News Article | November 9, 2015
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Birchbox, Spotify, HBO NOW, newspapers, box of the month clubs, meal services, and more: The rise of subscription-based commerce means consumers now pay for a number of items on a recurring basis. But even a few dollars spent here and there have a way of adding up, and eating into your household’s budget. A new startup called Trim wants to help you better track all the subscriptions you pay for, and easily cancel those you don’t need. And it does all this over text messaging. The idea for the startup comes from two Yale grads, Thomas Smyth and Dan Petkevich, whose backgrounds include time spent at Redfin, the Climate Corporation, and in venture investing. Co-founder and CEO Smyth previously worked as an investor at Core Innovation Capital, which invests in finance technology companies like NerdWallet, CoverHound, Ripple and others. The experience had him spending a lot of time thinking about personal finance, he says. But like many founders, the longtime friends experienced the problem they wanted to solve firsthand before starting Trim. One day, while comparing their credit card statements, they realized that they were paying for a number of services they no longer wanted or needed, including a WSJ subscription and even renter’s insurance from an apartment that Petkevich hadn’t lived in for years. They realized that a lot of people probably sign up for recurring subscriptions, too, and then forget about them. And while consumers may like to cancel some of these subscriptions (if they could remember what they’re paying for!), sometimes the money saved isn’t worth the hassle of figuring out how to cancel. So the founders decided to solve the problem with software instead. Powered by the API platform Plaid, Trim is able to integrate securely with 15,000 financial institutions across the U.S. to pull in credit or debit card data, or roughly 98 percent of the market. Trim pulls in your data, then identifies your subscription payments by finding those that are the same amount, or nearly the same amount, and billed on a regular basis. The software is smart enough not to pick up things like Starbucks, even if you have a daily latte that always costs the same, though. After it identifies a consumer’s subscriptions, it offers an easy way for you to unsubscribe. In practice, how this works is via text message. First, you’ll get a texted list of your subscriptions, followed by instructions on how to unsubscribe from those you don’t want to pay for any longer. For example, you can just reply to the text “Cancel Hulu” to cancel your subscription to the TV streaming service. And that’s really all there is to it. The founders say they tested the SMS service with 100 customers during a private beta, and found that almost everyone was surprised to find some subscription on their list they won’t have otherwise remembered. One of the worst offenders was Experian’s Credit Report, as it turned out, which had a 100% cancellation rate. Assuming Trim takes off, there’s the potential to develop the product further by adding features like a web-based dashboard, a “pause” button for when you’re traveling, and even a premium version that helps users not just with their subscriptions, but with their budgets and finances, too. This future version of Trim would be like the reverse of Mint.com. “We see ourselves as moving from pie charts to actions. Rather than having us tell you what to do in your financial life, we’d have you tell us what to do for you,” says Smyth. But for now, he says, the focus for the team is on growing Trim’s text messaging-based service. The company has an undisclosed amount of angel financing, including from the partners at Core Innovation Capital. When trying Trim for myself, as someone fairly responsible with my money, I wasn’t caught off-guard by any of the services. However, it does pull in things like gym memberships, which often have to be cancelled in person. My list seemed shorter than I’d otherwise think – which is when I realized that a number of my subscriptions are actually paid for via a second credit card. (Trim, at least, lets you add more than one. And be sure to add the card you use for iTunes subscriptions, because those, too, are easily forgotten.) Trim is not perfect. It only pulls in subscriptions billed in the last 90 days, so it could miss those you pay for on an annual basis. However, as an SMS bot, it’s dead-simple to use, and can save you a little money and a lot of time. Trim is free to use, but may add a waitlist, based on demand.
