• +598 29008192
  • info@servinfo.com.uy

Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

Israeli autonomous technology developer Innoviz is entering China’s car market

Innoviz, a developer of light detection and ranging technologies for computer vision and autonomous vehicles, is getting a toehold in China, the world’s fastest growing auto market, through a partnership with the Chinese automotive supplier HiRain Technologies.

From offices in Beijing, Chicago, Detroit, Shanghai, Tianjin HiRain serves as a global supplier to some of China’s largest automakers and has already been a gateway to success for another Israeli company developing sensing technology for vehicle manufacturers — Mobileye .

That company has half of its business coming from China and has won 9 of its supplier agreements with different automakers in the country through its HiRain partnership, according to people with knowledge of the company.

For the three year old Innoviz, the opportunity to expand its list of suppliers to include one of China’s leaders was too good of an opportunity to pass up, said chief executive officer Omer Keilaf.

“China is helping lead the way towards the autonomous vehicle future, and HiRain is one of the most influential companies in the Chinese automotive industry. Last year, around 26 million vehicles were manufactured in China, making it by far the largest automotive manufacturing country in the world,” said Keilaf, in a statement. “The HiRain team has extensive experience with driver assistance and autonomous driving systems in China and we are honored to partner with them.”

It’s the latest in a series of strategic moves for Innoviz, which already counts Aptiv, Magna International and Samsung as its partners for supplying automakers in the U.S., Europe and other international markets. The company had its first win with BMW earlier this year, and will be providing LiDAR for the automakers autonomous vehicles in 2021.

“LiDAR is one of the most critical technologies for automated driving systems, and we partnered with Innoviz because not only is its technology more advanced than other LiDAR solution, but the company has proven it can deliver on its promises,” said Yingcun Ji, the chief executive of HiRain, in a statement. “Innoviz’s cutting-edge LiDAR will help us expand our leadership position within the Chinese automotive industry and continue to blaze a trail towards the autonomous driving future.”

The opportunity to expand driverless vehicle technologies in China extends far beyond the country’s established automakers like SAIC Motors, Chang’an Motors, FAW Group and Dongfeng Motor or more recent upstarts like Geely and BYD . Technology companies including Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu all have an interest in developing autonomous vehicles, and new electric car companies like Byton, Nio, WM Motor, and Xiaopeng Motors. Some of these new companies are counting on government subsidies of $8,400 per vehicle, to bring electric, autonomous technology to China’s congested and polluted streets.

Behind HiRain and its OEM relationships, Keilaf said there were as many as 20 other development programs that the company was exposed to in China.

“We are going to sell the LiDAR in this collaboration that will let us get to the volume to drive our process and get early revenues,” Keilaf said.

When it comes to autonomous vehicle standards, China is racing ahead, said Keilaf. The country wants to get to Level 3 autonomy in most of its vehicles by 2020 and level 4 autonomy in 2021.

As for other markets, like the U.S., Keilaf said the development of autonomous vehicles will continue to happen quickly, but in very specific markets. And that the growth wouldn’t be hindered by recent fatalities caused by failures in autonomous vehicle systems from Uber and Tesla (two companies that have been aggressively pushing driverless vehicle programs).

“It makes everybody understand better what is needed to make things the right way,” Keilaf said of the accidents. “The way I see it, autonomous driving will come soon. But autonomous driving is a very big term.”

For Keilaf, autonomy is going to appear in markets like the U.S. first in specific applications like shuttles around colleges, airports, or closed communities. Simultaneously some advanced autonomous technologies will take to the roads in the form of long haul convoys for shipping and logistics, and finally in industrial applications for agriculture and mining.

Founded in early 2016, Innoviz has over 150 employees worldwide and is backed by $82 million in venture funding.

Source: TechCrunch

Europe to cap intra-EU call fees as part of overhaul to telecoms rules

European Union institutions have reached a political agreement over an update to the bloc’s telecoms rules that’s rattled the cages of incumbent telcos.

Agreement was secured late yesterday after months of negotiations between the EU parliament and Council, with the former pushing for and securing a price cap on international calls within the bloc — of no more than 19 cents per minute. Texts will also be capped at a maximum of 6 cents each, Reuters reports.

