Marshall

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Austin-based VC firm Next Coast Ventures closes inaugural fund at $85 million

Texas-based venture capital (VC) firm Next Coast Ventures has announced the closure of its first fund today, revealing that it was oversubscribed by around two-thirds.<p>Founded out of Austin in 2015, Next Coast Ventures says that it will be targeting “disruptive ideas and thematic marketplaces,” with …

Uber’s new analytics tool lets restaurants better track sales and service issues

Millennial lender Upstart just raised $32.5 million to license its tech to other companies

Upstart, a nearly five-year-old online lending company that prides itself on quickly identifying people who are less likely to default on money leant them, has raised $32.5 million in fresh funding that brings its total funding to date to around $85 million. Partly, the company plans to use the …

Profit

Drone startup Lily filed for bankruptcy as preorder customers await their refunds

Over 61,000 people preordered a Lily drone, but none actually shipped.<p>The Lily drone was supposed to ship by now, but the company shut down in January before ever delivering a single one of its hyped drones to any of the over 61,000 people who preordered one.<p>Following a lawsuit by the San Francisco …

Drones

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Amazon creates Alexa Fund Fellowship to support voice technology education and research

Amazon today announced the creation of the Alexa Fund Fellowship, an initiative to fund university research and curricula related to voice technology.<p>The Alexa Fund Fellowship will fund fellows who support the development of undergraduate or graduate school programs in fields like text-to-speech, …

Amazon Echo

Apple Is Solving The Far-Field Voice First Identity Problem.

Reading Time: 5 minutes<p> Have this read to you...<p>The Apple Head Fake<p>“No one wants to watch movies on a small screen”—Steve Jobs, 2002<p>Today it was …

"Hey Spectacles What Am I Looking At?"

Reading Time: 7 minutes<p><i>Read in: [est_time]</i><p> Have this read to you...<p><b>“Hey Spectacles What Am I Looking At?”</b><p>The IPO of Snap is imminent, perhaps in the …

Revolutionizing product discovery with natural language search

Amazon has changed my life. I’m sure many of you can say the same. Particularly as I get older and my life gets busier (house, pets, kids, work, …

MomentFeed raises $16.3 million to help brands with social media marketing

MomentFeed, which helps companies customize and manage their marketing strategies, announced today a funding round of $16.3 million.<p>The Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup provides software that centralizes all of a brand’s social media accounts onto a single dashboard-like page. From there, brands …

AirMap, an airspace management platform for drones, raises $26 million from Microsoft, Qualcomm, others

AirMap, which provides an airspace management platform for drones, has raised $26 million in a Series B round led by Microsoft Ventures, with participation from Qualcomm Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Rakuten, Sony, Yuneec, General Catalyst, and Lux Capital.<p>Founded out of Santa Monica, Calif. in 2014, …

“Exit Strategy” is not an oxymoron

In some circles, it’s considered blasphemy for VCs and founders to even bring up exit strategy in the early stages of a startup. The logic is that by …

D3 introduces voice banking with Amazon’s Alexa

This offering presents a new, valuable way for banks and credit unions to connect with and serve their customers and members.<p>According to Mary …

Machine Learning

Start A Fire

Venture capital backing for fintech firms hits record in 2016

Venture Capital

Cyberon and Andes Collaborate on Voice Interface Solutions for IoT Devices

<b>Taiwan Hsinchu</b> -- <b>February 21, 2017 --</b> Conversational assistant or chatbot, an emerging application of Internet-of-Things, comprises microphones, SoCs …

Amazon says Alexa’s speech is protected by the First Amendment

Amazon has filed a motion to dismiss a search warrant for recordings from an Echo owned by a suspected murderer. Amazon argues that both its users’ requests to Alexa and the response the company produces are protected under the First Amendment. The company says it should only have to turn this data …

Privacy
MIT

Ready for ads on Alexa and Google Home?

When I search for a movie time on my phone or computer, I am presented with ads (for example, from Google AdWords). When I ask Alexa, no such ads exist. Yet.<p>The growing proliferation of voice-enabled devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home raises some interesting opportunities and challenges …

Venture Capital
H&R Block

Verizon just acquired a drone company

The telecom giant announced last year that it would start providing data plans for drones, too.<p>Verizon announced this morning that it has acquired a drone services company, Skyward, based out of Portland, Ore.<p>Skyward makes a drone management platform to help industries that use drones to plan their …

Drones

Grand Ventures announces first fund, targets Midwest startups

There’s a new venture fund in Michigan and it aims to have deep pockets. Grand Ventures is the result of longtime Michigan businessman McKeel Hagerty teaming up with Huron River Venture co-founder Tim Streit. The two came together to found Grand Ventures and an SEC filing reveals the venture firm …

Venture Capital

Aston Martin will focus on cybersecurity before developing a self-driving Lagonda

Aston Martin CEO Dr. Andy Palmer was on stage at the Canadian International Auto Show on Thursday in Toronto, kicking off the event with the North American unveil of the AM-RB 001, Aston Martin’s new hypercar. The fancy car is pretty cool, if that’s your bag (it presumably goes fast and is …

Autonomous Cars

The Voice First Abstraction Layers.

Reading Time: 3 minutes<p> Have this read to you...<p><b>Will Amazon Alexa stay dominate or does a startup have a chance?</b><p>Answer: Yes and <b>Yes</b>.<p><b>The Abstraction</b> …

Wells Fargo working on voice-based payment capabilities

Wells Fargo & Co. is developing a voice biometrics-based payments offering for consumers that will reportedly expand beyond the basic day-to-day …