Ben is the Co-Founder of BootstrapLabs, a leading venture capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

BootstrapLabs Keynote at the AI Summit San Francisco

San Francisco, September 28, 2017 – BootstrapLabs Co-Founder, Benjamin Levy, led a keynote session at the AI Summit last week in San Francisco, exploring AI’s latest implications for the business world and our society as a whole.

Ben Levy discussed the rapid evolution of AI technology

Ben discussed the rapid evolution of AI technology and its impending impact on a wide range of business sectors, including finance, healthcare, education, agriculture, and more. His presentation highlighted the most current investment trends, data projections, and other industry guideposts to help light the way forward for those hoping to make the most of AI’s transformative power.

 

 

The AI Summit brings together 2,000+ of the most senior business CxOs, AI visionaries, AI start-up innovators, press/media, and acclaimed researchers in the world. Ben spoke alongside executives from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Unity, Mercedes-Benz, IBM Watson, Netflix, Amazon Web Services, Facebook, Nvidia, and many other leaders in the space.

 

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BootstrapLabs Presents at Lionbridge Global Innovation Symposium

San Jose, CA, September 21, 2017 – BootstrapLabs co-founder Ben Levy was one of five featured keynote speakers at the Lionbridge Global Innovation Symposium in September.

Lionbridge Ben Levy Presentation

Ben’s presentation was part of a series at the event focusing on “The Impact of AI on Global Customer Experience.” Ben spoke alongside speakers including Falon Fetami, CEO of Node, Peter Isaacson, CMO of Demandbase, and Katell Jantreau, Globalization Manager at Netflix.

The Symposium focused on connecting more effectively with customers using AI and deep learning, from product development to delivering personalized content and streamlining marketing reporting. You can find more information about the event here.

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DEAR CEOs ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS YOUR BIGGEST THREAT AND YOUR BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY

Dear CEOs: Artificial Intelligence is your biggest threat, and your biggest opportunity

It is no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to take the world by storm. But what exactly does that mean if you are a business leader? It means you need a strategy, and you need to act fast.

Just ask Mark Fields, the former CEO of Ford who was replaced back in May by Jim Hackett, head of their future focused Ford Smart Mobility division. Though it will take time for any company’s internal AI capability to grow, the time to get started is now – and waiting might end up costing you at lot more.

What is Your Game Plan?

Beyond the dwindling profits motive for Ford, we are talking about entire industries and their supply chains being transformed at unprecedented speed. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods suggests that even successful, profitable companies, in what most would consider a non-tech sector,  are not immune to changing times and technology disruption.

We have already seen early AI adopters like Facebook, Google, Uber, Microsoft and IBM establish new standards for data analysis and customer experience, and those standards will continue to sharpen as more companies take advantage of this technology. With $1.7 billion invested in AI startups in Q1 2017 alone, and the exponential efficiencies created by this sort of technology, this evolution will happen quicker than many business leaders are prepared for.

If you aren’t sure where to start, don’t worry – you’re not alone. The good news is that you still have options:

  1. You can acquire, or invest in, an innovative technology company applying AI/ML in your market, and gain access to new product and AI/ML talent.
  2. You can seek to invest as a limited partner in a few early stage AI focused VC firms like BootstrapLabs, gaining immediate access and exposure to vetted early stage innovation, a community of experts and market trends.
  3. You can set out to build an AI-focused division to optimize your internal processes using AI, and map out how AI can be integrated into your future products. But recruiting in the space is painful and you will need a strong vision and sense of purpose to attract and retain the best.
  4. You can use outside development-for-hire shops like new entrant Element.ai, who raised over $100M last June,  or more traditional consulting firms like Accenture, Capgemini, and others to fill the gaps or get the ball rolling.

What’s more, these options are by no means mutually exclusive. On the contrary, as an executive leader in the digital era, you need to adopt a lean and iterative philosophy around execution: build/partner/buy, measure, learn, and double down on what’s working for your company.

The best companies in the world are already doing this, and many more are preparing to do so soon. Are you?

Connect to the Community and Start Building

Since our second annual Applied AI Conference back in May, which gathered over 700 senior executives, we have been amazed at the level of enthusiasm surrounding the AI advancements and possibilities taking shape across all industries.

What was once but a body of research has given way to massive investment, adoption, and before long we will see large-scale market adaptation taking place well beyond the current use cases. The technology is there, ready for action, and an amazing community has formed around it, across many important industries.