While roaming charges for EU travelers were abolished across the bloc last summer, the parliament was concerned that charges for calls and texts between EU Member States is often disproportionately high — hence pushing for the cap, which was not in the original EC proposal.

The Commission proposed a new European Electronic Communications Code back in 2016, to modernize telecoms rules that had stood since 2009 — to take account of technology and market shifts, and align the rules with its wider Digital Single Market strategy.

The proposal broadly focused on pushing for consistency in spectrum policy and management; reducing regulatory fragmentation; ensuring a level playing field for market players and protections for consumers; and incentivizing investment in high-speed broadband networks.

And on the incentivization front, the new rules agreed yesterday update the powers of national regulators to act against dominant players — such as by being able to impose access to their network.

For a case study on why such interventions might be necessary you could look at the fiber investment and network-access foot-dragging of a former incumbent telco such as BT in the UK, for example, which has long favored eking out copper. While its network infrastructure division OpenReach was last year ordered to be legally separated — around a decade after it was functionally separated by the regulator. Yet complaints over BT’s lack of investment in broadband infrastructure and access for rivals to its networks have, nonetheless, persisted.

On the consumer front, the new EU telecoms Code also includes measures intended to make it easier to change service provider and keep the same phone number; measures around tariff transparency to make it easier for people to compare contractual offers, and the ability to terminate a contract without incurring additional costs; as well as additional protections around bundled services.

For operators there are deregulation measures for co-investments — intended to promote “risk sharing in the deployment of very high capacity networks”. And the Code sets wireless spectrum licenses at at least 20 years — also intended to give carriers the “predictability” they need to speed up 5G and fiber deployments.

Though this is shorter than operators had hoped, and the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) — whose membership is made up of incumbent telcos such as BT — has been quick to voice its displeasure, describing the code as a “missed opportunity“, and complaining that it adds extra complexity while also failing to incentivize investment.

“The Code will not ignite the much needed rush to invest in 5G and fibre networks and it will add complexity to an already burdensome system,” it writes. “The agreed law foresees only limited progress on spectrum policy, a complex and watered down compromise on incentivising fibre investment, uncertain triggers for imposing regulatory remedies and no fair playing field for digital services users and providers.”

Smaller, fiber-to-the-home broadband players are sounding much happier though…

ETNO also criticizes what it describes as “the unfortunate decision to regulate intra-EU calls” — arguing this is an unjustified, populist measure, and sniping that it creates legal uncertainty by setting what it couches as “a highly dangerous precedent for all other European industries”.

That’s not the view of the European Consumer Organization, BEUC, which describes the measure as “a good next step towards a real single market for consumers”.

“Consumers should no longer have to worry about excessive costs when calling another EU country from home. The end of roaming charges was a big first step, but it did not deal with the high costs of phone calls to another EU country when at home,” its director general, Monique Goyens, told us in a statement.

“Market concentration is bad for prices and consumer choice. A small group of players should not be able to take control of the market. Thanks to what has been agreed, national regulators can take measures to intervene and maintain a healthy level of competition,” she added.

“Telecom services regularly rank among the top most complained-about markets. This new law upgrades some important consumer protection measures. Telecom clients will for instance be able to end their contract early and choose a better deal.”

And of course the Commission is putting a positive spin on the outcome, two years on from its proposal to modernize the rules.

In a statement welcoming the end of the negotiations, Andrus Ansip, the VP in charge of the Digital Single Market, said: “This agreement is essential to meet Europeans’ growing connectivity needs and boost Europe’s competitiveness. We are laying the groundwork for the deployment of 5G across Europe.”

In another supporting statement, Mariya Gabriel, commissioner for digital economy and society, described the new rules as “bold and balanced” — saying they would provide “faster access to radio spectrum, better services and more protection for consumers, as well as greater investment in very high speed networks”.

While political accord on the new telecoms code has indeed been reached between the EU institutions, members of the EU parliament and Council still need to vote to adopt it — after which the bloc’s Member States will have two years to transpose it into their national laws.

Source: TechCrunch

Synthego’s new products give scientists access to edited genetic material

Synthego, a provider of gene editing services for genomics research and experimentation, has launched a new suite of products that give researchers access to edited genetic material to make experimenting with programmable biology easier.

