The Future Economy Project

Andrew Ng is raising a $150M AI Fund

 We knew that Andrew Ng had more than just a series of deep learning courses up his sleeve when he announced the first phase of his last week. It’s clear now that the turn of Ng’s three part act is a $150 million venture capital fund targeting AI investments. Ng, who formerly founded Google’s Brain Team and served as chief scientist at Baidu has long… Read More

Tetra raises a $1.5M seed round to bring deep learning to voice transcription

 There are a million and one services for voice transcription on the market. But even with just one job to do, I’ve never seen a service that can handle the long tale of vocabulary used in the real world. This is particularly challenging if you’re a startup trying to sell your service to enterprises that rely on accurate transcription for their operations. Jon Goldsmith, co-founder… Read More

Our favorite startups from 500 startups’ 21st class

 Another season, another group of startups presenting as part of 500 Startups’ 21st demo day. This time around, 29 companies pitched on stage at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. We noticed strong trends in healthcare focused businesses as well as startups tackling international markets out of the gate. Perhaps the most interesting trait of the startups selected for our top… Read More

Making Sense of Our Very Competitive, Super Monopolistic Economy

In the 1980s and 1990s, Blockbuster modernized the movie rental business. It offered far more movies than its smaller rivals, used computers to better manage that inventory, and designed its stores to be bright and family friendly. By 1993, just eight years after its founding, Blockbuster was the global leader in movie rentals, with more than 3,400 stores worldwide. Then Netflix happened. Blockbuster went bankrupt in 2010. Economist Luigi Zingales mentions the Blockbuster story in a recent paper as an example of how the economy ought to work. A company has an innovative idea, which for a while provides competitive advantage. Later on, a new innovator comes along and pushes it aside. But Zingales fears that this isn’t happening as often as it should. Instead, he argues, the U.S. economy may be succumbing to what he calls “the Medici cycle,” named for the powerful family of medieval Florence. Their
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Clara Labs nabs $7M Series A as it positions its AI assistant to meet the needs of enterprise teams

 Clara Labs, creator of the Clara AI assistant, is announcing a $7 million Series A this morning led by Basis Set Ventures. Slack Fund also joined in the round alongside existing investors Sequoia and First Round. The startup will be looking to further differentiate within the crowded field of email-centric personal assistants by building in features and integrations to address the needs of… Read More

Is the U.S. Ready for a Single-Payer Health Care System?

Ironically, as congressional Republicans have been trying to replace the Affordable Care Act, the ACA’s popularity is at an all-time high, and the majority of Americans now believe that it is the federal government’s responsibility to provide health care for all Americans. This shift in sentiment suggests that a single-payer system — a “Medicare for all” — may soon be a politically viable solution to America’s health care woes. This system has long been an aspiration of the far left, yet even the right now seems to acknowledge its growing likelihood. Following his decision not to support the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate Republican leadership’s latest attempt to replace the ACA, Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, warned in a statement: “[I]f we leave the federal government in control of everyday health care decisions, it is more likely that our health care system will devolve into a single-payer system, which
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