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Taranis Acquires Aerial Imagery Platform Mavrx

The following article was originally published on AgFunderNews online edition  

Israeli precision agriculture intelligence platform Taranis is acquiring the assets of Mavrx, the San Francisco-based aerial imagery platform.

Taranis will integrate Mavrx’s aircraft-based ultra-high resolution (UHR) imagery product into its AI2 product line and bring existing Mavrx customers onto the Taranis platform. Taranis is also taking on some of Mavrx’s customer-facing and sales staff as well as the team that ran flight operations.

Taranis helps farmers increase their yields and cut costs by monitoring their fields with sensors, weather data, field scouting and imagery using computer vision, data science and deep learning algorithms to detect early symptoms of weeds, uneven emergence, nutrient deficiencies, disease/insect infestations, water damage, equipment problems and more. The aim is to help farmers address issues quickly and understand the impact on yield and cost of production.

It is understood that Mavrx ran into some financial and operational difficulty in recent months and was not able to service its clients for the upcoming growing season despite providing a popular product with a 90% customer renewal rate.

“As well as adding Mavrx technology to the Taranis platform, we felt we had a moral obligation to serve Mavrx’s existing clients with our product lines, especially as we saw how much they liked the Mavrx product,” Ofir Schlam, founder and CEO of Taranis told AgFunderNews. 

“We are especially excited about the synergy farmers will get immediately – UHR recognizing problematic zones, and AI2 classifying every weed, insect and disease so farmers can get the ideal prescription and improve yield,” he said in a statement.

Mavrx had the most broadly available full-field imagery product on the market at the highest resolution, according to Taranis, with 8cm-per-pixel resolution images provided by a fleet of 60 planes in 30 states across the US. The startup started offering some of its platform to users for free earlier this year.

“This is a great story for Mavrx customers who now have the full force of the Taranis product line to bear and will continue to have great aerial imagery,” said Rob Trice, Better Food Ventures, a seed stage investor in the startup. “Taranis has also picked up some excellent, strategic customers in the US ag retail channel.”

Mavrx was founded in 2012 and had raised over $12.5 million to-date in seed and Series A funding from investors including Bloomberg Beta, Eclipse Ventures, Visionnaire Ventures and Better Food Ventures.

Taranis raised a $7.5 million Series A a year ago in a round led by Finistere Ventures.

“Taranis is the technology leader in ag aerial imagery, and we saw this acquisition adding to its footprint in the Americas, while also adding richer feature sets for farmers,” said Arama Kukutai, partner at Finistere. “We are happy to support the company in implementing the strategy of creating the platform that farmers want and need. With too many subscale players in digital ag, this type of rollup is going to be more commonplace as the best-in-class players consolidate their position.”

Rob Leclerc, CEO of AgFunder, agreed that more consolidation in the aerial imagery space was likely.

“In our discussions with growers and agronomists we’ve been hearing that they’ve been overwhelmed by the number of digital imagery solutions so I would expect further consolidation as well and for companies to focus on smaller niches like tree crops where a startup can really dig into the specific challenges of a 3D dataset and solve a painpoint for growers.”

Noa Ruschin Rimini, founder of Grid4C, selected as the cover story and “Top Utilities Solution Provider 2018” by CIO Review

The following article was originally published in CIO Review print and online editions

Grid4C: AI-Powered Energy Insights

The Internet, electricity, and cellular phones are all technological innovations that have given rise to new business models, have radically transformed economies, and forever changed the way that mankind lives and works. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning offer similar transformational potential, but with even greater opportunity: Humans no longer need to explain or program exactly how to accomplish all the tasks for new systems or innovations.

Grid4C is applying AI and machine learning to the world of energy, delivering powerful solutions for smart grid / smart devices predictive analytics, where energy value chain participants are empowered with the ability to radically optimize the electric grid and deliver new energy business models. Through these predictive analytics insights, utilities can ensure the reliability of a more distributed electric grid, consumers can recognize appliances on the verge of failure and more effectively optimize their energy consumption, and grid operators can leverage predictive consumption forecasts to better plan for the future. “Data from IoT devices and connected appliances such as thermostats and smart meters enables our self-learning algorithms to deliver intelligent forecasts, diagnostics, and insights,” explains Dr. Noa Ruschin-Rimini, founder and CEO of Grid4C.

“Recognized by Greentech Media Research as the #1 Predictive Analytics solution for the Energy industry, Grid4C is setting its sights on solving some of the toughest challenges the industry faces”

Led by Noa,having a in PhD AI and Machine Learning with predictive analytics and anomaly detection of Big Data as specialization, the company aims enable engagement among various energy value chain participants. Grid4C applies a plug and play AI and machine learning solution to address some of the prominent challenges associated with the decentralization of electric grids concerning renewable energy sources, electrification of transportation, and energy storage, which cannot be coordinated and optimized through today’s traditional forecasting and control methodologies. The company employs its expertise and AI-driven approach to streamline and leverage existing data sources to deliver accurate forecasts and predictions of distributed energy production and consumption. Their value proposition lies in their ability to derive higher value from existing, ubiquitous data sources non-intrusively, without the need for newer sensors for data collection.

