Announcing BootstrapLabs’ investment in Hayden AI Technologies, Inc.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, Oct 13, 2020 – As cities across the globe announce their commitments to becoming smart and safe, technologies enabling this future emerge.  

Today, BootstrapLabs announced our latest investment – Hayden AI Technologies, Inc, a company that empowers cities on the path to becoming Smart Cities through their unique AI platform.

The funding round also includes investors Autotech Ventures, Tsingyuan Ventures and others, and will enable Hayden AI to accelerate their product development, helping cities eliminate traffic fatalities and improve efficiency.

Founded by Chris Carson, Bo Shen, Vaibhav Ghadiok, and Michael Byrne, Hayden AI revolutionizes urban mobility, providing cities a scalable and more efficient way to bring safe, healthy, and equitable mobility to the public.  Using edge computing and AI to process real time data from mobile cameras, the platform is able to create vast and detailed situational awareness for cities at a fraction of their current fixed camera cost.  Coupled with a knowledge and reasoning engine that fully automates the detection of any kind of traffic violation, the solution eliminates the need for human review, inherently filtering out bias and inefficiencies.

“We envision a world with safe roadways, efficient transportation, and fair and equitable mobility for all.  Leveraging our expertise in the autonomous vehicle space, we’ve created technology that does just that,” said Chris Carson, Co-Founder & CEO of Hayden AI.  “This funding enables us to connect additional smart cities and move forward with our vision.”

“Hayden’s unique ability to use computer vision and AI to extract data and knowledge from the physical environment of cities is the key for Smart Cities to become a reality,” said Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder and General Partner of BootstrapLabs. “Hayden’s platform is making cities smarter, their traffic flows safer, faster and more efficient.”

Hayden AI also announced that Stuart McKee is joining the executive team as COO, and Anthony Foxx has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

Stuart McKee served for more than 15 years as Microsoft’s Chief Technology Officer of U.S. State and Local Government, delivering technologies that advance state and local agencies’ ability to serve citizens.  Turning his attention to bringing Hayden AI to market, McKee sees a clear path, “Centralized, secure data is key to creating solutions that work broadly for public safety and urban mobility.  Hayden AI has the pieces in place ensuring the accuracy, scale and privacy necessary for universal adoption of this trusted platform.” 

Anthony Foxx served as the 17th US Secretary of Transportation, where he embraced technology by pushing forward new rules governing the commercial use of drones, blueprinted the most comprehensive national policy on autonomous vehicles in the world, and launched the Department’s first, and the Administration’s most successful, Smart City Challenge, engaging more than 70 cities to develop their own strategies to incorporate new technologies into their transportation networks.

“I look forward to joining Hayden AI to continue to tackle urban mobility challenges,” said Foxx.  “Their solution not only scales a city’s ability to create safer, more efficient traffic flows, but also addresses the very real issues of fair and just mobility.”

“Both Stuart’s experience bringing enterprise level technologies to state and local agencies, and Anthony’s expertise managing transportation policy, technology, and public-private partnerships will be invaluable as we continue to develop our solutions and expand our reach,” said Carson.

About Hayden AI

California-based Hayden AI Technologies, Inc. has developed an artificial intelligence-powered data collection platform for smart and safe cities to make their traffic flow faster and far more efficiently. The company is partnering with the world’s most innovative cities to deploy its vision-based mobile solution in a city’s fleet of vehicles to collect real-time data for the enforcement of traffic laws and other data services. 

To learn more about Hayden AI, visit

About BootstrapLabs

Established in 2008, BootstrapLabs is a leading early-stage Venture Capital firm based in San Francisco and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence.

BootstrapLabs invests in mission-driven founders who want to shape a better future by applying artificial intelligence to solve some of the world’s most important and valuable opportunities in sectors such as Mobility, Enterprise Productivity, Cybersecurity, Intelligent Computing, Health, Energy, and FinTech, among others. We are often the first institutional capital and act as a lead investor at the early stages, with follow-on capital for the later stages. 

Founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, BootstrapLabs has built a large community of Applied AI experts, founders, and executives to support its portfolio companies, and strives to be the most helpful and strategic investor, from product-market fit advisory to recruiting, business development, go-to-market strategy, and fundraising.

Join the BootstrapLabs Applied AI community online

BootstrapLabs has released several videos featuring interviews and presentations from new and past events on its online proprietary platform, BootstrapWorks.

BootstrapWorks is a community-centric platform that brings together the BootstrapLabs Applied AI community – a place where AI founders, executives, and investors can share insights, learn, and build great companies.

Latest video release: Applied AI and Intelligent Communities

Please sign in with LinkedIn to watch the video, receive future event invites, watch footage from BootstrapLabs Applied AI Conferences, and discover Fireside Chat sessions with portfolio founders.

