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FYI - For Your Innovation
73 minutes | 2 days ago
Deep Dive into SPACs with Harry Sloan and Eli Baker
A SPAC, or Special Purpose Acquisition Company, is a company with no commercial operations and is formed strictly to raise capital through an IPO to acquire an existing company. Today’s guests are twhich leads Soaring Eagle Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company. Together Harry, Eli, and their partner Jeff Sagansky have done several SPACs with target companies such as Skillz and DraftKings and our conversation today is all about how SPACs work and some of their advantages and pitfalls. We begin with a quick definition of a SPAC and how it differs from a regular way IPO. We then talk about a few of the advantages of taking companies public using SPACs and the kinds of companies that this deal structure works well for. Harry and Eli take listeners through a granular explanation of what a typical SPAC would look like and the different phases the process involves. Our conversation then turns to some of the problems being seen in the world of SPACs and perhaps the market more generally right now. We explore the idea of SPAC sponsors being ‘gig economy IPO bankers for investment banks’. We talk about the problem of too many SPAC sponsors raising too many deals which points to a potential bubble. Part of what SPACs involve are long-term projections for young companies but these can be untrustworthy and this is producing a situation that is being exacerbated by over-speculation and retail investing trends. Our conversation winds down on this note and our guests speak to whether this could be something that regulators can address. We end off on the question of whether SPACs are here to stay. Join us “It scares me that SPACs are being associated with pre-product, pre-revenue, pre-everything.” — Harry Sloan Key Points From This Episode: Introducing Harry and Eli and how they got into doing SPACs. A brief definition of a SPAC and how presents a different way of going public than an IPO. Initial SPACs our guests worked on and why they chose the companies they did. Advantages of using SPACs instead of regular way IPOs. Why the observation that 70% of IPOs are SPACs now needs to be reframed. A deep dive into the process of how SPACs work: IPOs via SPAC, the purpose of PIPE, etc. How there is so much scarcity value attached to PIPEs and why this is causing a bubble. Exploring the idea that ‘SPAC sponsors are gig economy IPO bankers for investment banks’. Many SPAC sponsors raise too many deals unfortunately making things into an AUM game. Why Harry and Eli think they are different from other players in the game. What goes into the extra work Harry and Eli put into SPACs regarding getting to know target companies. Why the projections made by SPACs are often less trustworthy than those by more mature publicly traded companies. Difficulties drawing the line of when is it too early to take a company public using a SPAC. Another issue of people not voting to get deals done because of retail access to options. Final perspectives on why the SPAC phenomenon feels speculative and retail-heavy. Harry comments on the Churchill leak and why leaks are a problem for SPACs but not regular IPOs. Problems about SPACs that regulators should address. Whether the amount of SPACs will continue to grow or hit a wall instead.
46 minutes | 12 days ago
The Future of Oncology with Dr. Mark Lewis
At its root, oncology is about having empathetic and candid conversations that guide patients towards taking the best path of care. Having been diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor early in his career, Dr. Mark Lewis has developed a clear perspective on cancer care that is informed by his experience as both a patient and as an oncologist. Today, we speak with Mark to gain an insight into the future of oncology and hear his view on the field as the Director of Gastrointestinal Oncology for the Intermountain Healthcare System. We open our conversation by exploring Mark’s background and how both he and his father’s cancer diagnoses have placed hereditary cancer syndromes on center stage. After chatting about how genetics can impact illness, he unpacks how the setting in which patients are diagnosed and treated impacts their understanding of their disease. Linked to this, we talk about the controversy surrounding genetic testing products before looking at the benefits of these tests. While reflecting on how quickly the medical field is evolving, we touch on how Mark keeps up with innovation, the problem of how both broad and specialized cancer treatment is, and how you can best judge the merit of new research. Later, we discuss the physical and psychological damage that can be caused by cancer screening, why Mark so strongly believes in screening for colon cancer, and the issue that oncologists are becoming too strained. We wrap up our informative discussion by hearing about the role of AI within oncology and the improvements that Mark hopes to see within the next decade. Tune in to hear Mark’s balanced take on the future of oncology. “The future of medicine is going to be genomically informed.” — @marklewismd “Oncology is now so broad…there’s no doctor I know that knows everything about cancer. It’s just impossible.” — @marklewismd Key Points From This Episode: Mark shares details about his background and family history with cancer. The frictions within the medical community about how genetics influence illness. Why direct-to-consumer genotyping products seem to have under-delivered. Reflecting on the importance of being honest with your patients. What investors, patients, and practitioners can do to keep up with innovation. Exploring the challenges of separating good research from bad research. Weighing up the dangers of screening with its benefits. The need for patient therapeutic support when performing diagnostic tests. Hear why now is such a critical time in the development of imaging and testing. Why early intervention is so important when treating cancer. Bridging the gap between cutting edge research and actual medical practice. Mark’s view that the future of medicine will be informed by genetics. Unpacking the growing problems within the field of oncology. The role that AI plays within oncology. What diagnostic improvements Mark hopes to see within the next decade.