The company’s new service will provide researchers with genetic material that has already been edited using the CRISPR process so that scientists can test their hypotheses around new treatments for diseases or new expressions of genetic traits faster.

“Gene editing technologies like CRISPR have dramatically improved how researchers make genomic modifications. As with many new biological tools, not everyone has the access, time and ability to learn and use CRISPR efficiently to get the results they want. Due to these barriers, there is significant demand for products that make CRISPR accessible to the masses so researchers can focus on experimental outcomes rather than method development,” said George Church, Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and MIT, in a statement. 

CRISPR technology allows scientists to edit genetic material to suppress or promote certain biological traits and has broad applications from material science to energy to agriculture to health.

What Synthego is offering is basically gene editing as a service, according to the company’s chief executive Paul Dabrowski.

Photo: Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

There are two basic functions that people use CRISPR for, said Dabrowski. The first is to remove a gene or function and the second is adding a function to genetic material.

Both of those processes involve three (very complicated) steps. First scientists have to identify the gene that they want to target and then understand what genetic material within that gene they want to target for removal. Then a research team would need to identify and procure the reagents and components they need to edit a gene. Finally, the team would need to figure out whether the edit was made successfully and watch for results when the edited genetic material is cultivated.

“There are about 100 ways to make it go wrong,” says Dabrowski.

Synthego’s first set of products were designed to simplify the process for identifying and designing genetic material for experimentation. This next set of tools are supposed to help scientists by providing them with the material they want to observe or experiment with.

“Tell us the gene you want modified and we will give you the modified gene with the full analysis,” Dabrowski said.

Right now, Synthego’s genetic material are just for research purposes only, Dabrowski said. “The overall point here is that we’re trying to speed up the development process and make things better.”

The new tools are significant because they’re among the first in the industry to guarantee the efficacy of genetically modified material. “We’ve been at this for five or six years getting all of this working,” he said. “The high throughput allows us to collect data and understand what’s going on in relatively unprecedented ways. We’re able to predict some outcomes prior to doing the gene edit.”

Ultimately, the goal is to bring down the cost of targeted gene therapies and make them accessible for everyone, not just the billionaires that Synthego counts among its backers (the company is backed by venture firms including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund and 8VC — the investment firm launched by Palantir and Addepar founder Joe Lonsdale).

“The access to clinical gene therapies can’t be million dollar drugs,” says Dabrowski. “These need to be closer to a vaccine. The potential in the next year or two is to start curing thousands of diseases, but you can see how these products are all about access… Either these things become million dollar medicines or we need to change how we think.”

Source: TechCrunch

Solar Panels Power New Schools—and New Ways of Learning

Nationwide, K-12 schools are leading an oh-so-green zero-energy building boom.
Source: Wired

Marley Spoon, the cook-at-home meal kit service, announces IPO

Marley Spoon, the meal kit subscription service that competes with the likes of Blue Apron and HelloFresh, has filed for an IPO in Australia. The Berlin-headquartered company is aiming to raise 70 million Australian Dollars (approximately $53m), and has chosen to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in part because Australia is one of its strongest markets. It also operates in the U.S. and in four European countries, including Germany.

The IPO, which should complete in early July, will give Marley Spoon an indicative market capitalisation of ~200 million AUD (~$152m) on listing, priced at $1.42 per CDI. The majority of capital to be raised has already been placed with various public market institutional investors in Australia and a number of other eligible jurisdictions, while a minority will be made available to Australian resident investors via an allocation from their broker in a couple of week’s time, as per regulatory rules.

As with a number of other competing recipe kit services, the Marley Spoon proposition sees it deliver pre-portioned fresh ingredients for each recipe offered, so as to make it easier, more inspiring, and more cost-effective to cook at home. However, co-founder and CEO Fabian Siegel — who was previously co-CEO of online take-out marketplace Delivery Hero — has long argued that the weekly grocery shop, and to some extent restuarants, is the company’s direct competition.

To help with this, in the U.S. Marley Spoon has a partnership with Martha Stewart under the Martha & Marley Spoon brand. More recently, the company launched a cheaper, more mass-market offering called Dinnerly in a bid to make meal-kits less price sensitive and widen the product category’s appeal.