Fault Detection and Diagnostics through Machine Learning

“Customer demands are just starting to catch up with the capabilities that we can provide,’’ says Dr. Ruschin-Rimini.

A solution that is generating a lot of excitement in the market is Fault Prediction, Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) for home appliances, based on smart meter data, which can be enriched with data from smart appliances such as connected thermostats, enabling the same algorithms to deliver deeper diagnostics and insights.“With smart meter data,” explains Dr. Ruschin-Rimini, “we can not only detect mechanical problems for HVAC systems or leaks in water heaters, but can even predict problems before they happen.” This can prevent slight inefficiencies from transcending into larger problems of much more severe consequences. “The core of our products is our proprietary AI self-learning engine, so all you need to do is ‘throw’ any data that may be relevant into it,’’ claims Dr. Ruschin-Rimini.

Empowering the Energy Value Chain

Grid4C’s solutions help the energy value chain on three fronts: customer-facing applications that help businesses and consumers not only save money but predict problems with the appliances they rely on, predictive customer analytics that facilitate segmentation and micro-targeting, and predictive operational analytics that optimize procurement, grid operations and the integration of solar, energy storage and electric vehicles. Grid4C is currently analyzing billions of smart meters and smart devices reads from four continents, generating millions of predictions each day, working with the biggest energy providers and smart meter vendors in the world.

The company’s product portfolio caters to a diverse customer base across the energy value chain with multiple domain-specific requirements. “We have noticed contrasting trends in the industry where certain customers require an economical solution that saves money and predicts problems with day-to-day appliances, whereas, another customer base requires energy segmentation, micro-targeting, and predictive operational analytics,” states Dr. Noa. Additionally, Grid4C also supports users seeking solutions for procurement optimization, grid operations, integration of solar systems, energy storage, and electric vehicles.

Grid4C has partnered with several global energy providers to help address various challenges related to energy utilization.

One of their successful partnerships is with Direct Energy—a retailer of energy services—which deployed Grid4C’s customer facing Machine Learning insights for more than one million residential customers in the U.S. Today, Grid4C’s machine learning product portfolio fuels DE’s “Direct your Energy” platform to drive new revenue streams and enhance customer interactions while optimizing DE’s products and services. Grid4C upholds their client’s goal of ‘Making a difference in people’s lives’ by empowering users with intelligent insights for energy conservation.’

Similarly, Grid4C works with Dalia Power Energies (DPE), Israel’s largest independent power producer, as their load forecasting platform, to deliver granular load and distributed energy resource (DER) predictions to improve operational efficiency and optimize profit margins. “By building a predictive model to each meter separately and analyzing data like meter and device reads, weather data, customer data and more, Grid4C’s engine automatically learns the underlying correlations and hidden patterns and generates predictions in a plug-and-play manner,’’ explains Dr. Ruschin-Rimini. The plug-and-play approach allows predictions to be generated very quickly, which means customers have the added benefit of short time-to-value.

“Data from IoT devices and connected appliances such as thermostats and smart meters enables our self-learning algorithms to deliver intelligent forecasts, diagnostics, and insights”

Another interesting example is Grid4C’s solutions for ENGIE-Think Energy, which are delivering new value add services for its residential customers. By leveraging Grid4C’s machine learning insights to extract more value from meter and smart thermostat data, ENGIE provides each customer insights such as smart thermostat optimizations, simulations regarding the impact of changing thermostat settings on the next bill, prediction, detection and diagnostics of appliances (HVAC, water heaters, refrigerators and pool pumps) faults and inefficiencies, and more.

Predicting the Future of Grid4C

Recognized recently by Greentech Media Research as the #1 Predictive Analytics solution for the Energy industry, the company is setting its sights on solving some of the toughest challenges the industry faces. “One of the most innovative capabilities we’re providing is embedding our algorithms directly into smart grid hardware, like smart meters, to make local decisions at the grid edge,” says Dr. Ruschin-Rimini. Grid4C’s edge lies in the ability ‘’to squeeze the greatest value from existing, ubiquitous data sources, non-intrusively, without needing to wait for new sensors to reach mass adoption.’’ In this sense, the smart meter becomes the real-time sensor, and can be used to save lives by predicting or detecting gas leakages, or managing demand rates for consumers in real-time. Grid4C is partnering with the world’s most successful smart grid leaders to develop the most valuable use cases for AI and machine learning at the grid edge, and will continue to leverage advanced machine learning capabilities to drive value from the exponential growth in IoT data.

iAngels portfolio companies Arbe Robotics and Taranis mentioned amongst Siliconrepublic.com 23 amazing startups in Tel Aviv

This article was originally published on siliconrepublic.com 

Tel Aviv is alive with tech start-ups and it is a city with an unwavering eye on the future.