Today, startups are able to use AI to more efficiently and successfully engage, manage, and empower communities to deliver next-generation services and create new business models. From virtual hospitals managing thousands of lives in real time, to community-centric networks powering the internet of things at the edge, or more sustainable energy production and smarter consumption. Intelligent communities will no doubt be at the heart of our new digital society and AI will play a major role in accelerating this transformation.

Speakers include:

  • Ben Levy, Co-Founder and General Partner, BootstrapLabs
  • Natalia Olson-Urtecho, Chief Strategy,  Innovation Officer and Co-Founder, The Disruptive Factory
  • Simon MacGibbon, CEO and Co-Founder, Myia Health
  • Micha Benoliel, CEO and Co-Founder, Nodle

More about BootstrapLabs Applied AI Insiders Series

BootstrapLabs Applied AI Insiders Series are quarterly, invite-only, networking events with thought leaders from our community sharing their latest insights and real-world applications of Artificial Intelligence across industries in which we invest. The fourth Industrial Revolution is already creating billions of dollars in opportunities and will impact people, corporations, and society in profound ways; the question is, what are you doing about it today?

More videos available at

Post COVID-19 World: The Bullish Case for (early stage) VCs & Founders [Part 3]


Applied AI Investment Thesis

The case for rapid adoption of Applied Artificial Intelligence across every sector remains valid, and if anything, the roadmap for adoption is being shortened considerably.

AI is part of the solution to fight COVID-19

Every day, we read about ways AI is helping fight COVID-19:

  • World’s Fastest Supercomputer Used To Stop COVID-19 (link here)
  • Autonomous robots use light beams to zap hospital viruses (link here)
  • A neural network that can detect coughing (link here)
  • Researchers use machine learning to discover coronavirus treatments (link here)

The Case for AI and Healthcare is Huge

Global venture capital funding in the digital health sector reached $8.9B in 2019, fuelled by the needs of an aging population, outdated infrastructure, and unsustainable business models and cost structures. According to Mercom Capital Group, $58B has been invested in the sector since 2010.

AI is driving major advances in diagnostics, drug discovery, trial efficiencies, mental health & wellness, quantified self, preventive medicine, continuous remote patient monitoring, intelligent prioritization. AI is also creating new models that will help redesign our healthcare systems of tomorrow, bringing instant diagnosis/testing at home or the nearest point of care, remote consultations, delivery of drugs, compliance, and providing doctors and drug companies with real time feedback loops. Last year, $4B was invested into AI and Healthcare companies, up from $2.7B the year before. We expect this number to stay flat or increase in the next 12-18 months as investors see the opportunity to benefit from an acceleration of digital health technology adoption as the world tries to better prepare for future health care crises like the one we are now experiencing.

Swift Legislative & Privacy Protection Changes

Governments are taking swift action to authorize or channel the delivery of new technologies and services to the people and organizations that need them the most. These changes in policies should help shorten the path to market for startups and their innovations. (e.g., EU Privacy Guidance for COVID-19 Data Processing, FDA Guidance on COVID-19 drug trials, etc.) 

Governments, like every corporation,  will need to digitalize their services and adopt new technology much faster in order to streamline their services and make them more efficient, scalable, and resilient. According to McKinsey research, this is a $1T annual market opportunity worldwide.

At the same time, western governments will need to find their (and their citizens’) own comfort levels with respect to monitoring policies and privacy protection. As Yuval Noah Harari said in his recent article in The Financial Times, “this storm will pass, but the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come. […] we face two particularly important choices. The first is between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.”

Several Other Sectors are Set to Thrive

Other sectors benefiting from Applied AI technologies are also expected to see an accelerated adoption curve, including industrial automation/autonomy, autonomous vehicles, cybersecurity/privacy protection, enterprise software collaboration/productivity, education, entertainment, foods, etc. With global experiments such as “Working from Home” and “Remote Tutoring/Schooling” involving millions of people, along with manufacturing site closures, transportation disruption, and people seeking new and interactive entertainment from home, it is hard not to be bullish on early stage venture investment leveraging Applied AI in any of these sectors.

The Digital Transformation can no longer wait

According to Wilshire Associates, $7.3 trillion in value has been removed from the total stock market since the February 19, 2020 high (which includes small and mid-sized companies). Corporations around the world moved from DEFCON 5 to DEFCON 1 levels in a matter of weeks. Boards around the world are asking their CEOs to implement immediate and far reaching digital transformation measures TODAY, and commit capital against it NOW, to ensure their survival. This transformation is no longer a “nice to have”, and “innovation theater” is no longer acceptable – time has run out.

On the bright side, 10 years of bull markets have provided significant cash reserves to corporations in the US and abroad. As of November 2019, the US cash reserves of US Corporations, excluding financial institutions, was expected to reach $1.5T by year end 2019, according to Moody’s

We expect corporations to use this accelerated capex/refresh cycle to “leapfrog” the traditional software vendors and adopt (and in some cases, acquire) startup developing AI-software/solutions.