48 minutes | a month ago
Augmented Reality with Paul Travers
As the Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) space, or ARVR, continues with its explosive growth, we believe that we are still only at the early stages of these computing powers’ potential applications and use cases. Paul Travers, the CEO of Vuzix, a public company developing wearable display technology, joins us to share some of his insights into the business and the AR space. We kick off by taking a look at Paul’s prolific background in ARVR, and he shares why Vuzix decided to move from VR to AR. We then hear about a variety of use cases for the company’s technology and why they are so focused on wearability and the aesthetics of their product offerings. Creating lightweight, attractive glasses that are highly functional is what Paul believes separates them from the competition. From there, we delve into some of the most prevalent myths in the AR space, and Paul helps us debunk them. As the show wraps up, we discuss Vuzix’s enterprise offering, their software development, and why the convergence of the tech in the ARVR space is inevitable. AR is undoubtedly at an inflection point in its development, and we cannot wait to see where it’s headed in the years to come. “Vuzix believes that these wearable display systems with computers built in is the future of computing; mobility, hands-free. The whole world opens up when you can connect the digital world to the real world.” — Paul Travers ARK’s line of thinking around the ARVR space; we are still in the early stages. Get to know Paul, his extensive background in the ARVR space, and Vuzix’s focus. The impetus for moving from a VR headset to AR Insights into the enterprise side of Vuzix’s business and who their customers are. Details about how Vuzix’s glasses work, how it connects to the internet, and the connectivity it provides. How COVID has accelerated adoption in the medical space. Debunking some of the common misconceptions in the AR space. Ways that Vuzix’s smart glasses enhance productivity and potentially increase ROI. Paul’s view on whether technology can replace human beings. Paul’s insights into VR and where he sees that sector going. Some of the shifts that have enabled the growth of AR and VR. How Vuzix differentiates itself from competitors in the enterprise space. A look at the software side and how Vuzix incorporates this into their products.
40 minutes | a month ago
Big Ideas 2021
We are getting closer and closer to the time when watching Netflix in the back of an autonomous taxi and detecting early cancer in our blood could become reality. The pace at which technological advancements have been occurring, and are expected to continue to occur, is phenomenal. ARK believes, one of the main reasons for this is that five major technology platforms and their underlying technologies are converging. Another reason is that costs are collapsing, which is unlocking creativity and driving scalability. This episode focuses on these technologies and the changes they are catalyzing. Cathie Wood and Brett Winton break down our latest Big Ideas Report and discuss which companies are likely to thrive in the coming years (and why). They highlight some of the areas where ARK believes jobs are going to be lost and where jobs are going to be created in the future. We all should be prepared for this technologically enabled change—Brett and Cathie aim to provide some guidance, so tune in! “When costs drop that quickly it unleashes a lot of creativity and problem solving that couldn’t have taken place at any other time.” — @CathieDWood “One of the things that innovation does is it takes non-market activity and it turns it into a market service.” — @wintonARK Key Points From This Episode: The speed at which new technologies are being developed. Cathie explains the bubbles and busts that have been experienced in the tech and telecom fields. How deep learning has advanced over the past few years. What DeepMind’s new venture, Alphafold, is achieving in the field of genomics. The impact of cost declines across technologies. Why companies are likely to pay high prices to train AI models. The autonomous taxi space and expectations about the direction it is heading. Why the rate of uptake in automation throughout the economy in the next five years could be faster than in the manufacturing sector in the past 25. Predictions about how the job market is going to look in the future. Why developments in orbital aerospace are now taking off and what those developments are likely to offer us. The areas that are lifting 3D printing out from the “valley of despair.” What the next few years could look like for dna sequencing and liquid biopsies. Price thresholds and their ability to unlock potential and drive scalability. A brief mention of the growth of Bitcoin.
43 minutes | a month ago
How Online Education Prepares Us For the Future of Work with Mitch Daniels
As robots, automation, and artificial intelligence perform more tasks than ever before, there is a growing need for skills related to the technologies that support the automation of business processes. Education plays a key role in this process, and online education allows students and people who are actively working or aren’t able to relocate to upskill or reskill for new jobs. Today’s guest is Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana and the current President of Purdue University. In this episode, Mitch reflects on the advancements in higher education thanks to COVID-19?, the role that AI plays in this process, and how Purdue hopes to implement AI in improving education. He also shares a bit about Purdue Global and Purdue Online and how these programs are catering to those who want (or need) to enhance their skills. Find out more about Purdue’s Back a Boiler program, the role Mitch believes government should play in fighting student debt, and how the space race is driving decision-making at Purdue. All this and more in today’s episode, so stay tuned! “[Online learning] is incredibly a fertile field. I don’t doubt that if we don’t keep an eye on what others are doing and don’t constantly try new things ourselves, we’ll be left behind.” — @purduemitch Key Points From This Episode: Mitch starts by reflecting on the advancements in higher education, particularly those propelled by COVID. The role that AI plays in the educational process and how Purdue hopes to implement it. Hear more about Purdue’s Global offering and the market needs it responds to. How Purdue Online caters to those who want to enhance their skills. Why Purdue wants to emphasize speed to degree. How professors embraced Purdue Online and rose to the challenge during COVID. Why Mitch encourages institutions to go ahead with online offerings as quickly as possible. Find out about Purdue’s Back a Boiler program; fighting the student debt crisis through income share agreements. What role Mitch believes the government should play in funding student education, starting with grants for low-income students. How Purdue is able to lower costs by empirically proving their value. How the space race is driving decision-making at Purdue, encouraging ‘giant leaps’. Books Mitch would recommend to listeners: Homo Deus and Enlightenment Now.
