March 11 – 5 Key Stories From The Digital World

By March 11, 2019 Insight

1.  With these numbers, it’s no surprise SoftBank is investing in Latin America

  • VC funding more than doubled in 2017 to $1.14 billion compared to $500 million in 2016…projecting another record year with venture investments topping $1.5 billion.
  • Brazil led the region across all stages of VC investment, capturing 73 percent of VC investment dollars in 2017 and the first half of 2018 (201 startup investments totaling $1.4 billion). Mexico was the second most active market by number of deals (82 startup investments totaling $154 million), but Colombia saw more money invested ($188 million over 23 deals).
  • It’s worth noting that fintech is the top sector of VC investment by dollars and number of deals in Latin America.

2. Small VC Funds Continue To Raise, Despite Pressure From Above

  • Small-dollar funds may get less of the overall fundraising pie, but their ranks continue to grow as more fund managers enter the industry.
  • U.S.-based general partners raised more sub-$100 million venture funds in 2018 than in any year prior.
  • Projected early-stage deal volume leveled off in the past several quarters, while projected dollar volume grew over 11 percent quarter over quarter.

3. 5 Major Robotics Trends To Watch For in 2019

  • Promising projects…include Nvidia’s collaboration with Ikea, which aims to develop the first commercially successful robotic kitchen assistant.
  • Robotic delivery devices are hotly tipped to solve the “last mile” problem inherent to delivery operations…Nuro is already carrying out deliveries in parts of Phoenix, Arizona…
  • Baidu – which has just unveiled China’s first open source edge computing platform, OpenEdge, which will allow developers of robots to empower their creations with AI, reducing CPU and bandwidth overheads used by cloud infrastructure.

4. The trends transforming mobility’s future

  • Google’s Waymo announced the launch of a commercial autonomous-vehicle (AV) taxi service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona.
  • The global revenues associated with AVs in urban areas could reach $1.6 trillion a year in 2030—more than two times the combined 2017 revenues of Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
  • If the United States, for example, fully adopted autonomous vehicles, the benefit to the public would exceed $800 billion a year in 2030

5. How Africa is seizing an AI opportunity

  • …the rest of the world is starting to notice the rich AI possibilities in Africa. Google just opened an AI Research Lab in Accra, Ghana. AI firm SingularityNET…has an office in Ethiopia…
  • 60% of the population in Africa is under the age of 25, and a growing number of students are exploring careers in computer science and machine learning.
  • According to a WeeTracker report, venture investors put a record-breaking $725 million into African tech startups in 2018, up from $277 million in 2015.