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A.I. for the better good

A.I. for the better good
June 15, 2020

Moderating content is a major challenge for all online platforms, but it's all the harder for smaller companies and apps to enforce standards and protect users from hate and harassment. Quality content moderation requires specialized skills that are in high demand, putting smaller companies in a bind. Enter Sentropy, a startup offering machine-learning-based tools to help companies identify and sort potentially problematic user-posted content. Customers can either use Sentropy Defend, a browser-based moderation tool or plug into Sentropy through its API, Sentropy Detect.
 


 


Snapchat is making its AR filters available to developers, furthering its monetization progress. A key change is an update to Lens Studio, the free desktop development app used to create most of Snapchat’s AR filters. A new feature called SnapML will let developers import machine learning models to power lenses, expanding the range of real-world objects and body parts Snapchat will be able to instantly identify. As an example of the technology, Lens Studio will include a new foot tracking ML model developed by Wannaby, enabling developers to craft Lenses for feet. Many apparel companies have already on-boarded the platform as they contemplate more concrete monetization and marketing uses.

Snap is also previewing a new feature, Local Lenses, which will “soon” let users share persistent augmented reality content within neighborhoods. Local Lenses promises to create large-scale point clouds to recognize multiple buildings within an area — an expansion of the company’s prior Landmarking feature — and to map entire city blocks, the same vision pursued by companies such as Immersal and Scape (now owned by Facebook). Unlike rivals, which have focused primarily on mapping and marketing applications, Snap plans to let users change the look of neighborhoods with digital content.

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AI Content Moderators:

Two Hat's Community Sift currently provides content moderation solutions to clients like SuperAwesome and Kabam. Most recently, Two Hat collaborated with Canadian law enforcement to develop CEASE.ai, an artificial intelligence model that detects new child sexual abuse material (CSAM) for use by law enforcement and social platforms. Now, with ImageVision's computer vision and deep learning expertise boosting their existing technology, Two Hat is poised to provide the most accurate pornography and CSAM detector in the industry.

TaskUs, the business process outsourcing service that moderates content, annotates information and handles back-office customer support for some of the world’s largest tech companies, began as a browser-based virtual assistant company and is now one of the main providers in the growing field of content moderation for social networks and content annotation for training the algorithms that power artificial intelligence services around the world.

L1ght, an Israeli startup using AI to detect and filter harmful online content to protect children, has developed technology that can detect and predict toxic content in online text, audio, videos, or images. “Toxic content” includes (and is not limited to) cyberbullying, hate speech, and predatory behavior. Built on proprietary algorithms, the L1ght platform is essentially a one-stop-shop for customers who want to monitor and protect an online community, such as social networks, communication apps, gaming platforms, and hosting providers (the majority of its current clients are secret and kept confidential). The algorithms were designed by a multidisciplinary team of cybersecurity experts, data scientists, psychologists, and anthropologists. According to L1ght, this approach gives its product an edge when compared to standard mathematical-based AI and content moderation tools. L1ght can read context and flag material that is specifically harmful to kids.

Sentropy, a startup developing platform-agnostic tools to detect online abuse, designs products to address the lack of oversight on social media platforms, where content moderators only review a small portion of the millions of examples of abuse flagged daily. Sentropy counts among its workforce former Apple, Microsoft, and Lattice employees, as well as the former head of strategy and operations at Palantir. A number of the company’s founders worked together at Apple acquisition target Lattice Data, which collaborated with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) through the Memex program to fight human trafficking. As a part of the effort, they looked at the signals from sources like Craigslist, Backpage, and dark web forums, like language commonly associated with trafficking, and this work inspired Sentropy’s solution.

Funding & Deal Highlights:
  
Amid surging demand for grocery delivery due to the coronavirus pandemic, Instacart raises $225M in a new funding round led by DST Global and General Catalyst. The round increases Instacart’s valuation to $13.7B, up from $8B when it last raised money in 2018.

Verve Therapeutics, a next-generation cardiovascular company developing therapies that safely edit the adult human genome to permanently reduce a person’s risk of coronary heart disease, announces it has raised $63M in a Series A2 financing from both existing and new investors. The Series A2 round was led by existing investor GV (formerly Google Ventures) with participation from current investors ARCH Venture Partners, F-Prime Capital, and Biomatics Capital. New investors Wellington Management and Casdin Capital also joined the round. This additional financing reflects the company’s strong preclinical progress to date and buildout of a world-class scientific team.

Wipro, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company, announces a partnership with CloudKnox Security. The Wipro and CloudKnox joint solution enables enterprises to proactively protect and manage their Hybrid and Multi-Cloud infrastructure by continuously detecting and remediating over-permissioned identities.

Haus Services, Inc., a San Francisco, CA-based real estate co-investor offering liquidity and affordability to homeowners, closes a $15.75M Series A funding round.

Postman has built an enterprise API platform and is rewarded with a $150M Series C investment on a whopping $2B valuation — all during a pandemic.

Enterprise automation startup JIFFY.ai announces it has raised $18M in Series A funding for product development and expansion into new markets around the world. The round was led by Nexus Venture Partners, with participation from Rebright Partners and W250 Venture Fund.

Novo Nordisk is paying $725M to acquire the VC-backed US biotech, Corvidia Therapeutics, and its promising Phase II candidate, ziltivekimab, for chronic kidney disease. Additional payments could total more than $2B.

Summit Partners closes on a growth funding round in CoderPad, a San Francisco, CA-based provider of a platform for assessing technical skills.

Capital Partners has acquired MicroCare, a manufacturer of fluids and tools used for cleaning, coating, and lubrication.

Since last week, PrivCo has added:
320,656 Profiles Updates | 134 M&A Deals182 Funding Activities
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JD.com is the third high-profile secondary listing by a Chinese new economy company in the past eight months. [Read more].
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