Why the world's largest beverage company cares about A.I.
As the CEO of Alley, a creative co-working space which served as home base for the teams during their acceleration period, puts it: "...(this) is, in Harry Potter terms, Hogwarts for Startups." Given that someone can make such an emboldened reference without being struck down by one of Harry's spells, I'd say the topic deserves an even closer eye. Furthermore, as I've been convinced (over and over again) by the frequent blogging of my Evonik Digital colleague, Rainer Gimble, that "working out loud" is indeed the future of work, this seems the perfect opportunity to spread the knowledge of that day in a very public way.
After 16 weeks of close collaboration between the Ab InBev's in-house corporate venturing arm, ZX Ventures, and the Techstars mentor network - and of course a boatload of sweat and thought from the founders themselves -, here is a quick written and visual summary of what I saw:
- PlanSnap - the Uber of gathering friends. This app was basically built for all my planoholics that can't figure out how to get people to accept more of their Google Calendar invites. (Side note: friends reading this, accept my damn invites!)
- Paranoid Fan - social mapping meets crazed sports fanatic. Pre-revenue and already more than 250k users. Ummm, can anyone say NFL and NASCAR? Well they can...and they can also say, unlike most us, that they have contracts moving into 2017/18 with each.
- Analytical Flavor Systems - AI models what consumers taste, then predicts future preferences. So...you're saying...it is a market study on Hulk Hogan levels of steroids? Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.
- Quantac - biosensor which tracks alcohol consumption through the skin. The cheap party breathalyzer market was rumored to plummet proportional to each second of their 5 minute pitch.
- Party with a Local - platform connecting party goers all over the world. 40k+ members in 150+ countries and they haven't raised a dollar from the outside.
- NaCa Fermentation - the coolest fermentation process of all fermentation processes. NaCa has developed technology that cuts the fermenting process (think: beer, wine, liquor, etc...) from 7 days to less than 24 hours. Reads: you can make / drink beer, wine, and liquor faster than ever.
- Afineur - craft healthier more sustainable food using AI-controlled fermentation. They've launched a product, Cultured Coffee, which enhances desirable coffee characteristics while decreasing negative belly feels. Bro, who isn't trying to avoid those "negative belly feels" after a nice cup of the dark stuff?
- Intelligent Layer - AI helps understand what customers want (that's ANY customer of ANY thing) in real time. For all those marketing report firms that have been growing fat for years on what amounts to the annual magazine renewal business model, watch out.
- Drinkeasy - connects the uppity liquor snob with his fave small batch spirits. In all seriousness, text this number (+1.646.350.2208) and their team / proprietary AI will find exactly what you want to drink, accept your payment and deliver it to your door...all via text messaging. Warning: standard text rates may apply.
- Octi - Pic Stitch meets Google Photos and crowd sharing. The platform connects multiple video feeds to one event in time, creating a shareable video in real time.