Siegel says the primary channel of customer acquisition is via customer referrals — for which no incentives are currently offered. In terms of paid marketing, Facebook trumps Google, since nobody really searches for recipe kits online and awareness that the product category exists at all is and remains the main challenge.

To that end, Marley Spoon claims 110,000 active customers across Australia, the U.S., Austria, Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands (about a tenth the size of HelloFresh in the U.S.), and has forecast revenue of 93 million Euros this year.

Regards the decision to list on ASX, as of March this year, Australia represented 37 per cent of its revenue, which is slightly ahead of the U.S. and Europe. Siegel also tells me Marley Spoon is already break-even in Australia and is expected to be profitable in the country in the second half of the 2018 financial year, a pattern the company is aiming to replicate in other markets.

Asked why Marley Spoon has shunned further VC or private equity funding, Siegel, who was previously a Partner at Rocket Internet’s venture arm GFC, says he wants to be in it for the long term, and that an IPO — which sees 34 per cent of the company listed — means that the management team retains control. “You shouldn’t just blindly do what other people do, you have to understand what venture capital means for you,” he says, noting that VC was crucial to start the business and get it off the ground, but now he has decided it is “not the right thing for us”.

Specifically, since the channel switch from offline to online hasn’t yet really happened — which Siegel says it will eventually — he believes an IPO buys Marley Spoon enough time to grow the company at the same pace as the market for online grocery develops, rather than spending excessively on customer acquisition and other short term growth strategies.

“It’s a unique approach… We are still at day one now and we still have to prove to ourselves and the rest of the world that this in the end will have been the better strategy,” he says, candidly. But if it is, there’s a lot more of the $6.1 trillion global grocery market to eat into.

Source: TechCrunch

TC Tel Aviv begins tomorrow; buy your ticket today

This goes out to all the die-hard procrastinators. We’re just 24 hours away from TC Tel Aviv 2018, our inaugural day-long conference focused on mobility tech. The Israeli startup scene stands at the forefront of this rapidly changing frontier, and we’ve gathered some of Israel’s greatest thinkers, makers and investors to share their insight and expertise. You don’t want to miss this unique opportunity. Stop what you’re doing and buy your general admission ticket right now.

Where do your mobility interests lie? If you’re into the future of transportation, don’t miss your chance to hear Uri Levine and Dave Waiser. Maybe you’re all eyes and ears about how cars “see” and “hear.” In that case, be sure to catch the conversation with Omer David Keilaf and Rani Wellingstein. If security issues haunt your waking hours, tune in to be prepared as Yoav Levy and Ami Dotan discuss the future of cybersecurity threats.

That’s just a taste of the content we’ve packed into one stellar day. TC Tel Aviv presents a wide-ranging look at where mobility tech stands now — and where it’s going. Still curious? Check out the full conference agenda.

As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, be sure to go to Startup Alley (making its Israeli debut), where you’ll find almost 100 early-stage startups. Companies in the Alley go beyond mobility to showcase products, services and platforms from a wide range of tech verticals, including AR/VR, robotics, fintech, biotech, artificial intelligence, blockchain and more. Check out the list of Startup Alley exhibitors.

Procrastinators, the 24-hour clock is running. TechCrunch Tel Aviv takes place June 7, 2018 at the Tel Aviv Convention Center, Pavilion 10. Don’t miss your chance to experience everything TC Tel Aviv has to offer. Go buy your ticket now.

Source: TechCrunch

MoloFinance scores £3.7M seed funding to offer a fully digital mortgage

MoloFinance, a London-based fintech that is developing a “fully digital” mortgage solution, has closed £3.7 million in seed funding. The round is led by Ubon Partners, a Nordic fund specialised in financial services, and will be used to launch the company’s first product release later this summer.

Initially targeting ‘Buy to Let’ mortgages — i.e. people looking to buy property as an investment — while the company works through its regulatory approval process with the FCA, MoloFinance wants to offer an end-to-end mortgage process that is entirely digital and with the ability to give a near-instant decision.

The idea, says the startup, is to provide a frictionless experience for the customer whilst helping to eliminate any unnecessary costs related to the current process. Once FCA approved, MoloFinance plans to begin offering residential mortgages, too.

