Our two newest investments: Intuition Robotics & Unbabel
Headquartered in Israel, Intuition Robotics joins an impressive roster of companies leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning that we’ve invested in in that market. It makes the ElliQ “active aging companion,” which is designed to aid older adults aging in place remain active, engaged and connected with family.
Eyal Miller, Samsung NEXT’s managing director for Tel Aviv, met Intuition Robotics CEO and co-founder Dor Skuler in late 2015, when the company was still in its earliest stages. Since then, he has been tracking the company’s progress but was interested in the way its ElliQ elder care assistant could use human-robotic interaction to improve the lives of the elderly.
Elder care is a huge challenge, and one that continues to grow as the global population ages and more people decide to age in place. Studies show that keeping older adults both physically and mentally active has incredible health benefits, including higher levels of functional health and better cognitive function.
It also helped that Intuition Robotics is Dor’s fifth startup, and he and his team had tackled hard and complex problems before.
“I found Dor to be super passionate about solving the growing problem of the lonely aging population, who in most cases would like to stay at home and be independent, connected to their loved ones by using sophisticated tech and AI,” Miller told me.
Since making the investment, Intuition Robotics has launched a beta trial in homes across California and Florida, and EllliQ was named a “Best of Innovation” award winner in the Smart Home category at CES. The company plans a full commercial launch of ElliQ later this year.
In addition to Intuition Robotics, last week we announced our first deal in Europe, an investment in Lisbon-based translation startup Unbabel. The deal was led by Samsung NEXT principal Nick Nigam, who operates out of our Berlin office.
Unbabel is attacking the $37 billion translation market through a mix of artificial intelligence and human translators. By doing so, they’re able to drastically reduce the cost of translation while also breaking down language barriers and facilitating borderless communication. With lower costs and more access to great translation tools, we believe the market can grow to multiple times its current size.
The market is large, and we believe Unbabel is uniquely positioned to go after it. According to Nick, we were impressed by the company’s combination of a frictionless end user experience, networked marketplace platform that uses algorithms to manage its community of 50,000+ professional translators, and the underlying way in which it allows businesses to replace in-house translators with more efficient, on-demand translation services.
Nick met Unbabel at Web Summit in Lisbon, after being introduced to the company through our European managing director Felix Petersen, who has known the company since its early days.
We love that the team has a great combination of practitioners and researchers, including founders who have worked together before and have deep expertise in relevant spaces like machine translation, machine learning, and natural language processing.
We’re excited to welcome both Intuition Robotics and Unbabel to our global portfolio of investments, and continue to be on the lookout for other companies using AI and machine learning to help solve big problems.