42 minutes | 2 months ago
When Mobile Payments Become Infrastructural with Hong Shen
Mobile payment services have become a day-to-day fixture in the lives of people and businesses in China, dominated by two leading players: Alipay and WeChat Pay. This episode centers around a conversation with Hong Shen, a systems scientist at Carnegie Mellon who put out a paper last year titled ‘I Can’t Even Buy Apples If I Don’t Use Mobile Pay?: When Mobile Payments Become Infrastructural in China’. The key word here is infrastructural. Hong believes that these services have become part of the very infrastructure of Chinese society and economy, and this is what she goes into detail about in today’s episode. This episode is a little unusual in that it was recorded in the fall of 2020 and never released. The reason for this is that it was originally meant to coincide with the release of Ant IPO, which as you probably remember, was cancelled. This interview is as relevant as ever, however, following recent developments on FinTech regulations and digital currency in China, and Hong makes the case that mobile payments are already so deeply integrated that it would be a difficult industry to disrupt. Tuning in, you’ll hear more about why mobile payments and QR took off so rapidly in China, and Hong elaborates on their “taxonomy of ubiquity.” You’ll also find out how people are using these systems to develop new social norms and practices, including some unique to the digital format. Tune in today! “We borrow the concept of infrastructure because, through the experience of our participants, we deeply feel that mobile payments actually become those daily infrastructures in people’s lives in China.” — @hongshenus “Based on our data, people actually developed their usage of mobile pay practices based on their previous use of the apps. This is why we see Alipay dominating the online shopping scenario and WeChat Pay dominating anything related with social networks.” — @hongshenus Key Points From This Episode: Hear a bit about Hong’s background and what sparked her interest in fintech. Hong shares details about her paper and her concept of infrastructure. Why mobile payments became ubiquitous in China so rapidly, including cheap, large-scale smartphone adoption. The roles that the regulatory environment, government support, and company rebates play. The proliferation of QR codes and how they are influencing Chinese economy. Usage of Alipay versus WeChat Pay; how mobile pay practices were influenced by the parent company’s business focus. Learn about the “taxonomy of ubiquity” of mobile payments in China: physical, digital, social. How people are using mobile payment systems to develop new social norms. Whether Hong believes that the use cases of each app are interchangeable or sticky. Find out more about the cultural significance of red packets and the major invention that was WeChat Pay’s digital alternative.
37 minutes | 2 months ago
Life Science Product Development and Personalized Medicine with SC Moatti
Product development is commonly spoken about in relation to software and hardware but less so in the life sciences space. With the increasing consumerization of healthcare and wellness products, it is more important than ever for life science innovators to understand how they can create standout products. SC Moatti joins us today to share her unique insights on this and more. SC is the Founder of Products That Count, one of the largest global networks of product managers spanning across numerous industries, including healthcare. She is also the Managing Partner at Mighty Capital, a VC firm that invests slightly smaller checks but provides a very high level of hands-on guidance and product development experience and assistance. In this episode, we discuss her motivation for starting Products That Count and how it organically led to Mighty Capital’s founding. We then talk about the importance of product development and management in the life sciences and regulated industries. As technology becomes more embedded into our lives and acts as an extension of who we are, SC highlights how the mind-body-spirit connection paradigm can be used to view the products we utilize. Our conversation also touches on Mighty Capital’s unique position as a VC firm with their value rather than capital-driven approach, SC’s interest in personalized medicine, and the challenges that come with life science innovation, given the incredibly high stakes. Tune in to hear it all! “Just like with everything, it’s all about how you keep your audience engaged and it means changing the formula regularly.” — @scmoatti Key Points From This Episode: The impetus for founding Products That Count Why SC classifies Mighty Capital as a ‘new kind of venture capital firm’. Mighty Capital’s investment focus and how they seek to add the most value. The common thread among successful product management Using the mind-body-spirit connection to understand what makes a good product. The unique perspective Mighty Capital brings to product management in regulated industries. What sparked SC’s interest in personalized medicine. Where SC believes the biggest opportunities in the personalized medicine lie. The complications of innovating in the bioscience space. Layers of individual, company, and government risk that exist in healthcare. The weaknesses and strengths of US healthcare infrastructure. How the pandemic could reshape the way people think about risk. Ways we can quantifying success in a more personalized healthcare system. How people think about their health life science product design. The best way to get connected with SC and the resources Products That Count offer.
