September 2 – 5 Key Stories From The Digital World

By September 2, 2019 Insight

1. Kaszek Ventures raises $600 million in two funds as Latin America’s startup market booms

  • new commitments (raised in roughly two months) put Kaszek’s total capital under management at roughly $1 billion, making the firm the first local early-stage investor to hit that milestone
  • In the eight years since Hernan Kazah and Nicolas Szekasy launched Kaszek Ventures in 2011, the startup ecosystem in Latin America has experienced a renaissance, with investments in the region surging to nearly $2 billion in 2018
  • Standouts from the firm’s $200 million third investment vehicle include NotCo, a new food company working on a range of products, from vegetarian ice cream and mayonnaise to replacement meat patties

2. Nike’s Adapt Huaraches will let you ask Siri to unlace your shoes

  • Users (wearers?) can say, “Siri, release my shoes” on their Apple Watch or iPhone through the Nike Adapt app to unlace their shoes
  • Adapt Huaraches feature the same neoprene bootie and supportive exoskeleton as the original 1991 Air Huaraches, but they add two LED lights that can change colors via the app
  • app will offer preset modes that can be set to different colors and change fits depending on your foot type and activity (like if you’re just chilling in the office or on the move during a commute)

3.  Alibaba, the $435 billion Chinese shopping giant, is gunning for Amazon in Europe

  • falls under its AliExpress banner – the consumer shopping side of its business – and functions like a showroom where shoppers can come and browse and test its mix of products and then buy these online
  • move into brick and mortar in Europe is all part of Alibaba’s grand plan to grow its global market share and take on Amazon, whose annual revenue is more than four times the size of its own
  • While Alibaba occupies 56% of the market share in China and its user base is growing at a rapid rate – 674 million people actively shop on its platform each year and it added 121 million active users in the last quarter – it still has some way to go to keep up with Amazon internationally

4. How an AI archive platform is helping a Victorian library keep up with data

  • artificial intelligence-based proof-of-concept solution to remove the manual work involved with cataloguing and searching through library archive databases
  • developed the prototype solution using Azure Blob Storage to store the files, Azure Cognitive Services to create meta information of each file, and Microsoft AI to create a searchable catalogue
  • Prior to building this platform for the last 20 years, the library had been manually cataloguing its archive database

5. Didi Chuxing to launch self-driving pick up service in China, plans to expand abroad

  • service will allow passengers who hail a vehicle in the city’s Jiading district via Didi’s app to choose to be picked up by a self-driving car
  • Didi is also in talks with Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), with which it set up a joint venture last month focused on mobility services, on self-driving technology
  • Tech giants such as China’s Baidu Inc (BIDU.O) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Waymo as well as traditional carmakers have been racing to put full commercial self-driving vehicles on the road