News Article | December 3, 2015
India's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-12 blasts off from Satish Dhawan space centre at Sriharikota, about 100 km (62 miles) north of the southern Indian city of Chennai, April 20, 2009. REUTERS/Babu More CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) - A Colorado-based startup developing a satellite network to predict weather using radio signals will launch its first two spacecraft on an Indian rocket, the company said on Thursday. Privately owned PlanetiQ signed a contract with Antrix Corp Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organization, to launch the pair of satellites in late 2016. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. PlanetiQ plans to build and operate a constellation of 12 miniature satellites that monitor GPS and other navigational radio signals passing through Earth’s atmosphere. The signals change as they travel through different temperatures, pressures and levels of humidity, and the data can be incorporated into computer programs that predict local and regional weather and monitor changes in the global climate. PlanetiQ is among a handful of companies looking to exploit a growing demand for weather data for commercial and government use. With the 12 satellites in orbit, PlanetiQ expects to measure the atmosphere about 34,000 times a day worldwide at altitudes between 650 feet (200 meters) above ground all the way into the ionosphere. In 2013, agrochemical company Monsanto paid nearly $1 billion for the Climate Corporation, which produces apps of field-level weather, soil and crop data. Planet iQ's satellites will be positioned about 497 miles (800 km) above the planet and inclined about 98 degrees relative north and south of the equator. From that vantage point, PlanetiQ satellites will track radio signals from the U.S. Global Positioning System, Russia’s Glasnoss, China’s BeiDou and Europe’s Galileo satellites as they pass through the atmosphere. “The data is similar to that collected by weather balloons, but more accurate, more frequent and on a global scale,” PlanetiQ said. The remaining 10 satellites are expected to fly in 2017. “We are considering all secondary launch opportunities, though (we) are looking at only polar orbits now with higher altitudes preferred,” PlanetiQ Chief Executive Chris McCormick wrote in an email to Reuters. GeoOptics and Spire are two other startups planning to build and operate fleets of low-orbiting satellites equipped with so-called GPS radio occultation sensors. Tempus Global Data and HySpecIQ intend to fly a different type technology, called hyperspectral imaging, to collect similar atmospheric data.
News Article | October 31, 2016
IoT Inventory highlights Midwest leadership in the Internet of Things CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwired - October 31, 2016) - The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) today announced the release of the second edition of the Midwest IoT Inventory Report: the report that catalogs and categorizes Internet of Things (IoT) companies in the Midwest. The Inventory was created by the ITA's IoT Council to formalize and visualize IoT's expanding presence in the Midwest. The revised version of the Inventory includes 90 companies that have established a clear commitment to creating, selling or implementing IoT solutions. Companies in the Inventory range from those founded in the past few years and with fewer than 50 employees, to others with more than 10,000 employees and a strong presence in Illinois since the late 1960s. Fifteen new companies were added to the Inventory since its initial release in April along with two case studies on IoT implementations in the Midwest at Sennco Solutions and Wells Electronics. The new companies listed in the inventory include: AirStash, Ampy, Ayrstone Productivity LLC, Climate Corporation, CNXT, Embedor Technologies, Entrigna, Hallsten Innovations, HARTING Inc of North America, Jio Inc, Mikan Associates, Net Zero Analysis & Design Corp, SPR Consulting, ThingLogix Inc, Vizlore LLC. "Through platforms like the IoT Council and initiatives like the IoT Inventory, the word is starting to spread that the Midwest is the place where IoT is happening," said ITA CEO, Fred Hoch. "The continued expansion of the IoT Inventory helps prove that the Midwest can take the IoT revolution far beyond consumer products to exploit the true power and scope of IoT." "It is exciting to see how many more companies we were able to add to the Inventory in such a short period of time," said Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright and co-chair of the IoT Council. "When we established the IoT Council, one of its initial goals was to raise the visibility and awareness of the Midwest as an epicenter of IoT technology. The addition of fifteen companies to the Midwest IoT Inventory in six months is a big step in helping us reach that goal." To be considered for inclusion in the Inventory, companies had to meet one of two geographical criteria, either: The companies represented in the Inventory represent the leading edge of IoT in the Midwest. The ITA and its IoT Council are dedicated to helping current and future Midwest IoT companies achieve their goals through programming, support systems and peer-to-peer collaboration. Midwest companies that believe they should be represented in the inventory should submit their information for review. To learn more, download the full report visit itaiotcouncil.com or attend the upcoming IoT Summit Chicago on November 9th and 10th to experience Midwest IoT in action. The Illinois Technology Association (ITA) scales Illinois tech companies. With innovative resources that allow members to collaborate with each other, build their talent networks and elevate their local and national presence, ITA is the region's strongest advocate for fostering innovation and growth. Founded in 2005 and supporting 500-plus growth-stage tech companies, ITA has a rich history of driving the business forward. For more information, visit illinoistech.org, follow @ITAbuzz on Twitter or find us on LinkedIn.
