On BloobergTV Canada, OnDeck CEO Noah Breslow explained what he thought the country could do to boost innovation. The discussion stemmed from Canada’s decision to set aside C$800 million over the next four years to carry out that objective.
Breslow said that since Canada has excellent schools, those graduates can be nurtured into forming businesses and creating business investment opportunities. He also said that vocational training towards today’s new working-style job would be beneficial as well, whether it’s jobs for people who can design the latest algorithm or people who can build systems and data centers or can rack servers together.
When asked if perhaps government intervention was not the answer to achieve this, Breslow said that there are two ends of that spectrum, and where he believed intervention could be helpful was in the formation and talent development and formation incubation stage of companies. For later-stage companies, it was probably not appropriate, he said.
Breslow also expressed his belief that a permissive immigration policy is important and that there should be less friction to bring in skilled workers to Canada.
You can watch the full video below to hear the rest:
Wondering how your competition always seems to be so on top of their game? They might be using an artificially intelligent sales assistant. Such technology was reported on last month when deBanked learned that it had penetrated the alternative business financing industry through at least one company named AI Assist. AI Assist is powered by Conversica, a Foster City, CA-based technology firm that announced it had raised $34 million in a Series B round on Wednesday led by Providence Strategic Growth Capital Partners L.L.C. More than 1,000 companies across technology, automotive, higher education, finance, insurance, real estate and hospitality are using Conversica.
“Conversica’s AI technology has helped IBM be smarter about engaging our prospective customers and maximizing their value as they move through our sales funnel,” Kevin Pollack, head of IBM’s Global Email Marketing Practice, is quoted as saying in a press release. “Not only have we freed up resources within the marketing team and gained immediate value in the form of qualified sales opportunities, we are also seeing how AI can help transform our entire business moving forward.”
For Roman Vinfield, who launched a merchant cash advance ISO in 2015, it changed his life. “I hadn’t heard anything like an artificial-intelligence sales assistant,” said Vinfield. “The results we got within a month of using it were unbelievable.” Within the first month, Vinfield made $35,000 in revenues by spending just $4,000 and he eventually reduced his staff of 24 to 4 people. He’s since launched AI Assist, the exclusive reseller of Conversica to the alternative finance industry.
“We’ve gone way beyond the theoretical,” Conversica CEO Alex Terry told Fortune. A demo given by Vinfield of AI Assist, demonstrated that its artificial intelligence can communicate with merchants over emails in a way that is indistinguishable from a human. According to Fortune, Terry said the sales assistant software has proven so effective for some customers that recruiters have even mistaken the software for a human and tried to make a hire. Other contacts have sent in thank-you notes and flowers, he added.
Conversica has raised more than $56 million since inception. Providence, who led the Series B round, also owns stakes in Hulu and the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network (YES Network). Conversica’s technology is only available to this industry via AI Assist.
Another Google product bites the dust.
The tech giant plans to shut down Google Compare on March 23rd 2016, a tool which let users compare financial products like credit cards, mortgages and insurance.
The service which has been active in the UK since 2012, was launched in the US as Google Advisor last year and allowed customers to get quotes on financial products. Despite having launched with partners like Zillow and Lending Tree for mortgage products, the service didn’t do much for the company in terms of revenue.
In its letter to partners, the company noted, “Despite people turning to Google for financial services information, the Google Compare service itself hasn’t driven the success we hoped for.”