Zillionize Invests in Quilt Data – Docker for Data

If you are a programmer, you would have heard about docker and may be you have used it already. In simple words, docker is an open source product that automates deployment of applications in software containers. With docker, you can easily package your application along with everything your application needs including libraries and any other dependencies etc. and finally, using that package you can be sure that your application would run on any Linux or Windows machine with native docker installed on it. Docker provides many benefits like version control, isolation, CI etc. This was a brief introduction of docker. Now, let’s talk about the real problem.

These days, many companies are leveraging the use of data science to perform analysis and understand problems in a better way to make important decisions. These data science jobs may involve large amounts of data which needs to be first prepared before performing analysis. Data preparation is a time consuming job and according to various studies, 80% average time of a data scientist is spent in only data preparation. Mostly, data is scattered, repeated and not in a form that can save a data scientist’s time. Another challenge is to maintain versions of data for tracking changes and ensuring that nothing gets lost.

To address most of these data related problems for data scientists and businesses in the same way as docker does it for software applications, we would like to introduce you to Quilt Data, our latest portfolio startup from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch.

Quilt Data – Docker for Data

Quilt Data treats your data like code and allows you to create reusable data packages by combining your files and folders. Every data package is versioned by Quilt Data and you can review complete version history of your data packages. In case, if you lose some data, you can always roll back to a previous version easily. This version control feature helps customers to always generate consistent and expected results from their data.

Moreover, Quilt Data internally stores data packages in Apache Parquet format (a columnar DBMS format) which also improves the performance of I/O operations and helps with quicker data analysis. Tools like Presto DB and Hive also benefit from Apache Parquet format and run even faster. Quilt Data also provides deeper integration with Python and developers can directly import Quilt Data packages to save time just as they use pip command to install and manage python packages.

Quilt Data offers affordable monthly pricing plans for individuals and businesses. However, if any business is interested in on-premise service, they can contact Quilt Data for more details. Quilt Data also offers Free plan for everyone and it allows to create unlimited data packages for no charges but these packages have to be public. By allowing everyone to create unlimited public data packages, Quilt Data encourages its users to build and share more data packages with each other.

On the corporate side, technology offered by Quilt Data also helps businesses integrate their data sources keeping everyone in the company on the same page and many businesses including some of the largest banks have already adopted it. You should also give it a try.

Next Caller – Intelligent Caller Identification & Fraud Prevention Service Raises $5M

Next Caller, an intelligent caller identification service that helps enterprises specially financial institutions and call centers to prevent fraud and serve their customers quickly by authenticating inbound callers in just few milliseconds after they call, was added to our portfolio three years ago. Recently, Next Caller has got $5M more from Crystal Towers, a fund backed by YC founders to further develop their platform.

Next Caller, which launched at Disrupt SF in 2013, raised $5 million in a recent round of funding led by the secretive Crystal Towers fund, an investment put together by YC alumni to back promising companies coming out of the group.

Using the technology, companies no longer need to ask callers to verify their identity. Next Caller has already identified the caller as the legitimate account holder, allowing the customer service rep to offer assistance sooner.

Typically, fraud detection has relied heavily on biometrics and phone number “reputation scores,” according to a statement from the company. Those methods, Next Caller says, are extremely vulnerable to spoofing.

Next Caller’s technology combats the spoofing menace in part by analyzing carrier-level metadata to determine whether a call is legitimate or not.

Please read full story at TechCrunch.

Zillionize Invests in Pyka – Self-Flying Planes for Agricultural Chemical Application & Transportation

It’s common to use pesticides in agriculture industry to fight insects and other organisms harmful for the plants. However, applying such pesticides or chemicals has its own challenges. The most important challenge is to ensure that chemicals are only applied within the target area so that other plants, stocks, animals and humans outside the target area remain safe. Wind and drift add more complexities to this challenge. Aerial application is also used to spray chemicals in a better way and it also helps to spray on areas like hills and other terrains where manual application is difficult. But, most of the aerial application is controlled by humans whether they fly planes by themselves or control it remotely so there is a margin of error.

To address this problem and minimize margin of error, there should be self-flying planes that can apply chemicals by themselves without human involvement.

Pyka – Self-Flying Planes for Agricultural Chemical Application & Transportation

We present Pyka, our new portfolio startup flying autonomously straight through YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch to help agriculture industry by applying chemicals on any type of target area safely, quickly and in an affordable manner.