Over the last several years, BootstrapLabs has lead the way in connecting this community. From the technologists and evangelists to the entrepreneurs and investors, we are much more knowledgeable and capable together than any one of us could be alone.

The same principle applies to your business. The talent war around AI is already raging, and as you build your strategy, you need a plan for attracting and retaining top personnel. This means that you have to do more than just “lip service” or “innovation theater” and execute in all aspect of your business to make AI part of your brand and core infrastructure. Your stakeholders will first ask for it, then quickly demand it.

Be Future-Ready

Okay, you’re sold on creating and executing your AI strategy – but how do you prepare for the unknown?

Not only must you focus on adapting for the near-term impact that AI will have on your market, but you must build out capabilities which will set you up for long-term success. This is where your leadership is so important.

Create and mobilize an ecosystem of human capital, venture capital, and technology that will help your organization sail through the seas of change. Empower your domain experts with a robust and agile business strategy, and the innovation will happen more organically.

The puzzle pieces are all there, it’s just up to you to start putting them together. You have much to gain. As Akli Adjaoute, President and CEO of AI company Brighterion suggests, we are talking about “10x ROI for enterprise: you could solve problems within a minute using this technology, instead of weeks.” This opens up space to solve bigger and better problems, increasing employee engagement and productivity and reducing the risk of inefficiencies eating away at your margins.

Don’t wait to be in Mark Fields’ position. Be remembered as the visionary leader that managed to plan, take action, and come out ahead of this challenging innovation curve. Just reflect back on the move that Mark Zuckerberg made with Instagram in 2012. He chose to spend $1 billion (10% of Facebook’s valuation at the time) to buy a revenue-less, two year old mobile photo sharing company – and invested several million dollars since to keep supporting its growth.

He knew that mobile was transforming everything, and Facebook had to stay relevant. Seeing how far we’ve come since this move, you would take that bet any day of the week. Now let me ask you: How much of your market cap are you investing in your AI transformation today?

If the answer is not enough, not fast enough, then refer back to the above section on game plan and reach out to the community!

Corporate investment in artificial intelligence “is predicted to triple in 2017, becoming a $100 billion market by 2025,” writes Ray Wang of Harvard Business Review. He and his colleagues agree that “the question now is not about whether managers should investigate adopting AI, but about how fast they can do so.”

Don’t be mistaken, though – you can’t do it overnight. Developing your AI capability will take some serious effort, commitment, and consultation from multiple invested parties in the space before it can really take flight.

Never forget that innovation and entrepreneurship is a team sport, so ask yourself, who is on my team?


BENJAMIN LEVY

Ben is the Co-Founder of BootstrapLabs, a leading venture capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

Some of BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies include Prezi, AngelList, Zerply, Trusted Insight, AEye, Qurious.io, Roger.ai, Vidora, and Sibly.

Born in France and living in Silicon Valley for the past 18 years, Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built, and exited two startups in the financial technology space. Read more.

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BootstrapLabs Speaks at GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas

San Francisco, CA, September 13, 2017 – BootstrapLabs co-founder Ben Levy participated in the GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco this past September, speaking on the Adventures in Applied AI: Practical Use Cases Panel, as well judging AI and IoT startup ideas in the 4YFN Americas Awards pitch competition.

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Ben shared his expertise in Applied AI investment use cases, relevant across a range of industries, and global entrepreneurship and innovation strategies. He spoke on the panel alongside Kinuko Masaki, CEO & Founder of SmartEar (a BootstrapLabs portfolio company); Mark Sherman, Managing Director of Telstra Ventures, and Liesl Yearsley, a private researcher.

The panel was moderated by TechEmergence CEO Dan Faggella. The 4YFN Americas Awards jury was made up of other mobile entrepreneurship leaders from GE Digital, XSeed Capital, Verizon Ventures, and more.

The Mobile World Congress Americas focuses on the latest advancements in mobile technology products and business best practices. Participants in the event represented a wide range of disciplines and organizations across the Americas and the world, including executives from the largest and most influential mobile operators, software companies, device makers, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as government delegations.

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Announcing the Applied AI Conference 2017

BootstrapLabs is pleased to announce the return of the Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference in San Francisco on May 11, 2017.

After the incredible success of last year’s Applied AI Conference, we have expanded into a new venue and this year’s conference will be 2x bigger. There are only a few tickets left – don’t miss out – register now at this link.

Discover the latest innovation in Artificial Intelligence, and see why everyone is talking about AI today:

 

This year’s conference is focused on practical applications and the current commercialization of AI technologies across industries such as Transportation & Logistics, Internet of Things (IoT), Future of Work (FoW), Financial Technologies (FinTech), Cybersecurity, and Healthcare Technologies (HealthTech).