A 2019 CIO survey from Sapphire Ventures stated that over 80% of CIOs are investing in AI and ML innovation today:

And that nearly 70% of them would rather trust a startup with AI/ML technology than an established player/vendor:

This will not only fuel revenue growth for AI startups, including those in BootstrapLabs’ portfolio, but it will accelerate the “build, partner, or buy” decision framework used by corporations as they rush to accelerate the digitalization of their day-to-day operations and seek to acquire talent and new products via strategic M&A deals.


Overall, I remain bullish on venture capital as an asset class, and especially early stage venture investing.

I am concerned about the failure risk of certain early stage companies that have strong long term value-creation potential, but may have gotten caught at the wrong time in their fundraising cycles, or have simply been overwhelmed by the sheer scale and speed at which this Pandemic has shut down the world economy.

Being an optimist though, I remind myself that most startup founders are used to operating under high levels of uncertainty, are capable of making quick decisions, are able to listen and adapt to the world around them, can manage remote teams in their sleep, and therefore, are much better prepared to survive this crisis than large corporations.

The worst stock market corrections may be behind us (since stock markets tend to already anticipate the future based on all known information today), but the health care crisis has not yet peaked.

The impact of this pandemic will be felt for months post contamination peak, and will likely act as a drag to any economic recovery until we find a cure or vaccine (which hopefully will take months, instead of years). The world is likely to plunge into a recession, but I trust the US will be able to recover faster than other economies, and bounce back first, as it often did in the past.

If you are the leader of a large corporation seeking to accelerate your digital transformation and believe that the adoption of AI technologies will be a key driver of your future success, or if you are an asset allocator seeking exposure to early stage Venture Capital returns in the Applied AI space, contact us, and we will be happy to discuss our views in greater depth.

Post COVID-19 World: The Bullish Case for (early stage) VCs & Founders [Part 2]


Exits: IPOs and M&A Landscape

Initial Public Offerings – IPOs

According to the Renaissance Capital research note of March 27, 2020, “The 2020 IPO market began with optimism and ended with the worst crash since the global financial crisis. 24 IPOs raised $6.8 billion, with as many as 20 companies forced to shelve offerings when the IPO window slammed shut in early March, as the focus of investors and policy-makers shifted to a post-coronavirus paradigm….Healthcare was both the most active and best-performing sector, accounting for half of all IPOs and averaging a 24% return, with drug development platform Schrödinger and health clinic One Medical performing well.”

Overall, Q1-2020 was a strong quarter, with half of the deals being Healthcare related, and biotechs driving activity and outperformance. It was significantly higher than Q1-2019, but lower than expected due to the Coronavius affecting the second half of March. As a result of the window shutdown, as many as 20 IPOs are delayed and await re-opening.

We can certainly expect the IPO window to remain shut until after the summer, which will exacerbate the issues for late stage private companies burning a lot of cash. They may need to seek another late stage private round, with significant downward valuation pressure. The window will eventually re-open, as it always does, with high quality companies leading the way, while others may seek an M&A alternative.

We can expect healthcare companies to continue leading the way in the IPO segment over the next few quarters, as the world starts to massively invest in healthcare solutions and infrastructure (see more below on the case for AI and Healthcare). Additionally, we can expect Enterprise Software to do well as corporations around the world seek to increase productivity by empowering their employees, irrespective of their locations (office or home), or reduce their dependence on employees all together. As Aaron Levie, the CEO of Box, said in a tweet on March 28, 2020:

As is always the case after a major market crisis, the bar will be raised and further scrutiny will be applied to companies going public. Investors will likely take a much closer look at supply chain resilience/risks and the capabilities of these businesses to cope with future pandemic-like disruption, remote working capacity, etc.

If the bar gets too high, it will further delay high growth companies from going public, and if Wall Street short-term investor views do not fit the companies focus on customer lifetime value (LTV) and acquisition costs (CAC), then it is likely that innovative, VC-backed, high-growth companies may seek alternative listing on Silicon Valley’s Long Term Stock Exchange.

Mergers and Acquisitions – M&As

Like the IPO market, we can expect M&A to pause as buyers start to look inward and evaluate the immediate and longer term implications of COVID-19 on their business. Deals in progress may also be delayed, as transaction value gets renegotiated, and synergies get re-evaluated.

Speaking with a former head of Global M&A deal at Google during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis, he said “the company, despite being one most active acquirers at the time, did a complete halt of its M&A activity for a period of 6-9 months, but that was immediately followed by one of the most active M&A periods in the history of the company, with more than a deal per week for a sustained period of 12 months”.

We can probably expect a similar “wait and see” period from most corporations, but the smart one should start acquiring smaller tech companies and their teams that will be seeking safe-harbor. Beside the digital leaders of today (most of which were born-digital), most corporations from the prior industrial era have been failing to “digitalize” fast enough, or at all. These companies will be facing significant pressure from their boards and shareholders to “aggressively” invest in their digital transformation, and M&A will become a very valuable tool for them to acquire valuable technology and talent they have not been able to develop and nurture in-house.