The second most populous city in Israel, and effectively the country’s business capital, Tel Aviv is a firm fixture on the world’s technology map.

It is clearly a city where people like to work hard but play hard, too, with a world-renowned nightlife. Nestled alongside the Mediterranean and home to thousands of start-ups, the city and its surrounding areas are home to hundreds of venture capital firms but also global operations of tech giants such as Google, SAP, Microsoft and Facebook, to name a few.

Boasting a technology cluster known as Silicon Wadi, Israel is a start-up nation, and much of the tech industry can be found in the area around Tel Aviv and in nearby cities such as Ra’anana, Petah Tikva, Herzliya, Netanya, Rehovot and Rishon LeZion.

The Israeli tech industry began to form in the 1960s with forerunners including Tadiran and Elron Electronic Industries. The industry’s evolution was boosted by the 1967 French arms embargo, which was a catalyst for the creation of a domestic military industry defined by cutting edge R&D.

Notable tech giants to emerge from Israel include Amdocs and Check Point Software Technologies.

From IT security to the cameras in our smartphones, Israeli entrepreneurs mostly based in or near Tel Aviv have played a key role.

As one of the most technologically influential hubs in the world alongside Silicon Valley, Berlin, Helsinki, Kista and London, Tel Aviv is notable for the sheer number of start-ups that go on to list on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

Like most start-up cities, Tel Aviv has a bustling events scene, with notable events including Blockchain Israel, GarageGeeks, UX Salon, Startup Grind and Yazamiyot for women entrepreneurs.

Useful groups to follow on Facebook include Start-Up Stadium, Secret Tel Aviv and Innovation Israel.

Annual tech events include DLD in September, Journey, Microsoft Tech Summit and Innovex.

Established incubators include The Time, Samurai Incubate and Techcode, while active accelerators include 500 Startups, TheHive, Kamatech and The Junction.

And so, here are 23 Tel Aviv start-ups that we think are worth watching in 2018.

Airobotics

Airobotics has developed a pilotless drone platform that collects aerial data and valuable insights for industrial facilities. Founded in 2014 by Meir Kliner and Ran Krauss, Airobotics has raised $71m in funding so far, the most recent being a $32.5m Series C round led by BlueRun Ventures, also including such investors as OurCrowd and Microsoft Ventures.

Click here to read more!

iAngels Partners With NFX Guild to Fund Top Startups

iAngels, the angel investing network that grants private investors access to exclusive early-stage Israeli technology companies alongside leading angels and venture funds, announced today that it will invest in NFX Guild’s Winter 2016 class of handpicked companies.  With this announcement, iAngels’ investment community members can each participate by investing a minimum of $50,000 into this unique portfolio of companies through http://www.iangels.co .
Choosing iAngels as its co-investor was an easy choice for NFX. “iAngels has a network of investors who appreciate early-stage deals and quickly close funding rounds,” said Gigi Levy-Weiss, one of Israel’s most successful angel investors. “Our accelerator prepares entrepreneurs to make the most of this funding opportunity so that once they graduate from the accelerator they are better positioned for a more significant round at iAngels and other VC groups.”
“One of iAngels unique differentiators is the ability to provide our investor community worldwide unparalleled access to some of the most exclusive investment opportunities in the world” said Mor Assia, Founding Partners at iAngels. “Investing with the NFX Guild in the stellar class of winter 2016 is a prime example”.
NFX Guild, founded by American and Israeli industry veterans James Currier, Stan Chudnovsky, and Gigi Levy-Weiss, is a by-invitation-only accelerator for digital networks and marketplaces focused on building the next generation of unicorns. NFX Guild runs a prestigious three-month program in the Bay Area twice per year for 15-20 companies, with Silicon Valley and Israeli entrepreneurs working side-by-side.
“After two years of bringing Israel’s exclusive early-stage deal flow to our global investment community, our investors will now gain access to a diversified and prestigious portfolio of Israeli and US early-stage technology companies that have passed through a rigorous screening process and received mentorship from some of the most respected entrepreneurs and investors in the world,” added Shelly Hod Moyal, Founding Partner at iAngels.
iAngels continues to expand as it approaches its second year anniversary with 15 employees and 25 investments in its portfolio. The company has enjoyed two exits to date, and has recently announced a $15 million strategic alliance with The Thorney Group in Australia.

This article originally appeared on PR Newswire

Crowd-funding platform iAngels targets the next level

We are happy to announce the appointment of Darya Fuks as portfolio manager.

Fuks, a former vice president in J.P. Morgan’s investment bank, will lead iAngels’s deal flow and due diligence activities for future investments, as well as business development efforts for all iAngels portfolio companies.

As an investment banker who has worked in both the US and Israel, Fuks has years of experience advising and executing on corporate-finance transactions globally, including capital raising, mergers and acquisitions. She will report directly to Assia and Hod Moyal.

Click here for the full article