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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

MIT and IBM’s new A.I. image-editing tool lets you paint with neurons

Imagine Photoshop for the deep fake generation. Researchers at IBM and MIT have created an amazing demo showing how cutting-edge A.I. is going to power future image-editing tools.
Source: Digital trends

This Jellyfish Robot Is Much More Than Just a Good Swimmer

At less than a quarter inch across, the magnetically activated robot can manipulate water flow to manipulate objects.
Source: Wired

Sources: Currencycloud, the API for cross-border payments, has raised ~£32M in first part of a Series E round

Currencycloud, the provider of an API and service for cross-boarder payments that is used by a host of fintechs and larger companies, including most recently Visa, has closed the first part of closing in on Series E funding.

According to sources, the over 10 year old London headquartered company announced internally that it was closing in on new funding round a few weeks ago, while a recent regulatory filing reveals that the Series E totals just shy of £32 million in Series E shares so far. However, I understand that this is just tranche one, and that additional Series E funding will follow within the next 2-3 months when the round will be officially announced. Tranche one also consists of two slightly different share prices as it sees earlier debt financing converted into equity.

filing currencycloudWith regards to who is backing Currencycloud’s Series E, one source tells me Goldman Sachs is in the running and is possibly leading the round. Existing investor GV (previously Google Ventures) is said to me following on. I’m also hearing that another new investor could be Spanish bank Santander, via its venture arm Santander Ventures, in what would signal a significant strategic investment and/or partnership. Currencycloud declined to comment.

Launched more broadly in 2012, after raising a Series A in 2011 — and long considered a mainstay of the London fintech ecosystem (the company was even used heavily by TransferWise in its early days)– Currencycloud has built out B2B cross-border payments infrastructure. It provides an API for businesses that need to offer their customers international transfers.

Now operating across Europe, along with the U.S. and Canada, the company has to date processed more than $50bn in transfers, sending money to over 180 countries. The banks and fintechs that Currencycloud works with globally include Starling Bank, Standard Bank South Africa, Visa, Travelex and Klarna. The company’s team now sits at over 200 employees (see photo above) across multiple international offices, including London, Amsterdam and New York.


Source: TechCrunch

Samsung admits it rushed the Galaxy Fold. Its next moves matter most – CNET

Commentary: The rush to make the Galaxy Fold first to foldable is mired in delay. There’s a lesson here.
Source: CNET

Huawei reportedly isn't sure about using Android in future phones – CNET

It’s waiting for the Commerce’s Department approval to use Google’s OS after President Donald Trump agreed to ease restrictions.
Source: CNET

*Spider-Man: Far From Home* Hints at the Future of the MCU

It’s in good, web-slinging hands.
Source: Wired

Sweet Escape, a platform for booking photographers, raises $6M

Sweet Escape, a startup founded in Indonesia that helps connect photographers with customers, is all smiles today after it announced a $6 million Series A round.

The company — which was profiled by TechCrunch last year — said that the investment was led by Singapore-based funds Openspace Ventures and Jungle Ventures with participation from Burda Principal
Investments. Existing investors, which include Beenext, SkyStar Capital, and GDP Venture, also took part. The startup previously raised $1 million in seed funding.

Founded in 2017 by David Soong and Emile Etienne — whose previous startup was recently acquired by Indonesian unicorn Tokopedia — Sweet Escape was initially aimed at helping travelers to connect with photographers to take great holiday photos, and get them back quickly. Now, however, that mission has broadened and the company is billing itself as a platform to reach and book photographers.

“A photographer for every need, anywhere in the world,” said Soong, who is CEO, when I asked for an elevator pitch.

Rather than disruption, the company is formalizing the process of booking photo shoots. I can’t imagine that I’d ever feel the need to spend $300 to book a snapper while I’m at the beach, but I’m in the minority — to be fair, I don’t even use Instagram anymore — according to Soong and (COO) Etienne. Photos are high quality and help create memories, they argue, while they are also provided within just three working days — although that is headed towards just 24 hours.

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Sweet Escape founders Emile Etienne (left) and David Soong (right)

When TechCrunch spoke to the company last year, it said it had served 10,000 customers and worked with over 2,000 photographers across over 400 cities in some 100 countries. While they declined to give figures, Soong said the customer numbers have doubled over the corresponding eight months with Indonesia and Philippines its largest markets. Beyond consumers, Sweet Escape has begun to tap the corporate market, giving companies a platform to secure photo shoots.

Indeed, calling Sweet Escape a photo site for travelers is underselling its direction. As well as catering to corporate customers, it works closely with photographers to help them increase their business.

