Bootstrapped by tech veterans with IPO experience, company adds $7
million to accelerate VR content creation, distribution, and monetization
SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–lt;a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/AmazeVR?src=hash” target=”_blank”gt;#AmazeVRlt;/agt;–AmazeVR, a premium, cloud-based platform for high-quality VR content
creation and mass distribution, today announced that it has raised an
additional $7 million in funding to accelerate the development of
proprietary VR content, created and distributed through the Amaze
platform and its partners. The round was led by Mirae Asset Group (Mirae
Asset Naver New Growth Fund & Mirae Asset Venture Investment), the
leading independent financial services group in Asia, with participation
from several strategic investors, including technology leader LG
Technology Ventures, Timewise Investment, and Smilegate Investment, a
subsidiary of Smilegate, which is building out a VR gaming /
location-based entertainment business.
Additionally, AmazeVR announced a partnership with LG U+ to co-produce
“must see content” in VR. LG U+ will also host AmazeVR content on its
service as well as leverage AmazeVR’s proprietary content generation
tools to make its own VR content production easier, as LG U+ works to
release 1,500 VR experiences this year. The partnership comes as LG U+
is currently one of the leaders in the global telecom race to 5G. The
company has asserted that cloud-based VR will become the next killer
application and use case for 5G. LG Technology Ventures invested in
AmazeVR as part of its strategy to further VR and next-generation
“We believe cloud-based VR is the future, and AmazeVR has developed
elegant technology that enables users to create and share interactive
content very easily,” said Dong-Su Kim, CEO of LG Technology Ventures.
“We are incredibly excited about how the AmazeVR platform will enable
innovative, quality content to be generated at unprecedented scale and
Built for the Future
AmazeVR removes the key barriers to entry for mass VR adoption. It
conquers one of the biggest hurdles — compelling content– by producing
only high-quality 3D, 180-degree videos, using custom cameras built
in-house. This commitment to a quality experience has been core to
AmazeVR’s approach since it launched in April 2017. It became the #1
Free App in the Samsung Gear VR Oculus Store less than five months
later, and AmazeVR has maintained its leadership position ever since,
expanding across all major VR stores. AmazeVR was able to differentiate
itself by developing premium content that is part of an expansive
library which includes 20 interactive projects.
The company also recognized that in order to move the industry forward,
all content shouldn’t be limited to what it could develop in-house.
AmazeVR’s technology is ideally suited to for outside content creators
that need easy-to-use tools to build their own branching narrative
content in VR. AmazeVR’s proprietary content tools allow creators to
rapidly produce interactive VR content without needing an entire team of
engineers. And compared to commercial client stitching software, which
can take hours to process a minute of high quality content, AmazeVR’s
cloud service takes less than five minutes.
In addition to overcoming the content hurdle, AmazeVR offers a path for
content creators to monetize their content, which has always been a
struggle. AmazeVR now offers on-demand and Premium Pass models, through
which users can purchase a single piece of premium content or a
period-based subscription that gives users access to all premium
content. Creators profit based on purchases of both Premium Passes and
“AmazeVR sits at the forefront of VR innovation, successfully bucking
conventional wisdom. We see no reason that VR content shouldn’t be
compelling enough to support a Netflix model. To get there, we must
devise mechanisms to inspire, assist, and reward content creators,” said
Steve Lee, CEO of AmazeVR. “Our approach, commitment to quality,
industry-leading technology, and strategic investors provide a path
forward to make VR/AR the next great frontier for entertainment and
Developed by Visionaries
AmazeVR was developed by a seasoned team of Korean technology veterans
who have worked together for more than seven years across six startups.
Most recently, the AmazeVR team served as early executives of Kakao,
developing product and executing on the vision for what has become an
$8.7 billion market cap mobile platform company and one of the most
successful businesses in Korea. Former Kakao co-founder and co-CEO, JB
Lee (AmazeVR CPO), head of strategy, Steve Lee (AmazeVR CEO), senior
software engineer, Jeremy Nam (AmazeVR CTO), and head of KakaoTalk
messaging team, Steven Koo (AmazeVR head of engineering) went on to
bootstrap AmazeVR in order to uninhibitedly focus on building the
“We saw early on that smartphones would replace mobile phones, and one
of the key contexts that would evolve would be communication, which we
took advantage of at Kakao,” added Steve Lee. “We see a similar consumer
paradigm shift on the horizon with VR/AR, and we are determined to lead
the charge with a truly global platform designed to usher in this
Founded by a team of seasoned technology leaders, AmazeVR offers an
end-to-end VR content service. The company shares its platform and
technology with passionate creators and various partners.
With custom equipment/tools, proprietary software, and a hands-on team,
Amaze develops, curates, and produces VR content for those who want to
be a part of the next wave of content creation. AmazeVR content is
distributed through all major VR stores. The company is backed by Mirae
Asset Group, LG Technology Ventures, Timewise Investment, and Smilegate
Investment. It is based in Sunnyvale, California, with additional
offices in West Hollywood. Learn more at www.amaze.us.
About Mirae Asset Financial Group
Mirae Asset Financial Group is a leading independent financial services
group in Asia, the largest investment bank and the largest asset manager
in South Korea, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. On a global
consolidated basis, total group’s client assets exceed US$375 billion
(as of 31 Dec 2018). Mirae Asset has a presence in Australia, Brazil,
Canada, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Mongolia,
Singapore, the U.K., the United States, and Vietnam.
