Investing and Building a Community Around AI

Luigi Congedo in Silicon Valley

Luigi Congedo in Silicon Valley

Luigi Congedo, a young Neapolitan Venture Capitalist working for Bootstraplabs in Silicon Valley, is focusing on helping startups grow in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) space.

I interviewed Luigi for my column on LA VOCE DI NEW YORK, he believes that now is a particularly good time for AI development and investing.  In fact, billions of people have internet access and produce enormous amounts of raw data which can be used to "feed" AI software. Additionally, costs of data storage and computing have been plummeting, making AI development accessible even to the smaller startups.

The popularity of artificial intelligence is clear when we learn who is funding AI research: from Microsoft to Apple to Elon Musk, all the tech industry biggest players are involved.  There are close to 1,000 companies working in this field around the world, mostly in the United States. Almost 1/3 are developing Machine learning applications (computer algorithms that operate based on their learnings from existing data).

VC Dollars, follow this pattern, about half investments fund Machine learning, followed by Natural language processing and Computer vision. Investment amounts have increased from 3% of total VC investments in 2013 to 5% in 2015 (about $5.5 billion).  

 In order to build a community around the nascent Artificial Intelligence field, Luigi is launching Bootstraplabs' first Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference (San Francisco, May 25, 2016). Here, founders, investors, and scientists will gather together to learn from AI leaders, discover new technologies, discuss how AI is transforming Transportation, Businesses, and People's lives. 

EGGUP Turns Recruiting on its Head

According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2015, 87% of business leaders are highly concerned about retention and engagement, 86% about leadership, and 85% about workforce skills.

Companies are desperately seeking for solutions that can help them select the right people for their organizations: workers who will stay, be happy and succeed.  This can be provided by one of the newest areas of HRTech called people analytics.

A fast-growing Italian startup called EGGUP combines algorithms and psychology to perform people analytics in a way that achieves what employers want when seeking candidates: the right fit.

The way it does it is pretty interesting and it is described in my recent article This Italian Startup Builds your Team on LA VOCE DI NEW YORK

Hyperloop and the Flair for Crowdsourcing

"A new kind of start up is coming out: they scout human resources from all over the world to meet the challenges of today's society. Hyperloop, which aims at changing the transportation system, is one of the most revolutionary start ups of our times."

Apple Opens First European IOS Center in Naples

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The news spread in seconds throughout Italy with a blaze of enthusiasm.  Apple, the company founded by Steve Jobs, has made an agreement with Italian educational institutions,  to establish its first European iOS App Development Center in Naples, Italy.  Apple will support Italian teachers in training about 600 young developers, giving them the opportunity to become competitive coding professionals.  This news might represent a game changer for the area which is home to some of the finest Italian universities but it is also high in crime and unemployment.   

“Europe is home to some of the most creative developers in the world and we’re thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The phenomenal success of the App Store is one of the driving forces behind the more than 1.4 million jobs Apple has created in Europe and presents unlimited opportunities for people of all ages and businesses of all sizes across the continent.”

Guest blogger: Pierpaolo Basso @mediaonweb 

Guest blogger: Pierpaolo Basso

@mediaonweb 

The Apple Center will be crucial to understand the inner technology behind the creation of  apps for the Apple Store,  giving young developers the opportunity to work towards improving their own careers as well as building a real high-quality technology hub in Southern of Italy.  

A lot of people are wondering why Apple chose Naples and why now.  The answers could be many, but in this period of economic ups and downs, this project must be considered a propeller for a relaunch of Italian innovation opportunities.  Tim Cook himself, the current CEO of Apple, came to Rome to give further confirmation about the serious commitment of the Cupertino’s company.

We believe that this collaboration will bring positive long-term effects to the area.   We also underline how Apple itself gave great emphasis to this news, making us speculate that this might be the first pillar of a strategy encompassing similar initiatives globally.   

Overall, Italian IT seems to be experiencing a resurgence, in fact, almost at the same time as Apple announced its project,  IT leader Cisco Systems said it will invest 100 million dollars in Italy, through a detailed plan which involves educational institutions and private companies.