Aside from driving customers, that also covers photo editing which Sweet Escape takes care of. In particular, it is working to automate much of the basic editorial process to enable its human editor to focus on tasks that require skill and expertise.

“Editing hundreds or thousands of images per day can be monotonous,” Etienne said.

The aim is for tech to automate 80-90 percent of editing, which is mostly touch-ups, with areas like color enhancement left to the human editing team.

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Sweet Escape aims to use tech to automate many of the monotonous edits its team makes to customer photos

The efficient approach is also designed to increase turnaround time, meaning customers get photos as quickly as possible, leaving photographers with satisfied reviews and more time to focus on actually taking photos. Beyond that, Sweet Escape also wants to provide the tools and expertise that will enable photographers to develop their ability and experience in new areas.

“We want to create a platform where people can say: ‘Hey, I want to service clients in this vertical or that vertical’ and ultimately make more money,” said Etienne.

This new round is announced right after France-based Meero, which runs a photographer marketplace and editing tools for pros, became a unicorn thanks to a $230 million Series C deal. Soong and Etienne say their round closed before that news and that it was oversubscribed — meaning they had to, presumably politely, decline some VC offers — but still they are taking Meero’s success as another validation of their vision.

The company has progressed to office in Jakarta (HQ), the Philippines, London and Singapore and a workforce of 109, with more plans for expansion. The company is eying offices in Thailand, Korea and Japan as part of an expansion to 200 staff, which will include a mixture of roles including hires to the tech team.

While there is early product-market fit, the founders are aware that China and the U.S. are larger markets that may require significant investment in resources to take the business to the next level. That isn’t happening yet, but Etienne said that a Series B planned for the end of this year or early next year is when a decision will be made on tackling one of those “giant” markets directly.

“We see huge potential globally, but exactly where we are in one to three years is still a question mark,” he added.


Source: TechCrunch

Samsung chief: Galaxy Fold delay was 'embarrassing' — but no new launch date in sight – CNET

The mea culpa stopped short of apologizing to preorder buyers.
Source: CNET

Apply for your discounted student, nonprofit and government pass to Disrupt Berlin 2019

Disrupt Berlin 2019, which takes place on 11-12 December, attracts an international community more than 3,000 people from over 50 countries. This two-day, program-packed event, focused on early-stage startups across Europe and beyond, represents an ocean of opportunity.

We want to make that ocean available and affordable to as many people as possible, so we are offering discounted Innovator passes specifically for students and nonprofit or government employees.

Here’s what you can access with your Disrupt Berlin Innovator pass.

  • The full Disrupt agenda including all stages and the Startup Battlefield competition
  • Interactive workshops
  • Startup Alley with more than 400 exhibiting startups and sponsors
  • Networking events
  • The complete attendee list via the Disrupt Mobile App
  • CrunchMatch, our attendee-networking platform that helps you connect with people and schedule meetings based on mutual business goals

Who qualifies for the discount? Let’s go over the details.

Students: you must be currently enrolled in a grade school, high school, college or university program or have graduated within the last six months. Sorry, coding schools don’t qualify.

Be prepared to provide a valid student ID, proof of current enrollment or transcripts at registration, or you’ll get stuck paying the full on-site price. And if you’re less than 21 years old, you may not have access to some venues. Your reduced Innovator pass costs €135 plus VAT. Tickets are non-refundable.

Non-profit and government employees: you must be current full-time employees of nonprofit organizations, federal, state or local government agencies, international government agencies or active military employees.

Nonprofit employees must provide their email address from their organization during the online registration process. Government employees must provide their valid .gov email address during the registration process.

At the Disrupt Berlin on-site registration check-in, you must show proof of current employment at your nonprofit (copy of 501c3 documentation) or government organization. Government contractors, including contractors working on government “Cost Reimbursable Contracts,� are not eligible for the government discount.

We accept the following forms of valid government ID:

  • Government-issued Visa, MasterCard or American Express
  • Government picture ID
  • Military picture ID
  • Federally Funded Research Development Corp (FFRDC) ID

If you don’t present valid nonprofit documentation or government ID at registration, you’ll have to pay the full on-site price. The discounted Innovator pass costs €295 + VAT, and tickets are non-refundable.

Students, nonprofits and government employees, don’t miss your opportunity to experience everything Disrupt Berlin 2019 has to offer at significant savings. Apply for a discounted Innovator pass today.


Source: TechCrunch

Checking the tech in the 2019 Porsche Cayenne S video – Roadshow

Even without many options, there’s plenty of tech to play with in the third-generation Cayenne.
Source: CNET

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