43 minutes | 3 months ago
Autonomous Vehicles Powered By End-To-End Deep Learning with Alex Kendall, Wayve.ai
Catching autonomous taxis will cost less than half of what it does to drive your personal car and a tenth of riding in conventional taxis. This is what will push wide-scale adoption of the technology, and currently, some of the main players overcoming the final challenges to self-driving cars are Tesla, Waymo, Baidu, and Wayve.ai. Today we invite Alex Kendall, Co-Founder and CEO at Wayve.ai onto the show to speak about how the company is differentiating itself and solving some of the problems to wide adoption of self-driving cars. The private company Wayve.ai aims to build scalable, adaptable robotics for learning algorithms for self-driving cars. They have made a bold move in committing to a full end-to-end deep learning approach, meaning they use machine learning to optimize driving algorithms right from the input to the output. Alex begins by explaining how this approach differs from competitor systems and presents a higher chance of finding a solution that will be able to handle any environment it is presented with. Our conversation with Alex then touches on some of the technical challenges he and his team are facing, covering topics around system interpretability, labeling, complexity, measuring progress without a static trained data set, and more. We then zoom in on some of the challenges in the area of commercialization, hearing Alex talk about the regulatory sphere, data sharing for training learning systems, and other relevant topics. Tune in for a rigorous interview that paints an accurate picture of the landscape of self-driving cars from one of the main players who is driving research forward. “By learning end-to-end, it enables us to achieve a level of efficiency that you can’t obtain with the traditional rules or LiDAR or an HD map-based approach that many of the incumbents use.” — @alexgkendall “I would highlight data as being a really important problem for us to solve and a big bottleneck. In particular, it’s not the quantity of data, it’s the quality and the distribution of data.” — @alexgkendall Key Points From This Episode: Introducing Alex Kendall and how AI can serve society via self-driving cars. Arguments for the adoption of autonomous vehicles. The technology that makes Wayve.ai unique compared to Tesla, Waymo, and Baidu. A deeper dive into the approach at Wayve that utilizes end-to-end deep learning. Limitations and challenges in the sphere of deep learning relating to interpretability. Some of the challenges and possible solutions in areas of data and labeling. Wayve’s approach that measures progress without having to use a static test set. Challenges to the validation of new self-driving systems. The path to commercialization at Wayve. How Wayve intends to optimize capabilities in different environments. Wayve’s approach to onboard compute. How Wayve is handling the issue of latency using a basic inference system. The approach to handling regulations at Wayve: The evidence-driven safety case. Why self-driven public transport also falls into the purview at Wayve. How the issue of data sharing and access between competitors is progressing. Competitors Alex admires and his thoughts regarding exponential adoption. Alex’s thoughts on assisted driving models versus full autonomy. The connection between intelligence and movement. Whether the neighborhood electric vehicle space is relevant to Wayve’s mission. Thoughts on how different car models will benefit needs as they evolve.
94 minutes | 3 months ago
Understanding mRNA. Conversations with Moderna and Arcturus Therapeutics
Get ready for two insightful interviews about mRNA, an innovative technology that is revolutionizing vaccines and may help in the current global pandemic. We ask two of the leaders in the space: What is the future for mRNA? In today’s episode, ARK Analyst, Alexandra Urman, interviews Stéphane Bancel and Joseph Payne, CEOs of Moderna and Arcturus Therapeutics respectively about mRNA technology and its possibilities for the future. We discuss how mRNA can be used as a vaccine to combat SARS-CoV-2, its benefits, challenges, intellectual property landscape, and how it can be used for oncology and rare diseases. ARK believes the genomic revolution is underway with the potential to change healthcare and improve people’s lives. This episode helps educate our audience on how we can achieve a better future and discusses the role of mRNA. Tune in to listen for more! “A single shot is absolutely essential to progress these types of technologies forward, it increases compliance, it increases convenience, and it helps accelerate our path to herd immunity.” – Joe Payne. “Most drugs die in clinical trials because of safety.” – Stephane Bancel Key Points From This Episode: Why mRNA was able to be used to create a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine so quickly How long it would have taken to get mRNA vaccines approved without the pandemic Why lipid nanoparticles may be the best form of delivery for mRNA vaccines and other therapeutics The safety of mRNA therapeutics The importance of cellular vs. humoral responses for vaccines The ability of current vaccines to work against new variants Vaccine hesitancy and distribution mRNA challenges and benefits Intellectual landscape for mRNA One dose SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and what to expect from them
55 minutes | 4 months ago
Best of 2020 — FYI Podcast Compilation
As the year comes to an end, we would like to thank everyone who listened to the FYI — For Your Innovation podcast. 2020 will likely go down in history as the year of COVID-19, a year that forced us to battle a global pandemic and all the uncertainty that comes with it. In this final episode of 2020, we complied some of our most interesting podcast episodes for you. Please enjoy this summary and tune back in when we return in 2021. 1. Battery Supply Chain for Electric Vehicles with Simon Moores and Vivas Kumar (EP 72) We have Simon Moores and Vivas Kumar from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence here to discuss the often under-appreciated topic of battery supply chain and look at the present and future of the electric car battery industry. (Listen to the Full Episode) 2. The Digital Economy with Gary Vaynerchuk (EP 82) ARK sat down with Gary Vaynerchuk to talk about the future of the digital economy. Gary is a serial entrepreneur, five-times New York Times bestselling author, Chairman of VaynerX, CEO of VaynerMedia and VaynerSports. (Listen to the Full Episode) 3. Be Creative. Together. With Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jared Geller (EP 65) We enjoyed the conversation with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jared Geller. They joined FYI to speak about their platform, HitRecord, an online community built around creative collaboration. HitRecord offers artists of all kinds a platform to share their artwork or idea, and open it up to the input of other artists, thereby producing a trail that records the work’s progression much like GitHub does with code. (Listen to the Full Episode) 4. The State of Genetic Testing in The US with Rob Metcalf (EP 79) In episode 79 we were joined by Rob Metcalf, CEO of Concert Genetics, a private company looking to connect the genetic health information network and simplify the often-murky world of genetic testing. We heart about Rob’s entry into healthcare and his interest in the intersection of tech and real world problem-solving. (Listen to the Full Episode) 5. Supersonic Travel with Blake Scholl, CEO of Boom Supersonic (EP 66) Blake Scholl, the CEO of Boom Supersonic, joined the FYI podcast to give us insights into the ambitions for supersonic travel. Boom aims to build the world’s fastest civil aircraft, twice as fast commercial flights. (Listen to the Full Episode) Check out the FYI – For Your Innovation podcast ‘Best of 2020’. Because investing in innovation starts with understanding it. #FYIpodcast