News Article | September 15, 2016
Will the proposed deal help feed the world, or will it just cut investment in farm R&D? On the day last year that I visited Robb Fraley, chief scientist of Monsanto, at the company’s St. Louis headquarters, he’d just come from a meeting with some farmers. Fraley laughed when I asked what they wanted. “Higher yields, of course,” he said. Farmers always want more stuff from an acre. Fraley has had a big idea about how to get there. In 20 years, seeds will be planted from something like an ink-jet printer, they’ll have 20 traits engineered into their genomes, and farmers will use designer microbes and genetic sprays to control pests. All of it will be coördinated, to the inch, by weather and analytics software. Corn yields, Fraley told me, could double again—to a staggering 300 bushels per acre—and help feed the world. Yesterday Monsanto agreed to sell itself, and Fraley’s dream, to Germany’s Bayer, in a deal that is valued at $66 billion. To many observers, the merger is mostly a way to cut costs in the face of plunging prices for corn and soybeans. But according to one member of Bayer’s executive suite, the real reason for it is that Bayer sees the world the same way Fraley does. “The primary driver is innovation,” says Liam Condon, head of Bayer’s crop science division and a member of its management board. “Both of us are advocating a new approach—not improving the bits and pieces, but optimizing the whole system.” Condon says combining the companies will bring together Monsanto’s expertise in seeds and genetic engineering with Bayer’s lineup of crop chemicals. “They are primarily biotech; we are primarily chemistry,” says Condon. “If we just keep doing innovation the way we’ve always done, it is just taking longer and getting more expensive.” Getting a biotech seed to market already costs about $150 million and takes a decade. Meanwhile, the pace of new chemical introductions has slowed industry-wide. Both companies’ product lines face weighty regulations and punishing public opposition. The takeover of Monsanto is part of a wider consolidation of ag-chemical companies. In July, DuPont and Dow Chemical agreed to merge, and they plan to combine their agricultural businesses as a single company; meanwhile, France’s Syngenta is in the process of being acquired by ChemChina. BASF remains independent. If the deals go through, it will pare what’s been called the “Big 6” to just four companies. In a profile this summer, Fortune magazine called Monsanto “the most vilified company on the planet” but noted that it’s also one of the most successful. Its biotech plants spread over 180 million acres of soy and corn fields. And with its nearly $1 billion purchase of the Climate Corporation, in 2013, it also made a long-term bet on data-driven agriculture. Even though the Climate Corporation’s weather and analytics platform hasn’t been profitable for Monsanto, it probably added to the price Bayer was willing to pay, says Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO of BioConsortia in Davis, California. He believes the most “exciting” question is whether the combined company can further develop the big-data approach to farming, with strategies like tractors that connect to predictive software. Others say some of Monsanto’s new ideas were not moving quickly enough. One, a way to clobber weeds with a spritz of genetic molecules, was retired from recent R&D presentations, although plans to kill insects with the same technology, called RNA interference, are moving forward. “Their new platforms have not yet been breakthroughs. Progress has not been as expected,” says Nitzan Paldi, a former Monsanto executive who now runs a startup, Forrest Innovations. “It seems to me that Monsanto is facing very strong headwinds and that management is probably relieved not to have to face them alone.” Monsanto took the lead in agricultural biotech in the mid-1990s by pairing its weed killer, Roundup, with soy and corn engineered to survive the chemical. Yet that combination isn’t so useful anymore. Roundup was overused, and now weeds resistant to it are springing up everywhere. Bayer sells a competing combination of GMOs and weed killers under its Liberty brand. Combined, the two companies spent about $2.75 billion on agricultural R&D in 2015. In a merger, it’s probably inevitable that the figure will get pared back. “They are scrambling to spread their fixed costs over higher output,” says Philip Pardey, an economist at the University of Minnesota. “Over the last two years there have been a lot of heads rolling.” Monsanto has announced more than 3,000 layoffs in the last 12 months, about one-seventh of its workforce. John Killmer, a former Monsanto executive and now CEO of Apse, a St. Louis company developing genetic techniques, says he thinks the deal is being driven by “bloodless accountants in green eyeshades,” not by technology. “My take is that net innovation within the companies will decline,” Killmer says. “I think the farmer, from an innovation perspective, loses in this type of deal, and his losses likely will be even higher because the new entity will have so much market power.” He predicts higher prices and fewer choices, and if regulators see the deal the same way, they could decide to block it. European regulators have already signaled they will look closely at the deal, and given the companies’ overlap in pesticides and genetically modified seeds, the likely decision is far from clear. “It’s definitely not a done a deal,” Pardey says. “I think the odds might be low.” The run of mergers between the largest companies in agriculture comes amid a small boom in startup companies exploring new uses of genomics, microbes, technologies like gene editing, drones, and sensors. “A lot of innovative ideas are spilling in from outside the ag industry,” says Pardey. “I think they will pick it up by gobbling up startups.” Another uncertainty is what will happen to the Monsanto name if the merger goes through. But retiring it might be a good idea, says Kevin Folta, chairman of horticultural science at the University of Florida. The name Monsanto is “an instant emotional conversation-ender” says Folta. “Maybe by taking out the bogeyman, the public can finally start to entertain scientific conversations about agricultural technology.”