The 2017 conference agenda will provide insights into the present and future impact of AI on your organization, as well as in your daily life. It will also feature concrete ways, tools, and methods to prepare, organize, and tap AI’s transformative power. As active early stage investors in Applied AI, BootstrapLabs will provide an overview of the investment and consolidation landscape at the conference.

Meet our world-class speakers for this year’s conference:
  • Amir Khosrowshahi, CTO AI Products Group, Intel
  • Lanny Cohen, Group Chief Technology Officer, Capgemini
  • Jack Clark, Strategy & Communications Director, OpenAI
  • Richard Socher, Chief Scientist, Salesforce
  • Mårten Mickos, CEO, HackerOne
  • Hema Raghavan, Head of Growth Relevance, LinkedIn
  • Angie Moody, VP Innovation & Strategic Partnerships, Visa
  • Danny Lange, VP of AI and Machine Learning, Unity Technologies
  • Nicolai Wadstrom, CEO and Founder, BootstrapLabs

Full speakers list at this link.

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Announcing the Applied Artificial Intelligence in the New Industrial Revolution

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BootstrapLabs is thrilled to announce the Applied Artificial Intelligence in the New Industrial Revolution.

Event Summary:

  • Date and Time: Thu, April 13, 2017 | 5:45pm to 8:30pm
  • Location: 44 Tehama St
  • Registration at this link.

We stand in front of the 4th and largest wave of the industrial revolution, powered by AI and Data. This is the biggest opportunity, so far, for innovation and entrepreneurship, and every single industry will be disrupted and redefined by companies that are not yet even born.

With the AI market projected to grow over 20 fold in the next 10 years, to $3Tn annually, we believe Applied Artificial Intelligence represents one of the major wealth creation opportunities of this century.

Manufacturing robots, unmanned vehicles for transportation, warehouses drones as well as space exploration and environmental monitoring empowered by new architectures for distributed computing and intelligent systems are the initial signals of the next generation of industrial systems.

The power of AI will ultimately empower humans to work closely with robots, and bring us to the new age of collaborative systems that can operate side by side with humans.

 

Speakers:

 

Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs

Joshua Bloom, CTO, Wise.io (Acquired by GE Digital)

George Mathew, CEO and Chairman, Kespry

Ruban Phukan, Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer, DataRPM

Eduardo Torres Jara, Founder, Robot Rebuilt

 

Learn more about the Agenda at this link.

Special Opportunity

Attendees of the Applied Artificial Intelligence in the New Industrial Revolution will receive a special discount for the Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference 2017.

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Thank You To Our Host and Partner

Galvanize

 

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BootstrapLabs Talks AI at Law Firm K&L Gates

Pittsburg, PA, March 16, 2017 – This past March, BootstrapLabs co-founder Ben Levy spoke at the headquarters of international law firm K&L Gates for their AI event, The Artificial Intelligence Gateway For the Investment and Business Community.

AI at K&L Gates

Ben’s presentation was focused on the current investment landscape for AI applications across key global business sectors, including the effects of AI on legal practice in business. The event also featured speakers Howie Choset, CTO for the ARM Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and Michael Wagner, CEO and co-founder of Edge Case Research.

The K&L Gates AI Initiative assists business clients in capitalizing on the most recent advancements in AI technology and best practices surrounding its investment and application. The launch of the AI initiative follows the firm’s announcement earlier this month of a $10 million gift to Carnegie Mellon University for the establishment of the “K&L Gates Endowment for Ethics and Computational Technologies,” to study the ethical issues posed by artificial intelligence. Partners from the firm later spoke at BootstrapLabs’ Applied Artificial Intelligence Conference 2017 in May.

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How to Learn Machine Learning by Ben Levy

(This article was originally published at techemergence.com)


How to Learn Machine Learning – an Investor’s Perspective

Episode Summary: There’s been lot of hype around AI and ML in business over the past five years. Even among investors exist a lot of misconceptions about using ML in a business context, and how to get up to speed on and learn machine learning as it applies to utility in industry. Recently, I talked with Benjamin Levy of BootstrapLabs in San Francisco, whom I met through an investment banking friend in Boston.

BootstrapLabs invests in Bay area companies, and Levy also travels around the world speaking about investing in AI companies and raising funds for new ventures. In this episode, Levy gives his perspective on what investors and executives get wrong about ML and and AI, and discusses how they can get up to speed and leverage the applications for these technologies and related expertise to really make a difference (i.e. increased ROI) in their businesses.