40 minutes | 5 months ago
Championing Innovation Within Earlier Cancer Detection With Gabe Otte
61 minutes | 5 months ago
ByteDance, TikTok, and China’s Growing Influence in Global Tech with Matthew Brennan
Apps like WeChat are leading a wave of innovation in China and the world, quickly bringing China closer to the goal of becoming a technological superpower. In today’s episode, ARK Analyst, James Wang, interviews Matthew Brennan about the future of Chinese mobile technology and innovation. Matthew is a speaker and writer focusing specifically on mobile technology and innovation in China. In particular, he’s known for his analysis of social e-commerce and WeChat, China’s famous super app. He explains what a super app is – or isn’t – and how recommendation algorithms, video classification, and growth hacking have contributed to the rapid growth of companies like ByteDance. Find out how TikTok achieved international success, and hear Matthew weigh up the likelihood that short-video and live stream e-commerce will become popular in the near future in the US. Tune in today to find out more! “I think the success of ByteDance has been very encouraging for Chinese companies to finally have a global breakout hit. On the other hand, the political backlash has been very discouraging.” — @mbrennanchina Matthew explains the short-form video trend and the rise of ByteDance in China. The relationship between music.ly and ByteDance. Why TikTok’s recommendation algorithm is different from others. How the TikTok recommendation algorithm works. The advancement of video classification technology over the past few years and how it assists with enriching user profiles. Growth hacking and how it contributed to ByteDance’s success. When TikTok’s reputation took a turn and became the app of choice for the Gen Z. Matthew weighs in in TikTok’s biggest threat and its growth trajectory. E-commerce and TikTok – the future of live stream and short video e-commerce. Instagram Reels versus TikTok and the 2018 scramble to copy TikTok. Matthew shares some of the live stream e-commerce trends he has seen. The discounting mechanism and how it plays into the success of e-commerce marketplaces like Pinduoduo, TaoBao, and Alibaba. Matthew explains the super app phenomenon in China – it’s all about user acquisition costs. Why WeChat is a real super app and the key to food-delivery app Meituan’s success. Why it’s ByteDance’s game to lose right now and what their trajectory will be.
51 minutes | 5 months ago
The History of Big Data and the Future of Analytics with Muji
Big data is a word we’ve heard thrown around for the better part of a decade. This week’s guest is Muji of hhhypergrowth. Muji is a technologist, software developer, and investor who has spent over two decades in the trenches, helping IT departments implement software and new systems. Given the recent IPO of the data company, Snowflake, this episode attempts to review the history of big data. The evolution of big data has gone from on-premise to in the cloud solutions. Snowflake being one of the most noticeable cloud companies in 2020. In this episode, Muji–who has written an in-depth dissection of Snowflake, its technology, its positioning, and how it compares to competitors–shares the history of how we got to this point, and what he thinks makes Snowflake special. “It’s going to be interesting to see services crop up around making the most of that data, and performing analytics over it, and gaining insights, without the customers having to do it themselves. You don’t have to hire an entire team of data scientists anymore.” — @hhhypergrowth Key Points From This Episode: Muji shares a bit about his background in data and how he has watched it evolve. The challenge today is corralling the different apps and data sources companies use. How companies used to gather and refine data. Who provided the software in the 90s, 2000s – Oracle, SAP, IMB, Microsoft,… Cloud provides nearly unlimited scale capabilities on both storage and compute, which unleashed a new wave of data and analytical tools. About the demise of Cloudera and Hortonworks. How Snowflake managed to scale so successfully, from leveraging the cloud to being vendor-neutral and a turnkey service. Why he believes Snowflake beat Amazon at its own game by building a turnkey solution on great architecture. How to empower customers with a multi-cloud strategy and variable pricing. Snowflake’s three layers – a storage tier, scalable compute, and shared services layer. The frenemies relationship in today’s cloud economy. Muji talks about the rise of analytics and how Alteryx is making analytics simpler. Where Muji thinks Snowflake is headed. Making analytics easier is the key to unlocking value. Why Muji says traditional valuation metrics aren’t important. Other companies Muji is paying attention to in the software space. Muji’s plan for his blog, hhhypergrowth – he wants to help average investors who don’t have the insights understand these platforms better.
57 minutes | 6 months ago
The First AI Chip Startup with Naveen Rao, Nervana Systems
Over the past five years, over 50 companies dedicated to making artificial intelligence run faster have sprung up. Whether in data centers or in cars, like Tesla’s automobiles, all of these innovations arguably started with NVIDIA and the move to deep learning on graphics processing units (GPUs). This created an entire industry. The first AI chip company was Nervana Systems, and its Founder, Naveen Rao, joins us to shares his insights. In this episode, we hear about Naveen’s academic and professional backgrounds and how he used his engineering and neuroscience skills to start Nervana after working at Qualcomm. We discuss what fundraising for Nervana was like and how the venture capital (VC) landscape changed its attitude to hardware concurrent with Nervana’s growth and innovation. The company was ultimately acquired by Intel, and we learn about how it went from a business development proposition to acquisition. Naveen shares the personnel and resource constraints Nervana faced despite being part of a much larger organization such as Intel, and how his role ultimately changed over time. While Intel has kept some of Nervana’s developments, they have also gone in different directions, and Naveen shares his take on this. We close it out with an outlook on the AI chip space. To hear more, tune in! “I think, if Intel doesn’t react well enough to actually maintain the markets they have, NVIDIA is going to eat at them and that’s what they’re going to do with Arm. It could be painful.” — @NaveenGRao Key Points From This Episode: Naveen’s background and moving from engineering to computational neuroscience. Hear about Naveen’s time at Qualcomm and the neuromorphic computing research. How a failed internal pitch for an artificial neural network at Qualcomm led to Nervana’s creation. Nervana’s founding story, building the team, and fundraising for the company. The difficulty of pitching chip investments to VCs Hear more about the nature of Nervana’s relationship with NVIDIA. How the deal with Intel went from biz dev to acquisition. Some of the obstacles that came with being bought by a big company. Getting an offer to head up the AI team at Intel and the challenges for Naveen. How the release of Volta, NVIDIA’s chip, changed the competition in the space. The importance of patience in the space; NVDIA has always bet on their team. Naveen’s position on Intel acquiring Habana and how his job changed after. Naveen’s impression of the AI companies that have sprouted up since. Unpacking the critical software for this type of development. Google’s GPU team and the advantage they have on the inference side. NVIDA’s acquisitions and Naveen’s take on what they are trying to do. What Naveen is up to now that he is no longer at Intel.
