Top VC deals: Chinese AI robots land $150 million; a high school esports league picks up a major league backer

Top VC deals: Chinese AI robots land $150 million; a high school esports league picks up a major league backer

Autodesk Autodesk president and CEO Andrew Anagnost. Autodesk this week agreed to buy construction software company PlanGrid for $875 million. The San Francisco-based start-up previously raised $69 million in funding from investors including YCombinator, Sequoia Capital and Tenaya Capital. PlanGrid enables real-time construction tracking for contractors and and architects. Autodesk “makes software for people who make things.” Start-ups Beijing-based robotics company Geek+ completed a $150 million Series B round from backers including Warburg Pincus, Volcanics Venture and Vertex Ventures. The company develops artificial intelligence and robotics technology for supply chain…

Read More

Robots Welcome Visitors to Berlin Travel Fair

Robots Welcome Visitors to Berlin Travel Fair

Chihira Kanae is greeting visitors to the world’s biggest travel fair in Berlin this week, answering questions and guiding people in the right direction. But one passer by’s attempt to ask her out for dinner is met with silence. That’s because Chihira Kanae, despite her lifelike features and long brown hair, is a robot, the third version of a robot in human form developed by Toshiba and can only answer pre-programmed questions. She was joined at the ITB fair on Thursday by another robot host Mario, a small red and…

Read More

How We’re Unwittingly Letting Robots Censor the Web

How We’re Unwittingly Letting Robots Censor the Web

YouTube is infamously circumspect about these sorts of things, so Mike Michaud can’t prove his suspicions for certain. But the chief executive of the Web entertainment empire Channel Awesome is pretty sure that, earlier this year, his eight-year-old company was almost killed by algorithm. Channel Awesome, which was founded in 2008, produces a number of podcasts and Web series about music, movies, TV shows and video games. The company sells DVDs and publishes on platforms like Vessel, but it makes most of its money through YouTube advertising. On Jan. 5,…

Read More