Expertise: Technology; Corporate Development & Strategy; Product Development

Brief Recognition: Ben Levy is the co­-founder of BootstrapLabs, a leading venture capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

Born in France and living in Silicon Valley for the past 18 years, Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built, and exited two startups in the financial technology space. Praedea Solutions, a data mining software company using machine learning and image recognition technology, was acquired by Mergent in 2005, and InsideVenture, a financial social network for the founders of venture-­backed pre-­IPO startups and long­-only institutional investors on Wall Street, was acquired by SecondMarket in 2009 (and is now part of NASDAQ).

Earlier in his career, Ben was a Technology, Media, and Telecom Investment Banker who advised startup founders and CxOs of Fortune 500 companies on corporate strategy, financing, and M&A. Ben is also a frequent keynote and panel speaker on innovation, technology investing, entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence, and globalization in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Current Affiliations: Co-founder of BootstrapLabs

Interview Highlights:

The following is a condensed version of the full audio interview, which is available in the above links on TechEmergence’s SoundCloud and iTunes stations.

(1:54) What do you see as some of the bigger misconceptions around machine learning in industry by business people and investors?

Benjamin Levy: We’ve had the benefit of traveling around the world…we talk to executives, family offices, people that are running businesses, and I think there’s been a lot of hype around AI…it’s nothing new, it’s been around about 50 years, there’s been an incredible breakthrough lately, but that’s coming as a result of the explosion of big data, of computing power at scale…

…I think it actually starts with basic lack of understanding of how the technology is going to impact their business…if you’re a business person, at the end of the day, you’re going to be caring about your ROI—is my product better, faster, cheaper; am I selling it to my customers and are my customers happier, and am I competitive. In 2 to 3 years, people will not be selling you AI software, they’ll be selling you upgrades, and that upgrade will have a lot of machine intelligence and a lot of AI, and you’re not going to talk about it because the way you sell AI technology is not going to change…now, the ability that you have as an executive, to have the right talent in-house to evolve your products so that they become smarter…that is the hard part….

(7:20) Talk about the notion (that you mentioned) of “lumpier” in the markets —what do you mean in that regard?

BL: If you look at the global perspective…just from a pure business stand point, we live in a world that is a lot more subject to interconnections and prices impacting one another and the terminal effect, I think in a world where we’re going to continue to see these ups and downs…the waves of disruptions are going to come in faster and faster…if you think about AI, we went from a world where we started to automate to a world that’s becoming more autonomous, a lot more intelligent; so we look at a world that is machine intelligence augmented by human beings…the two combine, but we’re going to move from a world where 80 percent of the work is being done by humans and 20 percent is begin done by machines to a world where 80 percent of the work is done by machines and 20 percent of the work is done by humans…

(10:14) Do you think that people are prepared for the investment involved?

BL: …are you going to be as a business investing heavily in your own capabilities of adopting and applying AI technologies so that you do? Who owns AI inside your company, who owns automation, and who’s going to be driving products that incorporate this other way of looking at things and solving problems?…There’s so many cooks in the kitchen on the inside is side in the corporations; on the other side, you have a lack of vision as to what these products and endpoint should be…

(12:50) What is the talent game for (those outside of Silicon Valley)…what does it look like for the folks who aren’t in the Bay?

BL: …when I think about these dynamics, if you were to be a startup in France focusing on AI, you have a great local pool of talent and you’re not in as much aggressive competition with the local Googles and Facebooks and Amazons of the world that they want to suck up all the talent from these universities, so play that to your advantage. We only invest in companies in Silicon Valley (SV), but the founders can be from anywhere in the world, the company could have ben started elsewhere, which means that we’re completely in favor of you maintaining an R&D somewhere in the place where you come from, where you speak the language, where you know the universities….

(18:35) What do companies do to start to grasp what is possible, see how they could be disrupted, where the opportunities lie?

BL: As a venture capitalist, we’re in a very unique, privileged position…we are educated constantly so we see patterns that are very interesting; my advice would be, talk to people who are in the business to get smarter and wiser, not just by reading things…but you need to talk to people that are on the front lines, who are doing it, you need to potentially be a corporation investing in (venture) funds as well…

…people should be using budgets to actually learn, you should be thinking where can we allocate money…you might actually get closer to people who organize that (sponsored) event and have incredible access, you could be working with incubators and accelerators…there’s a few different tools that corporations have that are accessible to them.