Applying chemicals requires flying planes close to the surface which is a dangerous type of flying. Since Pyka planes self-fly so pilot can stay on the ground while Pyka does the job. Pyka airplanes make use of special sensors and controllers to not just fly automatically but also to detect that what is the right timing and path for spraying on the target areas so that it can compensate with the wind and reduce the drift. This also brings additional benefits like less usage of chemicals and minimized exposure to harmful chemicals. Another benefit of using Pyka airplanes is the speed. Since planes can fly up to 70 miles per hour so all types of areas can be covered quickly. Overall, reduced application time and chemical usage makes aerial application an affordable option even for smaller farms. Pyka is already providing aerial application services in New Zealand farms for $600 per hour.

Pyka as flying taxi

Besides serving agriculture industry, Pyka also has great ambitions to offer human transportation using its self-flying airplanes as flying taxis. Even the airplane presented by Pyka on YCombinator’s Demo Day also had the support of carrying one person. On a similar note, you might have heard of Ehang184, a rechargeable self-driving drone that can also carry a person with his bag and travel for about 31 miles so flying taxis are a reality. Unlike Ehang184, Pyka airplane is not a drone. It’s autonomous, can take off and land in just 90 feet.

Even having the abilities of a single person self-flying taxi, Pyka is still serving only agriculture industry at the moment because the regulatory authorities have to inspect and test Pyka airplanes thoroughly before giving them a go ahead to have humans on board. Once approved, you would be able to use Pyka’s airplanes as flying taxis too.

If you want to use Pyka for chemical application on your farms or know more about their flying taxi ambitions, feel free to contact them.

Zillionize Invests in Tpaga – Mobile Wallet for Everyone in Latin America

There are different types of digital wallets available across Latin America including BBVA Wallet, PayPal, SamsungPay, Visa Checkout, MasterPass, MercadoPago, AvalPay, BillMo etc. however they still have not been able to successfully penetrate into Latin America market and there is no prominent leader yet. Many analysts believe that the reason is: digital wallet providers are not focusing on right areas.

Most of the digital wallets are offered by banks and financial institutions which require a credit card to work and since most of the consumers specially younger consumers less likely own a credit card or bank account so they are not able to use such digital wallets. Similarly, paying for mobile and utility bills is an issue in Latin America where you have to wait in lines at banks but not all digital wallets support it. New players like BillMo however support it and are trying to solve this problem in the region. Another niche is the audience with ages less than 40 years that probably have bank accounts and also own smartphones but needs to be targeted properly because most of them don’t have a credit card and hence many digital wallets are pointless for them.

In short, there is no digital wallet solution in Latin America that caters the needs of all types of the audience including youth, ones living in cities, ones living in rural areas, ones without a bank account or the ones without a credit card etc. However, most of the audience may have one thing in common and that is, they own a smartphone. So, a mobile wallet that only works with a smartphone for most types of the payments without requiring a bank account or credit card, might be what Latin America is looking for.

Tpaga – Mobile Wallet for Everyone in Latin America

Tpaga, our new portfolio startup and fresh graduate from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch, aims to provide a mobile wallet solution for Latin America that may fulfill the needs of the whole population. So, If you own a smartphone, you can get Tpaga mobile app and start making payments. To cover most types of the payments, Tpaga has partnered with the largest supermarket chain in Latin America, top gas station chains in Colombia, 10 cell phone carriers and 25 utilities providers so that consumers can easily pay their bills through Tpaga mobile app.

Tpaga founders have already been running an Uber-like business in Colombia through another app, Tappsi which will also benefit from Tpaga and all drivers of Tappsi will be Tpaga’s early users.

Tpaga will officially launch on 1st October, 2017 however if you are interested in joining them as a partner or have any questions about their service, feel free to contact them.

Zillionize Invests in Guggy – AI-Based Funny Personalized GIF Messaging Platform

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) images or in simple words, animated images are not new. They exist since late 80’s however now they are more popular than ever. GIF images are mostly being used in social media, blogs, websites and even newsletters by marketing experts because they attract more attention of the audience and also help in improving performance of CTAs (Calls-to-Action). Besides marketing, people also share GIF images with their friends and family members for fun to express their feelings, emotions and anything they want on different social media and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Viber etc.

There are tons of GIF creation apps and utilities that you can use. Some even provide you lots of features to create, edit and customize GIFs but it requires some efforts because you just not have to write text but also find and upload images that can match with your text so that a good GIF can be created.

What if there is a service or platform that only ask you to write the text message for your GIF and then it automatically finds and uses the video that best matches with your text message to create a perfect GIF instantly?

