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.

Zillionize Invests in UpCodes – Searchable Building Codes Platform for AEC Industry

If you are an architect, engineer, project manager or code consultant then you would know better that how tedious and difficult it is to deal with building codes. These building codes are mostly available as physical books or PDFs which need more efforts to explore required information and collaborate with other stakeholders on a project. Moreover, these building codes are not same for all jurisdictions. They vary from state to state and even from city to city. And sometime these codes also go through amendments which become hard to track. Not being able to follow these codes may cost huge penalties so large builders mostly hire experienced code consultants but what about the ones who can’t afford such expensive consultants?

You don’t have to worry about it now because UpCodes brings a searchable building codes platform which is affordable for all builders.

UpCodes – Searchable Building Codes Platform for AEC Industry

UpCodes is our latest portfolio startup from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch that solves all building codes related problems for construction industry stakeholders. UpCodes provides a robust platform powered with AI and machine learning technologies that allows architects, engineers, project managers and code consultants to perform enhanced keywords based search through all building codes with the help of filters based on state, code year collection, additional resources and select referenced standards.

UpCodes allows users to create project pages which can be shared with related stakeholders for better collaboration. Users can also bookmark required sections on projects and can even comment on them. From time to time, states also make amendments in the base codes. UpCodes integrates those amendments nicely into the base codes so that you don’t miss anything important for your project.

UpCodes always keeps its database up-to-date by integrating all amendments and adding codes from more states. Right now, UpCodes support building codes of 40 states and offers both free and paid plans. Using free plan, customers can only view base codes and any updates in the codes. However, paid plans provide more advance features like full search capabilities, mobile optimized viewing, section bookmarking, project page collaboration and local amendments at the cost of $39/month/user (monthly basis) or $33/month/user (yearly basis). Try it!

Zillionize Invests in Lambda School – Online Computer Science Education with Income-Based Repayment

Whether you have programmed before or not but you are really motivated to build your career in programming then what options do you have?

Option 1: Self study through online tutorials or going through online courses from sites like Udemy, Coursera, Pluralsight or Lynda etc.?

Yes, it may work for some people but not for the most. It lacks the physical contact, mentoring and guidance from instructors like we experience in educational institutes, colleges or universities. You always want someone who can guide you through best practices being used in the software industry, who can walk you through most common issues faced by professional programmers in real life, who can review your code and tell you how can you further optimize it. Yes, you can also use various programming communities including stackoverflow.com for guidance from other programmers but it’s time consuming and can also be frustrating some times to get help if your questions get under the radar of moderators.

Option 2: Getting a Bachelor or Master degree?

Well, that’s good and can help in boosting your career but there are two constraints. First, it’s expensive. According to a recent study, a bachelor degree may cost you from $12K to $35K per year depending upon if you choose a state university or a private one. Similarly, a master degree in computer sciences may cost you around $25K per year. Second, it’s time consuming. You may have to study 2-4 years according to the degree you want.

And finally, even after getting a degree or improving your skills through self study, the most important thing you want is a stable career with better earning. Isn’t it?

If so, now you have another option which is less time consuming, focused, without any up-front costs and can help you get a $50K+ per year job. The name of this option is Lambda School.

Lambda School – Online Computer Science Education with Income-Based Repayment

We are happy to announce about our latest portfolio, Lambda School, a fresh graduate from YCombinator’s Summer 2017 batch that aims to change the future of computer science education. Unlike normal institutions, colleges, universities or online education services that make students pay first to learn, Lambda School invests in select number of ambitious and motivated individuals. Once selected, these individuals get full time (9 AM to 5 PM) interactive study with live classes directly from Silicon Valley, one-on-one help, real projects and frequent code reviews by world-class instructors for six months.

Lambda School is not a computer science degree but it’s not a boot camp either. Lambda School is not about self study or going through learning resources. It’s a lot of one on one time with instructors on daily basis to get you ready with the highly demanding skills in the market. Not just technical skills, Lambda School also prepares you for interviews and once the class ends, Lambda School arranges a Demo Night in which all of its hiring partners (companies) can either meet the students physically in San Francisco Bay Area or attend it online for the selection.

Since there are no up-front costs for students at Lambda School so it earns only when you get a job in software-related field paying more than $50K per year and repayment is 17% of salary for 2 years. Repayment is also capped at $30K max, so the most Lambda School could possibly take is $30K.

Even Lambda School’s classes can be virtually attended by anyone from anywhere in the world though it’s more suitable for US residents since income-based repayments don’t work for the ones living outside US. Non-US applicants can also take up courses but they will have to pay up-front at least $10K which are not very good terms for non-US citizens since the startup financial model is not internationalized at the moment.

Currently, Lambda School is offering two courses. One course focuses on Computer Science and Software Engineering that starts on the first of each month and other course that starts after every three months, provides training on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. If you are interested then don’t wait and Apply Now.