With $1.5T on the balance sheet of US Corporations at the end of 2019, I fully expect an acceleration of Tech M&A deals, especially in the $50-500M range.

Additionally, buy-out funds were sitting on $760B of dry powder at the end of 2019 (a historic high) and debt financing rates are likely to go down as well.

Historically PE firms have shied-away from what they consider the highly priced technology (and mostly venture-backed) sector. But as technology (and especially AI/ML) companies start to  be perceived as potential proprietary margin enablers to transform their portfolio companies, PE firms may reconsider how they measure the ROI of such acquisition. What if such an acquisition could lift each of their portfolio company’s profitability by 10-40% – in addition to their financial engineering and management strategies? This would be a total game changer for the fund that could master this strategy.

However, buy-out firms will first need to manage the fact that many of their portfolio companies are burdened with debt, a model that significantly reduces a company’s operational margin of error. Many PE-backed companies could soon default on their debt covenants, sending most PE firms scrambling and slowing down their ability to engage in new investments or acquisitions for months to come.

According to research firm The 415 Group, 2019 saw more tech M&A deals than 2018 (3,640 vs. 3,617), but the total transaction volume fell by 20% to $461B as historical key acquirers such Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and SAP did not ink a single deals over $1Bn. These acquirers could come back with a vengeance in 2020, or new tech firms born in the past two decades could continue to take over as leading acquirers and displace older, more-established buyers.

The US should continue to attract the majority of M&A deals, as per the chart below, and it bodes well for the  Venture Capitalists that are backing these companies.

Not all M&A themes are created equal, and when it come to AI and ML technology, which is BootstrapLabs’ core investment focus, that theme has been ranking #1 in terms of priority for acquirers, and the volume has been growing exponentially (see charts below).


Post COVID-19 World: The Bullish Case for (early stage) VCs & Founders [Part 1]

Early-stage venture capitalists are in the business of hitting targets most people cannot see. Our focal point is usually set 3 to 5 years into the future. We often discover a future that is already available today but is not yet evenly distributed.

This is why founders, like early-stage VCs, need to be visionaries and look beyond the horizon. Many people are struggling to think past tomorrow, especially when the present is uncertain, and the specter of recession looms with skyrocketing unemployment claims as shown in The New York Times recently.

Being born in the mid 70’s during the first oil price shock, I am old enough to remember working my way through several major crises including the Asian Financial Crisis (1997), the Dot-Com Bubble Burst (2000), 9/11 (2001), the Global Financial Crisis (2007), and now, the COVID-19 Pandemic. Today, I find myself managing and investing venture capital on behalf of financial institutions, corporations, and wealthy families (most of whom became wealthy as a result of entrepreneurial endeavors). Below is a chart that puts these crises, and their impact on the S&P 500 in perspective.

And here is a close-up of the 10+ year bull market we experienced, and the recent drop caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: 

While things always seem worse when you are in the midst of it and the lives of you and your loved ones get impacted, you need to remember  that humanity, and our economies, are more resilient than we tend to believe. Through innovation, solidarity, and leadership, things do get better, and often even better than they were before the crisis hit. These crises tend to reveal quickly and dramatically everything that is wrong, broken, or plain backwards in our society, and give us the opportunity to learn, and spring forward to rebuild a better world.

The scale and speed of this pandemic is unprecedented in modern history, but we also have the technology and knowledge to solve for it in unprecedented ways.

Impact on the Venture Funding Environment

Limited Partners

I recently spoke with the head of venture investment of a large public pension fund and the conversation went something like this: “Putting public markets and other asset classes aside, we are pretty comfortable with our seed fund allocations and believe they are in a strong position to take advantage of this market turn-around. This is something we saw in 2000-2001, and again in 2007-2008…we are more concerned with our later stage/growth fund allocations, as recent years have seen very high valuations, the IPO window is likely to remain shut for a prolonged period of time, and some companies have considerable operational loses, which they justified with fast growth…but that may no longer be sustainable.”

As illustrated by the chart below, the US seed stage market will remain the most attractive risk/return segment of the market.

This white paper  from Invesco explains why limited partners should consistently invest in the venture capital asset class, in up and down cycles, while this blog post does a pretty good job of explaining  that we are not in a recession following a global financial meltdown like the one we witnessed in 2007-08, nor are we in a recession caused by a war triggered by a shocking act of terrorism like 9/11, but that we are in a sudden global economic recession due to the consequences of a global health crisis.

While some of the indicators may have pointed to the end of the bull market for the past few months, the economy, job market, and other key indicators were not in the red before this health crisis. Once uncertainty (and fear-driven, irrational exuberance) are removed from the market, people will regain confidence in our ability to get this virus under control, and the path to a recovery will emerge.

I will focus my thoughts on the Seed and Series A stage in this post, since this is where we invest.