Thakur G.,Mitre Corporation |
Brevdo E.,Climate Corporation |
Fuckar N.S.,University of Hawaii at Manoa |
Wu H.-T.,Princeton University
Signal Processing | Year: 2013
We analyze the stability properties of the Synchrosqueezing transform, a time-frequency signal analysis method that can identify and extract oscillatory components with time-varying frequency and amplitude. We show that Synchrosqueezing is robust to bounded perturbations of the signal and to Gaussian white noise. These results justify its applicability to noisy or nonuniformly sampled data that is ubiquitous in engineering and the natural sciences. We also describe a practical implementation of Synchrosqueezing and provide guidance on tuning its main parameters. As a case study in the geosciences, we examine characteristics of a key paleoclimate change in the last 2.5 million years, where Synchrosqueezing provides significantly improved insights. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
News Article | April 27, 2016
Executives from Facebook, Google, and other technology giants will share artificial intelligence strategies in San Francisco this month. Emerging technologies and techniques in artificial intelligence are poised to have an impact on your industry, and sooner than you realize. We’ve invited an extraordinary group of speakers to EmTech Digital in San Francisco next month to delve into some of the most promising areas of AI research. We’ll hear from leaders in their field who are working to improve the ability of machines to sense, perceive, and act in different environments, allowing for more natural and closer collaboration with human counterparts. No industry will be unchanged. We’ll hear from leaders of companies including Facebook, Pinterest, and Google to better understand how AI is transforming our digital lives. We’ll also have the opportunity to hear from Amazon Robotics, GE, and the Climate Corporation on some surprising ways that more traditional businesses are deploying intelligent systems and robots to transform their industries. The EmTech Digital program will feature talks from many more of the people and organizations that are defining this new digital era. These innovators will paint a clear picture of the implications to us all as the connected environments around us gain intelligence in the years to come. Please make plans now to join us on May 23-24, 2016, in San Francisco. Visit the event website for more information and final updates in the weeks ahead.
Boerner A.R.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln |
Gates J.B.,Climate Corporation
Journal of Geophysical Research G: Biogeosciences | Year: 2015
Impacts of environmental changes on groundwater carbon cycling are poorly understood despite their potentially high relevance to terrestrial carbon budgets. This study focuses on streambed groundwater chemistry during a period of drought-induced river drying and consequent disconnection between surface water and groundwater. Shallow groundwater underlying vegetated and bare portions of a braided streambed in the Platte River (Nebraska, USA) was monitored during drought conditions in summer 2012. Water temperature and dissolved inorganic carbon (dominated by HCO3-) in streambed groundwater were correlated over a 3 month period coinciding with a decline in river discharge from 35 to 0 m3 s-1. Physical, chemical, and isotopic parameters were monitored to investigate mechanisms affecting the HCO3- trend. Equilibrium thermodynamic modeling suggests that an increase of pCO2 near the water table, coupled with carbonate mineral weathering, can explain the trend. Stronger temporal trends in Ca2+ and Mg2+ compared to Cl- are consistent with carbonate mineral reequilibria rather than evaporative concentration as the primary mechanism of the increased HCO3-. Stable isotope trends are not apparent, providing further evidence of thermodynamic controls rather than evaporation from the water table. A combination of increased temperature and O2 in the dewatered portion of the streambed is the most likely driver of increased pCO2 near the water table. Results of this study highlight potential linkages between surface environmental changes and groundwater chemistry and underscore the need for high-resolution chemical monitoring of alluvial groundwater in order to identify environmental change impacts. ©2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
News Article | November 21, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO i TALLINN, Estonia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dzisiaj, Climate Corporation, spółka zależna firmy Monsanto, ogłosiła przejęcie VitalFields, europejskiego producenta oprogramowania do zarządzania gospodarstwem rolnym z siedzibą w Tallinie, Estonia. Zespół VitalFields dołączy do Climate Corporation, wzmacniając wysiłki firmy mające na celu dostarczanie technologii cyfrowych rolnikom na całym świecie. Założona w 2011 roku i obecna w siedmiu europejskich krajach firma VitalFields oferuje łatwe
News Article | August 31, 2016