Big Ideas:

1 – People are not buying AI as a company, they’re buying results – a return on investment. AI shouldn’t be looked on as a “neat” thing, but something that has requirements, costs, and results, with a need for smart business decisions, the same as any valuable business tool.

2 – SV doesn’t necessarily have more talent, it just has more resources that allow companies to scale. AI and ML companies can and should get started and grow outside the SV ecosystem. The reason BootstrapLabs wants those companies to eventually have a presence in SV is the ability to scale ideas and ROI; returns are driven by acquisitions, and most of those willing to pay for these technologies are in SV.

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Announcing The Autonomous Corporation

The Autonomous Corporation

We stand in front of the 4th and largest wave of the industrial revolution, powered by AI and Data. This is the biggest opportunity so far for innovation and entrepreneurship, and every single industry will be disrupted and redefined by companies that are not yet even born.

With the AI market projected to grow over 20 fold in the next 10 years to $3Tn annually, we believe Applied Artificial Intelligence represents one of the major wealth creation opportunities of this century.

Any system that is not learning will soon die, and applying AI to new or existing systems will extend and accelerate societal improvement.

AI-driven systems will soon be able to build better, more efficient products that scale and solve problems in ways that have not been possible before. While everyone is talking about Autonomous Vehicles, we want to talk to you about the Autonomous Corporation, where most actions will be automated, decisions autonomously taken and where outcome will be learned from to continuously improve results. We are moving away from the world of Automated Systems and stepping into a world of Autonomous Systems.

 

The power of AI is about leveraging technology and big data, automating repetitive mechanical tasks, capturing more data from the real world, and ultimately empowering humans with actionable intelligence, rather than replacing them, and finally changing our world for the better!

Join us @ BootstrapLabs HQ for an exciting evening with the leaders of the Autonomous Revolution!

Space is very limited and we expect to reach full capacity quickly.

AGENDA

17:45 – 18:15: Registration
18:20 – 18:25: Welcome message
18:20 – 19:00: “The Autonomous Corporation” Keynote and Fireside Chat

  • Dr. Danny B. Lange, Head of Machine Learning at Uber
  • Ben Levy, Co-Founder at BootstrapLabs

19:00 – 20:00: “Enabling The Autonomous Corporation: AI Founders Insights”

  • Sabrina N. Atienza, Founder at Qurious.io
  • Alex Holub, Co-Founder at Vidora
  • Cathrine Andersen, Co-Founder at Roger.ai

20:00 – 20:30: “Drinks & Networking”


Meet speakers and companies presenting:

 

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Keynote: Dr. Danny B. Lange, Head of Machine Learning at Uber
Moderator: Ben Levy, Co-Founder, BootstrapLabs

19:00 “Enabling The Autonomous Corporation: AI Founders Insights”

 Autonomous Corporations AI Leaders Insights

Sabrina N. Atienza, Founder at Qurious.io

Alex Holub, Co-Founder at Vidora

Cathrine Andersen, Co-Founder at Roger.ai

See you on November 15th!

BootstrapLabs Autonomous Corporations

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Announcing AI PitchForce. Apply now!

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Presented by BootstrapLabs and PeopleConnect, AI Pitchforce is a can’t-miss opportunity for AI startup entrepreneurs to present to top angel investors and VCs. It will take place August 25th from 5:00-8:30 PM at Reed Smith, 101 2nd Street, San Francisco.

The AI PitchForce judges will be:

Companies presenting can expect the following:

  • A demo table on the show floor
  • Multiple networking opportunities with guests and investors
  • An opportunity to earn $500K – $1.5M in seed funding
  • The opportunity to present in front a panel of distinguished investors

Event Format:

During the demo period in the first hour, guests and investors will be able to vote on their favorite five companies. These companies will be granted a 4 minute pitch to the panel, followed by a 4 minute Q&A session and 4 minutes of feedback from the panel. The bottom companies will then be allowed a one minute elevator pitch to the panel. From these companies, one will be chosen to have a full 4 minute pitch in front of the panel. The winner will then be selected by the panel and receive a meeting with BootstrapLabs, a meeting with Javelin Venture Partners and a $1,500 scholarship to the Keiretsu Forum Capital Access Series.

Here’s how to apply:

Rules: Any early stage company specializing in AI or Applied AI may apply

Cost: Totally Free!

Email your Executive Summary and pitch deck to info@bootstraplabs.com to apply.

Guests interested in attending can purchase tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ai-pitchforce-tickets-26669745928

Thank you to our sponsor

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