Seed Stage

Early stage funding is likely to suffer most in the short term as high-net-worth individuals and angel investors who flooded the market in boom years will retract from the market. Because of the level of noise pre-COVID 19, and the lack of traditional metrics to assess opportunities at that stage, we expect many companies that were funded (and probably should not have been) will not be able to secure additional capital and will fail (or find safe harbor in the hands of a strategic, or negotiate an acquihire), effectively purging the market. After the initial shock, we may see angel investors returning to the market like we saw in 2007-2008 as valuations get lower and they see a “good deal” for their money. Experienced investors, able to perform institutional level due diligence at velocity, will be able to secure great deals/value. A similar flight to quality will happen, and institutional seed fund managers like BootstrapLabs are well positioned to benefit from this “buy-side” driven environment.

Series A Stage

Several Series A stage venture firms raised a lot of “dry powder” in the last 18 months (e.g, Sequoia, Andressen Horowitz, Lightspeed, NEA, etc.), resulting in over $276B available for the best startups reaching that stage and beyond. We expect a similar flight to quality and only top teams and companies with demonstrated traction will receive follow-on funding. But this is not much different from pre-COVID-19 criteria (and BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies have fared better than most in that area, as demonstrated by our current 48% conversion rate from Seed to Series A within a short 3 year period).

Here is a chart of the venture capital industry since the last Global Financial Crisis. The market has grown significantly since 2008, mostly driven by a bull market, lower returns in the public sector, delayed IPOs, and late-stage mega-rounds, which really  should be considered “Growth Financing” rather than Venture Capital as Mark Suster said in his presentation here.

Back in 2015-2016, BootstrapLabs was among the first seed VC firms to recognize the opportunity to invest in Applied AI technology startups that were solving large and valuable problems by leveraging recent advances in computing power, broadband, and the data explosion. 3-4 years later, Applied AI adoption is still in its infancy and continues to attract a growing portion of the venture capital deals, especially around enterprise/industrial automation, cybersecurity, healthcare, mobility, etc.

What about Corporate Venture Capital (CVC)?

CVCs have been increasingly active over the past decade of bull markets, and last year were involved in approximately 30% of all venture financing rounds.

During the Dot-Com Bubble Burst, CVC seriously retracted from venture investments, and most did not return until after the Global Financial Crisis. Since a large number of CVC still invest from their balance sheet, one of the first things corporations may do to preserve cash is to reduce their CVC budget or allocation. I would not be surprised to see a 25-30% pull back in the market, but the wiser corporations will learn from the past and stay active in this coming market.

Corporations  that did not have CVC programs in place before this crisis will likely need to jumpstart their efforts by setting up shop sooner rather than later, partnering with groups like Silicon Foundry, or finding (earlier stage focused) VC funds to work with via Limited Partnership Investments (usually a much faster – and often more successful – way to tap into specific sector of the startup innovation ecosystem).

CVC arms are a key component to accelerate knowledge and access to outside innovation, and will need to go hand in hand with M&A to accelerate a corporation’s transformation. For more information on how and why to set up a CVC, I would recommend my friend Evangelos Simoundis’ blog posts here

As a VC firm focused on Applied AI, we are working closely with our Corporate Limited Partners, as well as families that own large corporations, to ensure they stay at the forefront of the 4th Industrial Revolution.


Collection of COVID-19 resources for founders / entrepreneurs

BootstrapLabs has been in touch with our portfolio company CEOs on a nearly daily basis and are fully committed to supporting them in every way possible. Here is a collection of advice and resources we are sharing with them, and other founders and entrepreneurs. We will continue to update this blog post as we find useful information. (Last update: 2020 May 18, 12:54pm PDT)

  1. Coronavirus: The Black Swan of 2020 – Sequoia
  2. World Health Organization – Coronavirus-2019
  3. COVID-19 Relief Resources for SMBs – Gusto
  4. Coronavirus Information and Resources for VCs and Startups – NVCA
  5. SBA to Provide Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  6. A Coronavirus Update with Leading Health Experts and Business Leaders (3-20-20) – Goldman Sachs Podcast   – Slide Deck here
  7. What I’m hearing about venture right now – by Samir Kaji, VC/tech advisor, venture blogger, active angel investor, banker & friend of BootstrapLabs
  8. SBA Crisis loans may work for startups – plus alternative funding sources – Kruze Consulting
  9. COVID-19: Business Resiliency & Preparedness Center – TriNet
  11. Startups and SBA Loans – Fred Wilson
  12. Database of Government, Public & Private Startup Assistance for Impact of Covid19
  13. Differential Ventures Announces a COVID-19 Grant Program ($10,000 to $25,000)
  14. CARES / SBA loans for funded startups – Kruze
  15. PPP Loan Program – Additional Interim Final Rules – Cooley
  16. Digital strategy in a time of crisis – McKinsey
  17. SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): SBA Publishes Loan Forgiveness Application and Instructions for Borrowers – Wilson Sonsini
  18. Wilson Sonsini’s COVID-19 Client Advisory Resource

BootstrapLabs portfolio company, Mendel, is codifying COVID-19

Mendel, a BootstrapLabs portfolio company, has announced that they have assembled a task force to address COVID-19 using applied artificial intelligence. Please see this announcement from Mendel Founder & CEO Karim Galil:

Hello, World!