A Monsanto logo is pictured in the company headquarters in Morges, Switzerland, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse BOONE, Iowa (Reuters) - Monsanto Co's digital agriculture platform should begin generating revenue for the seed and chemical company by 2020 as paid subscriptions for data-driven farm management and planting advice services expand, a top executive told Reuters. Revenues from the Climate Corporation business, acquired in 2013 for nearly $1 billion, are expected to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars by then, Robb Fraley, Monsanto's chief technology officer said in an interview at the Farm Progress industry show. "By the turn of the decade it will be a clear cash generator for the business," Fraley said, noting it will still be a fraction of Monsanto's total sales. Monsanto's high-stakes push into digital agriculture hit a hurdle on Wednesday, when the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit aimed at stopping Deere & Co from buying Monsanto's Precision Planting farm equipment business. The agency said in its lawsuit the deal could make it more expensive for farmers to use precise planting technology. Mike Stern, chief executive of Climate Corporation, told Reuters on Wednesday the sale would benefit farmers. Stern also said Climate and Deere are moving forward with plans to allow nearly real-time data connections between certain John Deere farm equipment and Climate's farming software programs, Climate FieldView. Monsanto's Climate acquisition, and the high price it paid for the San Francisco-based weather data analytics firm, ignited intense industry interest in agriculture technology businesses. Numerous competitors and non-farm investors jumped into the space, aimed at helping farmers grow bigger crops more efficiently using data analytics, drones and other high tech tools. But a steep downturn in farm incomes has cooled agrarian demand for the unproven technologies. It is also taking Monsanto longer to turn a profit: At the time of the Climate acquisition, officials told Reuters they expected it to boost Monsanto's earnings within two years. Monsanto's business model for Climate, too, has shifted since the acquisition and transformed the seed company to some degree, Fraley said. "We're utilizing the Climate tools in our (internal) breeding program, in our manufacturing programs for seed production and in the customer interface. Truly, the digital tools are changing the way the company does its research and develops its products," Fraley said. Climate's Field View platform is being used on nearly 100 million U.S. farm acres today, with about 15 million acres in its premium paid services. Monsanto projects paid acres will reach up to 400 million by 2025.
News Article | August 22, 2016
A Monsanto logo is pictured in the company headquarters in Morges, Switzerland. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (Reuters) - Monsanto Co's Climate Corporation is building a network of in-field sensors to expand the scope of soil, weather and other data flowing into its digital agriculture tools that help farmers increase crop yields and reduce costs, the company said on Wednesday. San Francisco-based Climate also said it will open up its software infrastructure to third-party developers, enabling them to create new applications that enhance the data-fueled services it currently offers. Climate announced a deal with a Kansas-based soil sensor company on Wednesday but did not disclose terms. The goal is to build an Amazon.com-like network of agriculture products and services that the company says will speed innovation and bolster the capabilities of its Climate FieldView platform. "We see it as the Amazon of agriculture, where we're bringing additional apps up onto that platform and where the best apps win," Hugh Grant, Monsanto's CEO, told investors gathered for an investor event in St. Louis on Wednesday. Agriculture companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on technologies that capture and analyze detailed data about plants, soil and weather to help farmers increase yields and lower costs. The companies hope to capitalize on what they believe is the biggest step forward in agriculture since biotech seeds. But many farmers, squeezed by tightening farm profits, have not fully embraced the big data offerings. The strategy of opening up the software platform to developers goes beyond the existing data transfer agreements between Climate and other companies, Climate's chief technology officer, Mark Young, said. Monsanto has spent more than $1 billion in recent years on expanding its digital platform, which has not yet grown into a big revenue generator. The seeds and agrochemicals company says data science is the key to its long-term growth and the "glue" that connects its breeding, biotechnology, chemistry and microbes offerings. FieldView services are used on about 92 million acres of U.S. farmland currently, mostly in free services such as field-specific rainfall totals. Only about 13 million acres are enrolled in the platform's premium services. Monsanto anticipates gross profit from Climate Corp "in the range of a few hundred million dollars" and forecast paying acres on the platform of 300 million to 400 million by 2025, Grant said. Soil sensor company Veris Technologies is the first to sign on to the new sensor network, Climate said. Climate is also in talks with other potential partners, spokeswoman Chelsea Shepherd said in an email, without elaborating.