41 minutes | 6 months ago
Using Gene Editing to Cure HIV with Daniel Dornbusch
Viruses are specialists at replicating, something that has frustrated researchers for an HIV cure — until now. With advances in gene editing, the private company Excision BioTherapeutics seems to have developed a functional cure for HIV in animals by removing genomes. Today we speak with Excision CEO Daniel Dornbusch about their breakthrough and why, after decades, gene editing is now attracting significant attention. We open our conversation by talking about what gene editing is, its connections to health science, and how top minds have been experimenting with CRISPR to prevent viral infection. Daniel shares details on his company’s approach to an HIV cure while emphasizing that their research is derived from a community of scientific thought. From CasX to Cas9, we chat about different CRISPR proteins and how each has its abilities and aptitudes. After touching on the challenges of balancing effective gene editing with safety, Daniel provides his insights into why technological leaps have led to an explosion in the gene editing field. We then discuss how gene editing has accelerated the development of a Covid-19 vaccine before we ask Daniel for his take on the controversial 2018 story, when scientists allegedly edited the genes of babies. Near the end of the episode, we talk about other approaches to curing HIV and Daniel leaves us with a final message. Tune in to hear more about the exciting application of gene editing and what Daniel has done to push for an HIV cure. (Daniel: “I should have thanked our collaborators at Temple University, Dartmouth College and UC Berkeley for their innovations and tireless work over the years.”) “With every drug, and throughout the history of drugs, there’s always a balance between efficacy and safety.” — Daniel Dornbusch “Gene editing has been a cornerstone of why we’ve moved so fast with new vaccines for the coronavirus.” — Daniel Dornbusch Key Points From This Episode: We share the career highlights of Daniel Dornbusch, today’s guest. Leading theories on the origin of HIV and why the disease is still worth discussing. What gene editing is and its connections to health science. Harnessing the power of CRISPR to edit genes and to avoid viral infections. The differences between curing and treating viruses. Developing a functional cure for HIV in animals by removing genomes. Hear the details of how Daniel’s HIV curative treatment works. Why Daniel’s company is focused on specifically curing HIV. Exploring the different types of CRISPR proteins. Balancing efficacy with safety in both drugs and gene editing. Why gene editing is starting to take off. How gene editing has accelerated the development of a Covid-19 vaccine. Why vaccine trials move so slowly; the human body is complex and safety is paramount. Commercializing gene editing and how viruses’ natural characteristics have frustrated generations of gene editors — until now.
31 minutes | 6 months ago
The Digital Economy with Gary Vaynerchuk
The coronavirus pandemic likely accelerated the demise of linear TV and boosted momentum for social commerce and the creator economy. In this week’s episode of FYI, ARK sat down with Gary Vaynerchuk to talk about the future of the digital economy. Gary is a serial entrepreneur, five-times New York Times bestselling author, Chairman of VaynerX, CEO of VaynerMedia and VaynerSports. Gary is a highly sought-after public speaker, as well as a prolific angel investor with early investments in companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Venmo, and Uber. In today’s episode, Gary shares several hot takes on the future of advertising, social media, and the creator economy. , He shines light on how both executives and consumers have contributed to the recent shift in COVID-era marketing strategies, why Facebook holds the key to advertising to seniors, and how gaming could be the next wave in social. Finally, tune in to hear Gary tell us about the impending “trillion dollar warfare” and the advent of social commerce 3.0. “As long as the internet is the foundational infrastructure of our society and as long as it doesn’t get over-regulated, content creation will be sustainable in perpetuity, until it takes all the money out of the ivory towers” — @garyvee “Whether you’re YouTube or Spotify or Facebook, I believe all three of those companies are in the same business. They need to show me that they can vertically integrate with retail.” — @garyvee Key Points From This Episode: What the future holds for advertising and the digital economy and why the winners will be those that are financially able to invest in streaming and OTT Biddable OTT platforms could allow even small businesses to run ads on TV classics like “Friends” and “Seinfeld” LinkedIn and TikTok offer preferred economics and value for small businesses Facebook could sell retirement homes and caskets like hot cakes Why social media advertising is swallowing linear TV ads, except for the Super Bowl The impact of COVID on innovation, when decision makers became practitioners Gary never bets against human advancementWhy the big, iconic brands need to shift their media and creative strategies to digital. Gary explains his thoughts on the content creation market. Gary dives into how various apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat have democratized content creation and give users “training wheels” to create better Gary’sv100% convinced text is replacing email Why YouTube, Spotify, and Facebook are all in the same business Gary believes that the infrastructure of social commerce is a huge overlooked opportunity and predicts what the platforms of the future will encompass Gary predicts what the future of shopping at home will look like
51 minutes | 7 months ago
Bitcoin As An Investment with Nate Maddrey
