A|I: The AI Times – Darth Vader belongs to AI now

Darth Vader holding out a hand.
Plus: Google Ventures shelves its algorithm.

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Avidbots closes $70 million USD Series C round to grow fleet of commercial cleaning robots (BETAKIT)

While Jeneration Capital mainly invests in technology companies in Greater China, Avidbots has long had operations in Asia, spanning Singapore, Hong Kong, and mainland China. The Series C round comes more than three years after Avidbots raised a $23.6 million USD ($31.5 million CAD) Series B round. According to the startup, its total funding to date sits at $107 million USD.

AI is taking over the iconic voice of Darth Vader, with the blessing of James Earl Jones (TECHCRUNCH)

The retirement of Jones, now 91, from the role, is of course well-earned. But if Disney continues to have its way (and there is no force in the world that can stop it), Vader is far from done. It would be unthinkable to recast the character, but if Jones is done, what can they do?

The solution is Respeecher, a Ukrainian company that trains speech-to-speech machine learning models with the (licensed and released) recordings of actors who, for whatever reason, will no longer play a part.

Canadian tech must embrace Indigenous reconciliation (BETAKIT)

While Canada is often viewed globally as a thriving hub of innovation, investment, technology, and education within the digital economy, Indigenous communities and practitioners are largely missing from the conversations and spaces about the future ‘smart’ and decentralized technologies.

RPA giant UiPath had a rocky few years. Rob Enslin wants to turn it around. (PROTOCOL)

Both Databricks and Snowflake have invested heavily in real-time data pipelines, including in Tecton's latest funding round. For years, insiders say, real-time data pipelines felt like a technology that was "coming next year." It may turn out that 2022 is that "next year."

AI startup Ada cuts 16 percent of its workforce (BETAKIT)

The majority of the layoffs have impacted marketing, sales, and recruitment within the Canadian unicorn’s team. Murchison said the reductions came in response to a tightening of the economy, and an increased focus in terms of the startup’s new product strategy. However, it wasn’t immediately clear what defines Ada’s new product strategy.

Google Ventures shelves its algorithm (AXIOS)

This is a strategic sea change for one of venture capital's most data-driven firms, and a Big Tech acknowledgement that human judgement shouldn't always be automated away. Axios first reported on GV's algorithm in 2018, explaining how it had begun as a due diligence tool to aid a nascent team that had more experience in engineering than in investing.

Important financial metrics every early-stage founder should know (BETAKIT)

Ali Ladha, a virtual CFO for startups & SMBs through his company Vertical CPA, talks about these problems regularly on his Twitter and YouTube channels. In viral tweet threads and various YouTube videos, Ladha explains the financial metrics every business owner should know, how to calculate them, and how they connect to operational decisions.

Arthur.ai machine learning monitoring gathers steam with $42M investment (TECHCRUNCH)

The tooling has been resonating in the market, and today the startup announced a hefty $42 million Series B. Company co-founder Adam Wenchel told TechCrunch it’s the largest round ever given to a machine learning monitoring startup. Accuracy also means guarding against bias, and that’s something the company has been working on since we last spoke to them at the time of its $15 million Series A.

How finance teams can prepare for an IPO (BETAKIT)

In a webinar presented by Sage Intacct, Michael Lister, Leader, InsightsOfficer, at PwC, and David Appel, Head of Software and SaaS at Sage Intacct, shared the seven steps startup finance teams need to take when preparing to go public.

EU proposes rules making it easier to sue drone makers, AI systems (REUTERS)

Under the draft rules, victims can seek compensation for harm to their life, property, health and privacy due to the fault or omission of a provider, developer or user of AI technology, or for discrimination in a recruitment process using AI.

NACO report finds SAFEs on the rise in angel investment during record-breaking 2021 (BETAKIT)

This figure is more than double the $103 million in angel investment Canada saw in 2020, as the early-stage investment segment rebounded from a pandemic low fuelled by market uncertainty.

Meanwhile, angel organizations reporting deal flow information received 7,753 approaches from companies for investment last year—an 18 percent increase since 2020, and more than every other year since 2015, excluding 2017.

Intel’s self-driving car division Mobileye files for IPO (CNBC)

Mobileye’s filling indicates strong revenue growth for the Israeli-based subsidiary, from $879 million in sales in 2019, to $967 million in 2020, to $1.39 billion last year. Losses have shrunk from $328 million in 2019 to $75 million last year.

AI Data Laundering: How Academic and Nonprofit Researchers Shield Tech Companies from Accountability (WAXY)

Yesterday, Meta’s AI Research Team announced Make-A-Video, a “state-of-the-art AI system that generates videos from text.”

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Michael Edgar

Michael Edgar

Michael is a multimedia journalist working out of the U.K. and a staff writer for BetaKit.

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