Guggy – AI-Based Funny Personalized GIF Messaging Platform

Meet Guggy, our latest portfolio startup from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch that just asks you for the text message and then uses advance Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to find funny videos that relate with your text message. All videos matching with your text message are listed for you to choose and then share it as a GIF. Your text message is also automatically added to videos as caption so you don’t have to do anything else except sharing it with others.

Guggy also offers Guggy Stories (a beta feature) that lets you create and combine multiple GIFs as a story. After you choose a GIF, it requires you to enter another text message for which a new GIF is created and so on. Finally, GIF based messages are combined in the order you create them so that you can share them as a story with others. Guggy also offers keyboard apps for iOS and Android using which you can just write the text message and click Guggy button to create and share GIFs with any messaging app including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat etc. from your mobile devices. Guggy also has an app for Slack using which you can just write /guggy and then type your text message to share it as a GIF.

It’s really simple and the NLP engine behind Guggy matches most relevant and funny videos according to your text messages which just works. If you don’t believe us then give it a try and experience the fun with Guggy.

Zillionize Invests in Plasticity – APIs to Build Human-Like Natural Language Interfaces

If you own a smart phone, you might have used a personal assistant or at least heard about it. They have different names. For example, Apple names it as Siri, Google calls it Google Assistant (formerly Google Now), Amazon brands it as Alexa and Microsoft uses Cortana. All of these personal assistants are in fact AI-powered applications that try to understand what you say and then perform necessary actions. Mostly, they work fairly however occasionally they fail in understanding questions expressed in natural language specially in use cases when a user asks multiple questions in a single sentence or there is variation in a user’s wording etc. Similar issues are also faced by other natural language interfaces like chatbots which are being widely used almost everywhere now.

To solve these issues, Plasticity – our San Francisco based portfolio from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch is offering APIs to developers for seamless integration with their platforms and provide a human-like natural language interface to their customers.

Plasticity – APIs to Build Human-Like Natural Language Interfaces

Plasticity is offering two types of APIs at the moment. One is Sapien, a general natural language understanding API that allows developers to extract entities, relationships between entities and related context from text which helps them to parse and analyze text in a better way and retrieve structured information hidden in the sentences or build stronger conversational interfaces. Other is Cortex, an API that lets you query a knowledge graph (containing 180+ million facts about 20+ million entities on people, places, government and other things at the moment) in natural language. For example, if you will query about “How old is the president?”, it will respond with the age of current president of United States.

There are two more APIs coming soon named as Lingua and Brevis. Lingua will provide human-like natural language responses to questions and Brevis will provide summary of articles or input text with structured meta information about entities.

Plasticity pricing plans are based on usage. 999 API requests per month are free for everyone but for more, you have to pay. Most importantly, if you are developing an open source product or building for education then you can use Plasticity APIs for free without paying anything. So, if you want to build solutions using next generation natural language APIs then go ahead and Sign Up.

Zillionize Invests in bxblue – Online Marketplace for Payroll-Secured Loans in Brazil

If you are a pensioner or state worker in Brazil, you would be familiar with the issue of delayed salary payments. You would also remember the protests made during last year before Olympics by public servants including police and firefighters for not getting paid. Even earlier this year, there were news about Brazilian states struggling to pay their employees. As an alternative solution to this late salaries problem, many public servants and pensioners take the payroll loan option offered by banks. However, borrowers have to do all of the manual research by themselves to decide which bank or financial institution they should choose that offers lowest fee and better interest rate.

To solve this problem and empowering borrowers in Brazil to compare and pick a most suitable lender for their needs, our latest portfolio startup from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch called bxblue is offering an online marketplace for payroll-secured loans.

bxblue – Online Marketplace for Payroll-Secured Loans in Brazil

It’s really simple to get started with bxblue. You just have to provide basic information about your employment status and your personal information such as your name, email, phone and CPF (Taxpayer Number). bxblue connects with Sigepe to validate your CPF details and get up-to-date information on the paycheck like margin and loan cases etc. so that it can provide you better quotations from financial institutions registered with bxblue. If borrowers don’t want bxblue to connect with Sigepe then alternatively, they can upload their paycheck copy to be reviewed by bxblue.

bxblue doesn’t just help you borrow payroll loans at best rates but it also keeps all of your loans information organized and also keeps you informed through alerts about useful information like when interest rates are falling for refinancing and is there a contract that can be settled in advance etc. which helps you always stay on top of your loans related matters.

So, if you are in Brazil and interested in getting a payroll loan, don’t wait and contact bxblue.