Could AI Help Us Stop Making Stupid People Famous? Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

Five AI Startups You Need To Know About

Featuring an algorithm that fights fake news, autonomous vehicles, and hands free, voice activated tech for disabled people, ML, AI and NLP are starting to make a real difference.

Machine Learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP): the tech world’s current equivalent of starter, mains and dessert.

In this feast of five, new startups the crowd are treated to pitches on the most advanced autonomous vehicles on (and off) the planet, a voice activated communication tool for people with disabilites, and a NLP algorithm that could save us from fake news.

Time, then, to eat…


Oxbotica

Fresh from a £14 million cash injection in their first funding round, Oxbotica are pitching for hearts and minds: they are in need of engineers of all kinds.

Originating from Oxford University’s Information Engineering Department, Oxbotica are leading the way in the deployment of automated vehicles around the world.

That said, Oxbotica are not a driverless car company.

Rather, their main product, Selemium, is the robotic “brain” that operates their autonomous vehicles: allowing vehicles to share experiences and advance through their observations.

The vehicles learn,” says professor of Engineering Science at Oxford and Oxbotica Co-Founder, Ingmar Posner. “That is what differentiates our technology from almost all the other technology out there.”

Whilst their tech can happily navigate the roads of London or an enormous warehouse in Singapore, the team’s actual focus is in unstructured environments: mines and other un-roaded worlds, including alien ecosystems. This, according to the impressive presenter, is where the big opportunities are for autonomous vehicles.

“We’re ambitious: this is a trillion dollar market”.

BreakR

Despite 1 in 5 people in the UK having a disability, “Very few apps on app store actually cater for disabled people”, says software developer and BreakR founder, Alexey Kryazhev.

As a result, many people with disabilities find it hard to use smart devices, and their marginalisation from community is actually exacerbated by tech, not alleviated by it.

Good to know, then, that BreakR are, er, breaking the mould.

Their in-house built algorithm uses AI-powered voice detection to record and send perfectly packaged voice or text messages, that are accessible withOUT the click of a button!

Kryazhev continues, “We believe that voice control communication is the future of mobile messaging.”

And given an increasingly aging public and the sheer volume of our online use, voice messaging surely won’t only be appealing to people with disabilities.

The London-based startup have a methodically-planned roadmap in action. They soft-launched on App Store in May this year, released a major redesign following user feedback in August 2018, and the Android version should land in January 2019.

Expect an official launch shortly after.


Deary

Deary’s pitch kicks off with two mind boggling stats:

  1. the average millennial will send close to half million text messages by the time they are 24 years old
  2. CEO and Co-Founder, Federico Allegro, sent and received approximately 100,000 text messages during a transatlantic three year relationship with his now wife

Therefore convincing everyone that he knows a thing or two about the power of text messages and the ubiquity of chat apps in our lives.

Funny then, Ghirardelli argues, that all our messages eventually disappear into the ether and are forgotten forever.

That’s why he created Deary. An “Emotional AI” chat service that understands our messages, and saves and curates timelines of our most joyous interchanges.

Ghirardelli believes they face no competition from Whatsapp, Telegram and the smorgasbord of other messaging services, because Deary is designed exclusively for your nearest and dearest. So, no need to fear having to accept your boss onto another platform!

The pitch is a call to arms: “we are at the beta testing stage and we want your feedback.”

Help them out here.


NextQuestion

Monetizing and mobilising an algorithm so it can operated by a third party could be one of the brightest developments in the tech marketplace this year. That’s why it’s generated it’s own sassy acronym: AaaS, or Algorithm as a Service.

New ML startup, NextQuestion, is looking to breach this market with a B2B algorithm that helps retailers improve their stock planning, reduce waste and replenish their shelves more efficiently.

According to CTO, Gedas Stanzys, current planning mechanisms in use throughout the retail industry are antiquated and haemorrhage profits. And wth their first high-profile client case study — Portuguese retail behemoth, Sonae — Next Question’s tech delivered impressive results.

“By shaving small percentages of their stock transactions we made quite the impact for the multi-billion euro company,” said Stanzys.

NextQuestion were founded in 2017 and they are looking for £250k investment to complete the product validation.


Evolution AI

In the fake news era, startup Evolution AI are hoping their NLP algorithm can help fix a very broken media system. Their tech can analyse colossal and complex online data sets and classify the information in more coherent and consistent ways than current platforms. Indeed, their work had already had quite astounding results…

One week before the Brexit referendum back in June 2016, the press reported en masse of the 50,000 tweets celebrating the murder of MP Jo Cox. The latent message was that hate speech was being normalised in the UK.

Then Evolution’s NLP disproved “the facts”: showing that there was only 70 tweets in total supporting the terrible crime. Since, The Economist covered the revelation. And reputable publications, The Guardian, Independent and Telegraph retracted their articles because of Evolution’s groundbreaking new findings.

Despite the potential gravitas of their product, Chief Scientist and CEO Martin Goodson plays down the drama with a tech-focused pitch.


Starter, Mains and Dessert

Five outstanding pitches from a bounty of high quality founders, these startups offer a small insight into the inspirational innovation happening in London today.

There is no doubt that the ML, AI and NLP scene is serving up some truly outstanding products. But, then again, these are only the hors d’oeuvre of what is to come…

Catch you at the next Silicon Roundtable Meet Up


Craig writes for Calcey Technologies, a boutique software product engineering agency with roots in the Silicon Valley, that lends its software development muscle to start-ups and scale-ups around the world. Calcey’s client portfolio includes global names such as PayPal and Stanford University, alongside numerous exciting startups, including Nutrifix (UK), Nelly.com (Sweden) and MyBudget(Australia). The team of 100+ engineers, based at its development centre in Sri Lanka, are looking to engage with more startups.