, with $2.3 million in financing led by Initialized Capital and partnerships with Dell and Microsoft to supply hardware, the...

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Bill Gates-backed Vicarious Surgical adds a virtual reality twist to robots in the operating room

TECHCRUNCH In an operating room in rural Idaho, doctors prep a patient for surgery. They make a tiny, thumb-sized incision into the patient and insert a small robot while across the country a surgeon puts on a virtual reality headset, grabs their controllers, and prepares to operate. While this scene may seem like science fiction now, a Charlestown, Mass.-based startup called Vicarious Surgical, is developing the technology to make that vision a reality. The company’s co-founders, Adam Sachs and Sammy Khalifa, have been developing and refining the technology almost since they met at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as undergraduates....

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