Despite being just over 10 years old, Bitcoin has experienced bear and bull markets. All the while, its value as an asset class has been misunderstood by traditional institutions and crypto enthusiasts alike. Today we speak with Nate Maddrey, Senior Analyst for Coin Metric, about why he believes you should consider investing in Bitcoin. We open our conversation by exploring the possibilities of on-chain analytics, which allows you to analyze the data of every Bitcoin transaction. We then dive into how Bitcoin evolved alongside a loss of trust in financial institutions and how Bitcoin solves many of the problems found in traditional trust-based economic models. After touching on how Bitcoin empowers individual stakeholders, we discuss Bitcoin’s rise from obscurity to becoming a battle-tested asset class. With Nate’s help, we answer the question of whether it’s too late to start investing in Bitcoin. From investing in an asset that can’t be seized or inflated by institutions, we explore Bitcoin’s maturity, market opportunities, its place within an investment portfolio, and how it compares with other asset classes and stocks. Near the end of the episode, we reflect on the impact that institutions are having on Bitcoin and why Bitcoin’s story seems to have only just begun. “Bitcoin was founded in 2009 as a direct response to the 2008 financial crisis and the loss of trust in our traditional financial institutions.” — @natemaddrey “One of the exciting things about Bitcoin is you can send 10 million dollars’ worth of Bitcoin to the other side of the world for a couple of dollars and have it settle within 10 minutes to an hour.” — @natemaddrey Key Points From This Episode: Nate Maddrey introduces himself and his role at Coin Metrics, a leading crypto asset data provider. How on-chain analytics provide incredible access to data about crypto transactions. Unpacking Bitcoin’s characteristics and why it should be seen as an asset class. How Bitcoin evolved in relation to the financial industry. Predictable economic assurances and comparing Bitcoin to traditional financial institutions. Bitcoin’s open structure and how this flips the old model of keeping data behind closed doors. Exploring Bitcoin’s history as a game-changing technology that appeared out of nowhere. Why Bitcoin enthusiasts see its organic evolution and anonymous origins as a key feature. The view that Bitcoin is still early in its path to monetization. Investing in digital gold; the many market opportunities that Bitcoin presents. Why Bitcoin is more than a payment network. Bitcoin’s perfect fit within diversified investment portfolios and its low correlation with other assets. Nate answers the big question, “Is Bitcoin mature enough to be an institutional asset?” Comparing Bitcoin’s trading volume and liquidity against FANG stocks and other asset classes. Why institutions have neglected Bitcoin and the impact that they could have on Bitcoin’s ethos.
63 minutes | 7 months ago
Learn Anything. From Anyone. AI talk with Mckay Wrigley
Imagine being able to learn about the theory of relativity from Einstein himself? Mckay Wrigley is the Founder and CEO of LearnFromAnyone, a service being incubated that aims to leverage OpenAI’s GPT-3 API to build an AI teacher that is an expert in any topic and can assume any personality and voice too. Mckay joins us on the show today to speak about learning code, building a brand in today’s social media landscape, and working on a platform that leverages one of the most exciting and contentious areas of tech – AI. Mckay tells us about how he quit law school and enrolled in a coding bootcamp while sharing his learning process on Twitter, which landed him a job at Hivewire as a full stack developer after only six months. At Hivewire he was able to upskill at a rapid pace and when he heard the rumors of GPT-3’s imminent release, he signed up for an API key and was promptly selected. He talks about his early experiments with the API, getting the idea to build a chatbot that could teach using real-world personalities, and how the first version of this project went viral just after its release. We discuss some early stumbling blocks which kick off an interesting exchange about the pitfalls of AI, how far we are from general artificial intelligence, and the challenges Mckay is facing as a full stack developer building an AI product using another company’s API. Along with all this, we also get into Mckay’s early experiences as a Founder, his optimistic attitude, and the case for positivity at a time like this where many of the narratives we hear are all doom and gloom. For a super exciting episode about the horizon of AI and how it can be harnessed for good, be sure to tune in. Key Points From This Episode: OpenAI’s GPT-3 API and how Mckay founded LearnFromAnyone Uses of OpenAI’s GPT-3 API; a language generator that learns from all the internet. How our modern world allows people to build personal brands in 2-3 years. Mckay’s journey quitting law school in order to learn how to code Tech and soft skills Mckay learned after getting his first developer job at Hivewire. The role leveraging Twitter to document his coding journey played in Mckay finding work and getting access to the GPT-3 API key. Mckay’s idea to use the API to build a chatbot that allows you to learn from anyone. How well the first version of LearnFromAnyone did, going viral in a few hours of being made. Subjects LearnFromAnyone is better at teaching. Old challenges of having to dig up relevant data to make a chatbot like this which the GPT-3 API solves. Limits to GPT-3’s knowledge and the goal of LearnFromAnyone to reduce these. The human ‘constant learn’ feature versus GPT-3’s snapshot-based neural nets. Mckay’s thoughts on OpenAI as a company. Snags in LearnFromAnyone’s initial release; toxic responses thanks to being trained on the internet. Dangers inherent in AI products and the need to implement safety precautions. Mckay’s thoughts on going all-in on a product built off another company’s API. Mckay’s experiences from starting a company during COVID. The tech stack Mckay has used to build LearnFromAnyone; Python, Flask, Node, React, AWS. Companies that inspire Mckay, from OpenAI to Tesla, Stripe, and more. A case for optimism and why it is exciting to be alive today.