Mendel has ramped up it’s working force and assembled a 50+ special task force of AI scientists, physicians, and clinical experts to address COVID-19 with clinical artificial intelligence—because it’s basically the one thing we know how to do to save lives.

The goal is to absorb the learnings in the literature and cross-reference with the EMR data of COVID-19 +ve patients to answer key questions and corroborate findings faster with greater accuracy than humans. We are using novel clinical AI models, which we’ve been quietly building the last 2 years, to:

1- Parse and analyze 30,000 scholarly articles related to CoV. Mendel AI is trained to understand the clinical context and make valid inferences. For example, a “transmission” query returns something like “no intrauterine infection reported”.

2- Deidentify and analyze medical records of COVID-19 patients. Mendel AI extracts temporal relations, or simply put: the sequence of clinical events, by parsing a patient MR without risking privacy. This approach should help predict the course of SARS- CoV, and the outcome of different drugs and treatment approaches.

The scientific and clinical community can use these powerful tools and leverage our AI technologies for free, in a few days, via a web application.

We are currently looking for partners to sustain this initiative and spread its impact. Please ping me if you think you can help or if you just need access.


Karim Galil

BootstrapLabs is proud to be supporting Karim and his team with this important effort. If you can help, or need access to Mendel’s soon to be released web application we will be happy to provide an introduction. Please contact us at

Sibly Offers Complimentary Services for the COVID-19 crisis

In these unprecedented times of “Social Distancing” and “Isolation”, you, your family, and your coworkers, may feel under an increased amount of stress and confusion, or simply a bit overwhelmed.

One of BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies, Sibly, has announced a great initiative to immediately assist others. Sibly will provide any US-based organization, their employees, and their family members, with a complimentary 3 months of service with their wellness coaching solution, including:

  • Someone to talk to, anytime, anywhere, anonymously, about anything. Sibly’s chat-based application has real people trained in empathic listening available 24/7, within minutes, to address everyone’s needs, questions, worries, concerns (e.g., health, financial, relationships, parenting, etc.)
  • Real-time navigation of the national COVID-19 resources, assisting each person individually in finding the resources that meet their needs.

This is an incredible resource for your organization’s employees, who will appreciate the support provided by their leadership.

Companies can learn more at and can enroll / sign-up at

Please let us know ( if you have any questions or need a direct intro to the Sibly team.

Geopolitical Implications of Coronavirus: Preliminary Insights

BootstrapLabs Special Advisor and Founder & CEO of FutureGrasp, Tom Campbell, Ph.D. and his team have published an article titled “Geopolitical Implications of Coronavirus: Preliminary Insights” that we thought was important to share with our community.

Executive Summary

Coronavirus will have major global impacts throughout 2020, scrambling geopolitical calculations and trajectories in multiple and unanticipated ways. However, at this early stage some preliminary guideposts and indicators are coming into focus that will enable a better assessment of possible impacts and likely future considerations. Economic disruptions caused by the virus are already underway and likely to grow worse. Political impacts are likely to follow with key implications for international security and the outlook for continued globalization. Coronavirus could affect every country, but key countries will initially stand out in terms of impact and possible responses due to their global role or the degree to which their population is infected. Certain international issues such as trade, migration, conflict, surveillance and climate change will also face a disproportionate impact from the spread of the virus and consequential responses. FutureGrasp is dedicating significant resources for clients to provide further insights and key recommendations as the crisis continues to unfold.

You can read the full report HERE.

Panel and Private LP Reception at SuperReturn International 2020

BootstrapLabs is pleased to announce that Nicolai Wadstrom will be speaking at SuperReturn International on February 25 at 9:25 am at the InterContinental Hotel in Berlin.

Bringing private equity into the digital age: How far have we really come?

  • To what extent are PE firms utilizing technology to optimize efficiency and disrupt traditional value chains? 
  • What are the best solutions for achieving accelerated access to data and speeding up the process of investor onboarding, decision making, and compliance reporting?

Every year, SuperReturn International brings together over 3,000 attendees, including some of the world’s most influential GPs and LPs, for a multi-day conference to share their knowledge and insights.

After the success of our participation as a speaker at SuperReturn West, and SuperReturn East last year, we welcome the opportunity to share our insights on how Applied AI is disrupting the work of GPs, LPs, and the assets they invest in.

Private LP Reception: Allocation Strategies for the 4th Industrial Revolution

BootstrapLabs is hosting an invitation-only LP Reception on February 25 at 6:30 pm to continue the conversation with select guests interested in decoding AI trends, understanding AI’s impact on existing portfolio allocations, and capturing what promises to be one of the largest wealth creation opportunities of the next decade. For more information or to request an RSVP, please click here.

