It's been a week that's seen an astonishing amount of cash injected into some of the most exciting startups around, with Chinese AI provider Megvii (best known for its facial recognition brand Face ++) enjoying a $750m windfall in its latest funding round. On the other side of the Pacific, San Francisco-based equity management firm Carta became the latest Bay Area unicorn when it revealed a whopping $1.7bn valuation.
San Francisco movers and shakers weren't satisfied with just that news, though, as payments giant Square snapped up the city's homegrown conversational AI startup Eloquent Labs. Eloquent is an exciting firm to watch and will be speaking at DATAx San Francisco, an all-encompassing data extravaganza taking place on May 14–15. Secure your place by grabbing one of the last remaining tickets HERE before they are gone.
Below, we take a closer look at some of the most relevant news from the tech space over the last seven days from across our Channels.
Three problems a digitally-enabled supply chain solves
An efficient supply chain is absolutely key in a world where innovative titans such as Amazon and Walmart loom over smaller players. That is why it is so necessary for supply chains today to be digitally enabled to ensure maximum effectiveness.
"Customer satisfaction has become an increasingly more difficult proposition in our ever-connected global economy," writes contributor and Tecsys product manager Vasco Kollokian."Transformative disruptions consistently force enterprises to re-evaluate their accepted norms, even when constantly trying to exceed higher expectations."
Kollokian takes a look at three of the problems that a digitally-enabled supply chain will erase for your business.
Google brings AR to Search
Ever found yourself staring into space wondering about the precise proportions of a great white shark? Well, as Google puts it: "Sometimes the easiest way to wrap your head around new information is to see it". This sentiment is exactly why the tech giant announced this week it would be bringing augmented reality (AR) to Google Search.
The search giant revealed the new features, available later this month, will overlay information and content onto users' physical surroundings allowing them to "view and interact with 3D objects right from Search" giving them a rounded "sense of scale and detail".
How big data and machine learning are impacting the real estate industry
Big data and machine learning are impacting every industry at a startling pace, and in real estate it is helping pros make accurate predictions faster and reduce costs. One of our regular contributors and big data whizz Kayla Matthews takes a deeper dive into how the technologies are shaping the industry.
"Like so many other aspects of the sector, a wide range of factors may influence risk," Matthews writes. "Big data and ML can help these groups include more data in their risk assessments and conduct them more quickly and accurately."
How Firefly is turning the ride-hailing industry on its head
Another San Francisco startup that is changing the game is Firefly. The firm, that has only been in business for six months, provides ride-hailing drivers with digital smart screens running targeted, geofenced campaigns at customers, allowing them to make money on the side. It also shares the data it collects with municipal governments to help them improve cities for everyone.
"We're building Firefly to benefit the rapid modernization of urban areas directly, acting as an asset that works for the city to better the lives of the people who work and live within it," Gunay told us. "Firefly is the modern convergence of mobility and big data, effective marketing and the principles of social good, all coming together in an invaluable, mobility-based source of insight to power tomorrow's cities."
Lyft beats earnings predictions and introduces Waymo self-driving cars
Lyft stunned us all when it went to IPO ahead of market dominator Uber earlier this year, but the surprises have kept coming as, this week, it revealed a revenue of $776m, smashing analysts' predictions of $738.5m.
"Transportation is one of the largest segments of our economy and we are still in the very early stages of an enormous secular shift from personal car ownership to transportation-as-a-service," remarked Logan Green, co-founder and CEO of Lyft.
It's not just its financial reports that prove the company is set to race ahead of Uber very soon. Lyft also revealed it now offers 10 Waymo (Google's autonomous vehicle offering) self-driving minivans in a select number of towns around Phoenix in addition to the handful it already has available in Las Vegas.
Gaming studio launches games that challenge children to hack
A common complaint from parents is that they cannot get their kids to put down their video games. This is something gaming startup Endless Studios recognized but saw as an opportunity to help kids learn by creating a group of games which encourage children to code.
"After realizing that so many engineers got their start by hacking games, we decided to build our own games with hacking as a core mechanic," explained Endless founder Matt Dalio. "Our ultimate goal with these games is to break down the barriers around the language of code and make it fun."
The games include Midnightmare Teddy , which sees evil toys come alive and chase the gamer who can switch to "Math Mode" and use their number skills to fight back.
If these were around when we were at school, we can't help but feel we might be a bit better at adding up ourselves…