“The problem is simple: getting a mortgage today is a terrible experience, a painful process, based on obsolete practices, outdated in any other consumer experience,” MoloFinance co-founder Francesca Carlesi tells me. “Just try to compare the 4-6 weeks paper-based process of getting a mortgage with the instant set up of a current account online now available in most challenger banks”.

Carlesi says the status quo is entirely unnecessary as the technology needed to offer something a lot better is already here. Furthermore, customers are more than ready and future generations will expect instant, digital mortgages. “At Molo we are simply making it happen now,” she says.

This has seen the MoloFinance team design a fully digital mortgage journey, where most decisions are automated, most of the information needed is sourced digitally, and where a transparent “robo-advisor” substitutes puts the interest of customers first. “The net result is that we give people what they deserve for the most important financial decision of their life: speed, ease and lower costs,” argues Carlesi.

Similar offerings are already up and running in the U.S. and Australia, but in the U.K. the most disruptive forces, in the form of Habito and Trussle, have taken aim at mortgage brokerage. Carlesi concedes that these companies “have done a great first step” that was hugely overdue and that they can be considered MoloFinance’s closest peers but that the business model is “radically different”.

“We are not a broker, we don’t intend to disrupt the broker market. We are instead focusing on the overall lending process, from beginning to the end, with the goal to make the overall process quick, easy and more convenient and ultimately provide fully digital instant mortgages online. So in short we tried to solve the full problem that customers face today. As solving only one part of it in our view doesn’t solve the problem at all”.

On how MoloFinance plans to generate revenue, Carlesi says the startup will take a small share of the money made from the interest that a customer pays on their mortgage, leaving the majority for its funding partners. It won’t charge customers any unnecessary additional fees (e.g. broker fees, arrangement fees).

Source: TechCrunch

What does leaving the EU’s Digital Single Market mean for UK startups?

What does leaving the EU’s Digital Single Market (DMS) mean for UK startups? No-one actually knows. That’s why three UK VCs are backing an initiative to assess the impact of what leaving the DSM could mean for UK tech startups, if, as is predicted, the UK does leave the EU next year.

The initiative is being led by LocalGlobe but also backed by Index Ventures and Atomico. You can fill out the short survey here.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May previously announced the UK will be leaving the DSM when it formally leaves the EU next year, but, according to sources who spoke to TechCrunch, no industry consultation took place on this decision.

The idea behind the DSM, launched in May 2015 and heavily backed by the UK Government at the time, was to tear down regulatory walls and move from 28 national ‘digital’ markets to a single one. The prediction was that this would contribute €415 billion per year to the EU’s economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

It’s been made one of the European Commission’s 10 political priorities and is made up of three policy pillars, as outlined below:

1. Improving access to digital goods and services
The Digital Single Market strategy seeks to ensure better access for consumers and business to online goods and services across Europe, for example by removing barriers to cross-border e-commerce and access to online content while increasing consumer protection.

2. An environment where digital networks and services can prosper
The Digital Single Market aims to create the right environment for digital networks and services by providing high-speed, secure and trustworthy infrastructures and services supported by the right regulatory conditions. Key concerns include cybersecurity, data protection/e-privacy, and the fairness and transparency of online platforms.

3. Digital as a driver for growth
The Digital Single Market Strategy aims at maximising the growth potential of the European Digital Economy, so that every European can fully enjoy its benefits – notably by enhancing digital skills, which are essential for an inclusive digital society.

Meanwhile, Tech For UK is a new group which has been formed by over 100 UK tech industry leaders to back a ‘people’s vote’ on the terms of Brexit, which an option to remain in the EU. It’s currently canvassing for new supporters.

The group boasts a string of high-profile business leaders from the tech sector, including Martha Lane-Fox, best-known as the co-founder of Lastminute.com, Giles Andrews, one of the founders of peer-to-peer lending pioneer Zopa, and George Bevis, the CEO of Tide Bank. It also features leading venture capital and private equity investors, such as Simon Murdoch, the managing partner of Episode 1 Ventures.

(Interest declared: I’m also backing it).

Source: TechCrunch

Intel is giving away 8,000 retro-inspired Core i7-8086 chips – CNET

No, they won’t be hidden in chocolate bars.
Source: CNET

World's first drive in the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo video – Roadshow

The Mission E doesn’t come out until next year, but we’ve got an early ticket behind the wheel. Join us.
Source: CNET