Announcing BootstrapLabs Applied AI Insiders Series: Applied AI and Intelligent Communities – Webcast

Applied AI and Intelligent Communities

Today, startups are able to use AI to more efficiently and successfully engage, manage, and empower communities to deliver next-generation services and create new business models. From virtual hospitals managing thousands of lives in real time, to community-centric networks powering the internet of things at the edge, or more sustainable energy production and smarter consumption. Intelligent communities will no doubt be at the heart of our new digital society and AI will play a major role in accelerating this transformation.

BootstrapLabs Applied AI Insiders Series are quarterly, invite-only, networking events with thought leaders from our community sharing their latest insights and real-world applications of Artificial Intelligence across industries in which we invest. The fourth Industrial Revolution is already creating billions of dollars in opportunities and will impact people, corporations, and society in profound ways; the question is, what are you doing about it today?

Come join us to learn more about how Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize the very fabric of our society, and influence economic models by establishing the digital infrastructure to intelligently create, engage, and manage communities.


Following precautionary measures surrounding the COVID-19 (Coronavirus), BootstrapLabs, together with its event space partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, has decided to cancel the physical gathering of this event, and instead would like to invite everyone to join this Applied AI Insiders Series via a webcast starting at 5:00pm PDT Wednesday, March 11, 2020.

The event will start a bit earlier than initially planned so people can join at the end of their workday, and will end shortly after 6:15pm PDT.

In an effort to facilitate present and future networking opportunities for webcast attendees, BootstrapLabs will share contact list information of all attendees with fellow live attendees who have opted-in.

Or contact:


  • 5:00 pm – 5:05 pm | Greetings
  • 5:05 pm – 6:05 pm | Guest Keynotes + Q&A
  • 6:05 pm – 6:15 pm | Recap and Closing


Ben Levy, Co-Founder and General Partner, BootstrapLabs

Ben has been actively investing in technology startups and supporting BootstrapLabs’ portfolio companies. Born in France and living in Silicon Valley for the past 20 years, Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built and exited two startups in the financial technology space.

Earlier in his career, Ben was an Investment Banker who advised CxOs of Fortune 500 companies and startup founders on corporate strategy, financing, and M&A. His banking experience spans across firms like Lazard, SG Cowen, Houlihan Lokey, Wedbush Securities, and QuantumWave Capital.

Ben is also a member of AAAI (Association for the Advancement of AI), and a frequent keynote speaker on innovation, technology investing, entrepreneurship, and artificial intelligence in the US, Europe, and Asia.

Natalia Olson-Urtecho, Chief Strategy,  Innovation Officer and Co-Founder, The Disruptive Factory

Natalia Olson-Urtecho is a serial entrepreneur with more than 20 years of experience working with international, regional and local entities in Latin America, Central Europe, Asia and the U.S. She is an expert in smart cities, finance, government, international diplomacy, commercialization of technologies, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, mobility, public engagement and infrastructure. She is the Co-Founder of the Disruptive Factory and the COO of the RadicalxChange Foundation. She was appointed by President Obama as the SBA Regional Administrator managing yearly 35 billion dollars in government contracts and 8 billion in loans for SMEs. She was responsible for delivery and management of small business programs, development initiatives and financial assistance, overseeing 180 SBA offices. Natalia was appointed to Philadelphia’s Planning Commission and served as the Vice Chair of the Zoning Code Commission. She was appointed to the U.S. Innovation Advisory Board to advise Congress and the White House on competitiveness and innovation. She has been honored with numerous prestigious awards such as Woman of Distinction for her work in sustainable infrastructure & the green economy.

Simon MacGibbon, CEO and Co-Founder, Myia Health

Simon MacGibbon is the CEO and co-founder of Myia Health, a predictive and personalized health monitoring platform for virtual patient care. Myia uses machine learning to transform streams of real-world health data into timely and actionable clinical insights.Simon has 25 years of experience using technology to create data driven products and transform enterprise capabilities. Prior to co-founding and leading Myia Health, Simon co-founded the Boston Consulting Group’sDigital Ventures global team. At BCGDV, Simon led teams responsible for imagining, building, and commercializing new technology platforms to help some of the world’s most influential companies innovate like startups. Simon was formerly an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Co.and led CRM and analytics implementations with IBM. Simon’s belief in the applied benefits of physiological measurement surfaced in the 1990s, while studying neuro psychology and as an exercise physiology researcher and subject at Otago University. Simon has a BSc from Otago University in New Zealand and a BA (Hons) in Applied andIndustrial Psychology from the University of Canterbury.

Micha Benoliel, CEO and Co-Founder, Nodle

Micha is a visionary and serial entrepreneur focused on building Nodle, a global and decentralized wireless network for connecting IoT devices to the internet. Prior to founding Nodle, he enabled Skype to launch Skype In and Skype Out and built several ventures and products in the space of telecommunications, networking and the Internet: Open Garden, FireChat, and PiperChain (Sold to RightMesh).