50 minutes | 8 months ago
The State of Genetic Testing in The US with Rob Metcalf
DNA sequencing, which is the foundational technological enabler of things like precision medi-cine and genetic testing has seen one of the most staggering cost decline curves in history. With the genetic testing landscape evolving so rapidly, stakeholders are struggling to keep up with developments. Today’s guest is Rob Metcalf, CEO of Concert Genetics, a private company looking to connect the genetic health information network and simplify the often-murky world of genetic testing. In this episode, we hear about Rob’s entry into healthcare and his interest in the intersection of tech and real world problem-solving. Realizing there is potential not only for innovation but also for business growth, Concert—with Rob at the helm—has done exciting work to enable practical solutions. Rob does not sugarcoat the complexity and the strides that still have to be made, so we hear about some of the obstacles in healthcare currently. Through a practical example, we gain insights into the complexity of the moving parts of genetic testing. The conversation also touches on direct customer payments and the exciting way this drives costs down. Of course, it is only one aspect of increased affordability, as Rob highlights, but it is an area where great shifts are happening. Along with this, we also unpack the way that COVID is likely to bring about change and the importance of understanding the economic significance of genetic testing developments and innovation. Do not miss out on this incredible, timely discussion. “We’re trying to enable and advance personalized medicine by building some of the fundamental infrastructure that enables people to do the math.” — Rob Metcalf “Change does not just come from big organizations and government decrees; it actually comes from people, relationships, understanding the problem, defining the problem, and working together.” — Rob Metcalf Key Points From This Episode: The Human Genome Project and the progress in DNA mapping progression since. Some of the barriers of translating genomes into clinical practice. Rob’s background in machine learning and his transition into the healthcare space. The age of personalized medicine. Unpacking the major pain points in the healthcare space and the moving parts. The complexity that comes with getting paid by an insurer in this space. How direct cash payments from patients changes the dynamics of pricing. Why the oncology space is not likely to be shifted by patient payment. The exciting developments in the earlier stages of cancer diagnostics. The outcomes of testing developments are as much economic and health. How COVID and heightened awareness is likely to impact testing and diagnostics. The digitization of healthcare and some of the opportunities it holds. Data struggles are already happening now because of infrastructure constraints. Personalized health is a multi-stakeholder problem, which makes it so complex. Topics at the Genetic Health Information Network Summit. Concert’s approach to finding solutions for practical problems.
49 minutes | 8 months ago
Emerging Themes in Fintech with Dan Kimerling
We believe we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the financial innovation on the horizon as a result of the fintech industry. Here to talk about emerging themes in this rapidly growing space is Dan Kimerling of Deciens Capital, a venture capital fund focused on supporting fintech companies at the seed stage. Dan starts by sketching out his rich background in fintech leading up to Deciens before sharing some exciting early-stage fintech themes that he’s identified and is looking to invest across. From there, we talk about the last ten years of fintech, hearing Dan’s thoughts on what the monumental adoption of mobile phones and mobile wallet apps means for the financial services industry in growing economies but also globally in light of multi-jurisdictional wallets. We then shift focus to how Dan sees financial services evolving over the next decade, and he explains how we are only seeing the beginning of what is in store from an industry that constitutes approximately 20% of global GDP. We move on to discuss some examples of embedded finance, a term denoting non-financial apps that incorporate financial services into their business model. In this segment, we compare mobile wallet apps as far as their customer acquisition strategies and business models more generally, thinking about why some have succeeded and others haven’t. Toward the end of the show, we talk about how the vertical banking model embodied by fintech mobile wallet apps makes sense now for the first time in history and why this might be. For an insightful and urgent conversation about where an already massive industry is headed, be sure to tune in. “What we’re seeing in Africa is the adoption of mobile wallets at a velocity which I think is unprecedented.” @dkimerling Key Points From This Episode: Dan’s background in fintech, why he co-founded Deciens, and who they fund. Exciting early-stage fintech themes; mobile wallet businesses and more. The last 10 years of fintech Dan’s perspectives as a portfolio manager on the prospects of mobile wallet adoption internationally. The speed of the adoption of mobile wallets in fast-growing economies Dan describes three factors relating to how fintech will evolve over the next decade. Understanding embedded finance; how non-financial institutions are embedding financial services into their products. How financial services businesses will switch from serving large to small audiences. Companies that are embedding financial services on the merchant side and consumer side; ‘two-sided networks’. Businesses with P2P payments networks for customer acquisition and retention. Three strategies Dan has seen as far as e-wallet companies’ customer acquisition. How the internet has contributed to the shift from horizontal to vertical banking. Comparing Chase to Square Cash and Venmo in terms of adoption. Why there is a perception shift away from banks with net interest business models to financial apps with marketplace approaches. Final thoughts on new mobile wallet models that Dan is interested in; multi-jurisdictional network effects. “We’re just really scratching the surface of what this wave of financial innovation is going to do.” @dkimerling
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