Artificial Intelligence (AI) has come a long way since the term first entered the computing lexicon in the 1950s. But not without its fair share of challenges, or “pain points,” as Des Moines-based entrepreneur Brad Dwyer calls them.
Following his success with Hatchlings, where he developed the award-winning, augmented reality-powered mobile app Magic Sudoku, Dwyer started Roboflow with fellow Iowan Joseph Nelson to help others fully harness the potential of computer vision.
Computer vision, generally speaking, sets out to process visual information in much the same way humans do with their eyes. Computer vision is a rapidly expanding field within the realm of AI, and Dwyer and Nelson see it as a transformational technology destined to revolutionize everyday life.
Roboflow's recent fundraising success on Pioneer, a prominent remote startup accelerator, is a promising harbinger of things to come.
“We think computer vision is both going to transform the economy more than the internet did," Dwyer said, "and that it's going to move from the realm of research and development to the realm of small teams of developers being able to create really powerful apps that they couldn’t before."
For a quick look at computer vision in action, click on the screenshot below. Serious geeks can go here for more a brief demo of the back end of the tool.
Shutterfly, the company famous for helping shutterbugs share their photos and put Dad’s mug on a mug, is moving 100 jobs to suburban Minneapolis. The company, which is based in Redwood City, California, is the latest in a string of companies to announce they are leaving the Bay Area for friendlier economic climes in the heartland – what some are calling the “California Exodus.”
Shutterfly is moving the 100 marketing jobs to its Lifetouch subsidiary in Minneapolis. Lifetouch made its name producing yearbook photos for schools, churches and families, and for those now-quaint photo studios in JC Penney and Target. Shutterfly snapped it up in 2018 for $825 million. Other companies recently announcing moves out of Silicon Valley include Jamba Juice, Bechtel Group, Varo, Mithril Capital Management, and Xero.n-depth video demo:
Milwaukee Tool pours $100 million into new campus
Milwaukee Tool is growing, globally and locally. The Wisconsin-based tool company announced plans to build a massive, 65-acre campus in Menomonee Falls with an estimated price tag of $100 million. The project, which will include 2.5 million square feet of new building space, is slated for completion in 2025. Further expansions at subsidiary Imperial Blades in nearby Sun Prairie will cost an additional $7.5 million. Combined, the two projects will add 870 workers to the Milwaukee Tool family, which has seen a remarkable 400% increase in global sales since 2011.
Gale Klappa, co-chair of Milwaukee 7, a seven-county cooperative economic development partnership formed in 2005, told ChooseMilwaukee, “The company's brand and extraordinary growth trajectory are strengthening Milwaukee's image around the world.”
FUNDING THE FUTURE
KC’s startup funding market hit $169.4 million in 2019
The Kansas City metro area was humming with ventures and investments last year. Crunchbase reports that $169.4 million was raised, funding 21 deals, noting that market data typically lags behind and more deals are likely to be reported in the quarters to come.
The biggest funding winner in 2019 was KC-based PayIt, a transaction/payment platform for handling business with local, state, and federal governments. The company raised $100 million in a Series B round led by Insight Partners.
PayIt founder and CEO John Thomson credits the metro’s local universities for supplying abundant tech talent, along with “a great midwestern work ethic.” And, he said, it doesn’t hurt to have major companies like Garmin and Sprint in the area.
In an interview with Crunchbase News, Thomson said his company is proof that successful businesses can be established anywhere. “It’s kind of like football. If you can play quarterback, the VCs will find you no matter where you are. The smartest money on both coasts realize there are great companies being built everywhere.”
Invest Detroit selected by Google to help startups scale
Invest Detroit's venture capital team, ID Ventures, just landed a big fish by the name of Google to assist its ongoing efforts to scale resources to promising Detroit- and Michigan-based startups. The first such partnership in the continental United States for Google Developers Launchpad, the company's global acceleration program, was brokered by Georgetown University alums representing both ID Ventures and Google. The partnership will provide entrepreneurs backed by ID Ventures with critical access to a slew of Google resources, including mentorships, seminars, and critical expertise in the ever-changing world of advanced technologies.
Since 2010, ID Ventures has backed 120 Michigan-based startups, a number set to increase with Google now on board. According to Patti Glaza, ID Ventures' managing director, this will move Michigan closer to becoming a startup and technology hub for the Midwest. “The partnership will give access to industry experts, startup training and needed services that will help our companies scale and successfully exit,” she told MITechNews.
In order to qualify for the grants, startups must show a clear return on investment for Minnesota and raise a one-to-one match with private dollars. There’s also a special focus on businesses outside the Twin Cities, in an effort to encourage tech development statewide. Most common recipients are startups in aerospace, agriculture, nanotechnology and med-tech. Check the link above for a complete list of the 20 startups.
It's ... Name that Flyover city!
Useless information that is strangely fascinating.
The Flying Pig Marathon is held every year in this city.
This city is home to the Proud Raven Totem Pole that bears Abraham Lincoln’s likeness at the top.
This city has a series of tunnels and skywalks that connect a large part of its downtown building and parking garages.
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