BootstrapLabs at Davos 2020

Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder and CEO of BootstrapLabs, will be speaking on stage at the TechPark Davos Conference 2020, Global AI Thought Leaders Stream – Hyperconnected Humanity a side event in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum. 

With the perspective as Founder and CEO of the leading Venture Capital firm in Applied Artificial Intelligence, Nicolai will talk about how our world is going from Automation to Autonomous, and how that will impact people, organizations and society.

TechPark Davos 2020 Conference, the Strategic Council for Business and Economics brings hundreds of thought leaders, think tanks, tech & industry experts, and innovators together to focus on Artificial Intelligence, EduTech, MedTech, and Fintech, and turn these to societies’ best advantage worldwide. This conference, taking place parallel to the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, offers a great opportunity to intensify the conversation around Artificial Intelligence on one of the highest global levels possible.

To sign up for our mailing list, click here.

BootstrapLabs at World Bank – Digital Mashreq Forum

Luigi Congedo, Principal, at BootstrapLabs, will be speaking during the Digital Mashreq Forum, hosted under the patronage of HRH Crown Prince Al Hussein Bin Abdullah II, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship in Jordan, and the World Bank Group.

Luigi will share his story and explain how BootstrapLabs has become a leading Venture Capital firm in Applied Artificial Intelligence, and how the firm helps startups to successfully scale globally from Silicon Valley.

This two-day high-level event will serve as a platform to discuss the role of digitalization in shaping the region’s future through the lens of government and business leaders.

The Digital Mashreq Forum will bring together partners from governments and private sector representatives from Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq as well as executives from international and regional businesses and investors. Many tech leaders will join Luigi on stage, including, Omar Razzaz, Prime Minister of Jordan, The World Bank Chief Economist, Rabah Arezk, Mr. Osama Al-Zoubi, Chief Technology Officer, CISCO, MEA, Mr. Diego Massidda, CEO, Partner Markets at Vodafone Group, and many others.

The event will take place on June 29 and 30, 2019 at the King Hussein Business Park in Amman, Jordan.

Follow the discussions via #DigitalMashreq

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BootstrapLabs To Speak at The SuperReturn US East Private Equity Venture Capital Conference

BootstrapLabs Co-Founder, Benjamin Levy, will be speaking at the SuperReturn US East Private Equity Venture Capital Conference in Boston, on June 11th, 2019.

The conference will bring together over 450 of the leading players in Private Equity and Venture Capital from the West Coast, for an unparalleled opportunity to meet, learn, and create new business ventures.

Ben, along with other leading industry experts, will share their strategies and discuss key issues during a session called: A.I. will radicalize VC and PE.

More about Ben Levy:

Ben Levy is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of BootstrapLabs, a leading Venture Capital firm based in Silicon Valley and focused on Applied Artificial Intelligence. Ben is a repeat entrepreneur who launched, built, and exited two startups in the financial technology space. Praedea Solutions, a data mining and machine learning startup acquired by Mergent in 2006, and InsideVenture, an information portal for venture-backed pre-IPO companies and institutional investors, acquired by Second Market/NASDAQ in 2009.

Early in his career, Ben was an Investment Banker who advised CxOs of Fortune 500 companies. Over a period of 10 years, Ben helped his clients raise over $300M and close over $5B in M&A transactions. Ben worked at Lazard, SG Cowen, Houlihan Lokey, Wedbush Securities, and QuantumWave Capital.

Ben is a member of the AAAI (Association for the Advancement of AI), and a frequent keynote speaker on innovation, technology investing, entrepreneurship, and artificial intelligence in the US, Europe, and Asia.


BootstrapLabs at The World’s Largest Entrepreneurship Conference

EVENT:  TiEcon 2019 May 10th and 11th,  Santa Clara Convention Center

Nicolai Wadstrom, Founder and CEO of BootstrapLabs, will be interviewed live on stage at TiEcon 2019. Nicolai will share his story and explain how BootstrapLabs has become a leading Venture Capital firm in Applied Artificial Intelligence.

TiEcon is the largest technology anchored conference dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship. It has attracted over 60,000 entrepreneurs and professionals from over 50 countries in the past. Last year alone, there were over 5,000 participants from 19 countries.

TiEcon 2019 will focus on the hottest areas of innovation including AI/machine learning, security, FinTech, and digital health, in addition to hosting its flagship tracks on “entrepreneurship how-tos”, youth, and women.

Nicolai will be interviewed during a FIRESIDE CHAT on Friday, May 10th, from 3:00 to 3:30 pm. Join him and learn how BootstrapLabs selects, invests and supports the best Applied AI entrepreneurs.

This year, along with Nicolai, many other industry leaders will join the conference including Eric S. Yuan,  CEO of Zoom, Ashish Bansal, AI Leader, ML Engineering at Twitter, and many C-level executives from companies such as Adobe, NVIDIA, Salesforce, McKinsey, FedEX, Oracle, IBM, and many others.

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