AI firm launches accelerator for Irish start-ups with €250,000 top prize | Business Post – Business Post

AI firm launches accelerator for Irish start-ups with €250,000 top prize | Business Post  Business Post
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Irish team secures EU funding to map & monitor threatened habitats using drones and Machine Learning


Drones offer a wide range of features and are widely used to accomplish numerous tasks. The technology of using an Unmanned Arial Vehicle or (UAV) is constantly being refined so that their scope of utility can be widened. One of the tasks UAVs or drones are used for is mapping areas. An Irish team comprising of experts from CeADAR and ProvEye have secured €250,000 in European funding for a new project, which is aimed at developing a new way to map and monitor threatened habitats. 

Surveying endangered habitats using Drones

The overall global biodiversity loss is estimated to be between 25-40% with over 75% of the world’s land now having been changed by human activities. Many natural habitats are under immense pressure due to human activities such as conversion to agricultural land and the impact of climate change. To ensure the sustainability of such biodiversities and natural reserves, which are protected under the national or European Law, routine monitoring needs to be set up. 

Monitoring helps us understand what is causing harm to such habitats. The EU requires Ireland and other member states to produce maps periodically for threatened habitats in Europe. This new project aims to employ and analyse novel Machine Learning-based models for mapping numerous protected habitats in Ireland. 

Using ML and drones are also expected to mitigate the traditional feet on the ground survey approach, which is considered expensive and time-consuming. Traditional techniques using remote sensing are also said to be not efficient enough to handle mapping large areas. The new project has been co-funded by Enterprise Ireland and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement.

“This project is at the cutting edge of this research area as we look to test the ability of UAVs (drones) and satellites to map and monitor Ireland’s most threatened habitats. Leveraging specialised imagery taken across five test sites in Ireland, the team will build machine learning tools that can automatically map and monitor the status of these habitats over time, enabling the Irish government to fulfil its requirements under European law. These tools will be state of the art for such tasks and have widespread implications for the protection of habitats in Ireland and throughout the world,” explains Dr Jerome O’Connell, manging director of ProvEye. 

CeADAR and ProvEye to work together 

The project that grabbed this funding is using drones for surveying natural habitats. It’s also supposed to help save time and money for the Irish government while meeting the legal EU requirements to protect ecosystems. The teams involved in the project are Machine Learning experts from CeADAR and drone specialists from ProvEye

ProvEye is a private company that employs advanced software to assimilate detailed data from images collected via drones and other platforms. The  University College Dublin spinout operates from NovaUCD and it is built on IP developed by Dr Jerome O Connell and Prof. Nick Holden. This IP was optimised and commercialised for use with UAV optical data supported by the Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund between 2017 and 2019.

CeADAR is Ireland’s National Centre for Applied Artificial Intelligence, which is funded by Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. The centre has over 80-member companies across a wide span of industries and is one of 30 Digital Innovation Hubs across the EU focused on delivering AI services to the industry. Its primary work is to work on applied research and developing and deploying industry prototypes and solutions to companies. It is headquartered in University College Dublin and is a partnership with the Technological University Dublin (formerly the DIT).

The motivation for these two entities to come together stems from the increasing need for high-quality habitat maps, which help in monitoring the status of protected habitats. 

Image credits: ProvEye

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MoneyNeverSleeps: Pete Townsend and the Hard Thing about Startups and Blockchain – Irish Tech News

MoneyNeverSleeps: Pete Townsend and the Hard Thing about Startups and Blockchain  Irish Tech News
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“Transport will go electric and autonomous over the next 10 years”: Interview with Irish energytech serial entrepreneur Norman Crowley

Energy comes in many forms. Humans have learned to harness the power of fire, water, air and exploit resources in the ground. In a modern world, energy technology allows us to power everything from our houses, to transport, to our phones. It connects us and allows us to share information across the world in a…

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This Irish startup offers revenue-based financing for ecommerce brands; bags €6.8M to grow globally

Although the e-commerce industry is booming, there are still some roadblocks on the path of its success and growth. This is where several solutions come to the rescue by helping companies grow their e-commerce sales. One such firm is Dublin-based Wayflyer, which provides brands with revenue-based funds and free analytics.

Bags €8.6M seed funding

Wayflyer, an Irish e-commerce revenue-based financing and marketing analytics platform bagged $ 10.2M (nearly €8.6M) seed capital funding. This investment round was led by QED Investors including ClearScore, Credit Karma, Nubank and SoFi along with Middlegame Ventures and co-investors Speedinvest and Fintech Investment Vehicle FGFE.

The fresh investment will support the global growth ambitions of the company, its ability to continue providing funding for e-commerce platforms and develop its proprietary technology further. This investment comes as Wayflyer scales to meet the heavy demand in the e-commerce industry for its funding and analytics products and services that are ideal for small businesses. Also, the company intends to reach profitability in 2021.

Aidan Corbett, Wayflyer’s CEO and co-founder says that this funding will let them expand their global footprint.

Notably, Wayflyer aims to expand their customer base in the US, the U.K. and Ireland. Also, it aims to strengthen their presence in fast-growing e-commerce markets such as Australia and Canada. A portion of this new capital will be dedicated to improving Wayflyer’s analytics and marketing insights software to be even more responsive and customisable, allowing clients to capitalise upon unseen marketing opportunities.

Pumps funds to growing e-commerce brands

Founded in 2019 by Aidan Corbett and Jack Pierse, Wayflyer helps e-commerce brands meet their potential by providing them with unsecured and affordable capital of up to $ 5M (nearly €3.3M) for advertising and inventory.

According to the company, each Wayflyer advance has a simple one-off fixed fee (typically from 4-12%). This fee helps recover the costs associated with funding the advance and processing your application. It claims there are no origination fees, annual fees, monthly maintenance fees, documentation fees, or hidden fees.

In order to qualify for the advance, as per the company, ecommerce companies must fit into the below criteria:

  • At least 6 months operating history
  • At least $ 250,000 ( nearly €211K)in annual online revenue in the past year
  • Headquartered in USA, UK, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand
  • Can easily spend $ 5,000 – $ 500,000 (€4223 – €422,307)per month in online marketing

Wayflyer claims that it offers a mix of funding and AI-driven marketing insights enabling founders to take control of their businesses and succeed in the infancy stages of their brands.

Main image picture credits: Wayflyer

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