About LG Technology Ventures
LG Technology Ventures was established in 2018 and is the venture
capital investment arm of the LG Group of South Korea. The LG Technology
Ventures team consists of experienced investors, entrepreneurs,
technologists, and industry domain experts. Currently, LG Technology
Ventures is managing over $400 million of fund assets and invests in
early-stage information technology, automotive, manufacturing,
life-sciences, energy, and advanced materials companies. We strive to
create value to our portfolio companies by helping them develop
strategic partnerships with various LG Companies. For more information,
Amber Moore, Moore Communications for AmazeVR
Strainprint™ Technologies Welcomes Organic Medical Cannabis Producer to Growing List of Subscribers
Strainprint Technologies Ltd, the leader in cannabis data and analytics is pleased to expand their nation-wide coverage with the addition of Stewart Farms.
Stewart Farms is a late-stage applicant headquartered in Alberta that is building a 100,000 sq. ft. vertical aquaponics farm in Saint Stephens, New Brunswick. They will be utilizing automation, vertical farming, and land-based aquaculture to produce medical grade organic cannabis for both recreational and medical markets in Canada. All of their products will be free of herbicides, pesticides and synthetic nutrients. At full capacity, they will reach more than 10,000 kgs per year of organically farmed cannabis and more than 200,000 kgs of organic tilapia.
Stewart Farms’ long term vision is to deliver tools and products to support future customers and patients during their health and wellness journeys. “Through our partnership with Strainprint we gain direct access to their incomparable data and analytics tools. This will aid us in educating a wider audience on the medical benefits and best practices of cannabis-based medicine,” said Tanner Stewart, Co-founder & CEO of Stewart Farms. “We know our customers are looking to consume more than dried cannabis. We know Canadians of all legal ages are trying to sort through their personal engagement with cannabis as a medicine. What we want to know, on an ongoing basis, is what is and is not working for people. Strainprint’s patient-led data services will give us the insight needed to create custom products and further understand the benefits of our existing products. Finally, our goal is to partner with companies and teams that truly have people’s best interest at heart. Caring about a patient’s success is what makes up the core of the Strainprint team. We couldn’t be happier to move forward with them at our side.”
Stewart Farms will access the Strainprint Analytics web platform, the most sophisticated cannabis analytics platform available to improve product development. Strainprint Analytics is built on top of the largest and most granular scientific data set of its kind in the world, with more than 1.3 million anonymized, patient reported medical cannabis outcomes and more than 65 million data points on strain efficacy.
“We’re thrilled to provide our real-time, crowd sourced data to an environmentally conscious company that uses innovative, cutting edge farming technology to produce top-tier medical cannabis,” said Strainprint CEO, Andrew Muroff. “Our organizations are equally committed to improving lives using cannabis therapy, and our shared core motivation is to provide guidance and support to help cannabis patients achieve their health goals.”
SOURCE Strainprint Technologies Ltd.
Field Trip Ventures Inc. Retains KCSA Strategic Communications as Public Relations Counsel
Greenery Map, the world’s first and only cannabis search engine to allow users to search for cannabis products based on their desired mood, medicinal use, and method of consumption, is now offering users – both businesses and consumers – the opportunity to register and connect to the app in an entirely mobile way. Previously, businesses were required to access GreeneryMap.com from a desktop in order to manage accounts and connect to the inventory API system, but that road block has been removed, allowing for an entirely mobile experience through the Greenery Map app.
App users turn to Greenery Map to help them decide on the strain of Cannabis and product that is right for them depending on their desired mood or medicinal effect. Following the matching, consumers are given a detailed history and description of the strain so that they can make educated purchases, cutting down on time that budtenders need to spend with patrons and speeding up the purchase process. Consumers can then see all of the ways to purchase said product, including the nearby dispensaries that have it in stock, online options, and even delivery options through the app. Greenery Map fully integrates with a dispensary’s inventory API system to update in real-time and give consumers real-time information on dispensary stock for the item they are looking for. The Greenery Map system also provides cannabis businesses in both the B2B and B2C sectors a private database to share and sell information and products. For Cannabis businesses, Greenery Map also offers the opportunity to open bank and merchant accounts through their partnership with PayHouse Consulting Group.
SOURCE Greenery Map
WeBank, IBM and Other Organizations Jointly Held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning in conjunction with IJCAI 2019
Once a concept, AI is now ushering in a key stage of application. What’s the solution to the data silos among businesses? Given the enhanced regulation on data at home and abroad, what’s the solution to data privacy and security concerns? What’s the status quo of Federated Machine Learning and how to establish an ecosystem for FML in the future?
WeBank, IBM and other organizations jointly held the 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning for User Privacy and Data Confidentiality (FML’19) in conjunction with the 28th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-19) on Aug. 12, 2019, to further discussion on these issues.
President of IJCAI, Chair of FML Steering Committee, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang delivered opening remarks at the workshop. Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google presented keynote addresses. In the panel discussion, top scholars from WeBank, Bar-Ilan University, IBM, Squirrel AI, Google, Huawei, Clustar, Sinovation Ventures and many other renowned enterprises and universities shared and discussed their findings and experience in FML as an emerging AI technology.
This workshop received 40 papers, of which 12 were presented during the workshop, 19 presented via poster. Awards include Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award, Best Presentation Award. Selected high quality papers will be invited for publication in a special issue in the IEEE Intelligent Systems journal. All these attracted numerous scholars to engage in discussions and join efforts for building the FML ecosystem.
Experts from IBM and Google Share Groundbreaking Findings with a Focus on the Theory and Application of FML
Privacy and security are becoming a key concern in our digital age. On 25th May last year, the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the EU, the toughest Act on data privacy protection, stressed that user data collection must be open and transparent. A series of laws and regulations from China and overseas also pose new challenges to the traditional way of handling data and model for cooperation. Seeking ways for AI to adapt to this new reality became top priority, a demand that led to this workshop on FML.
A wealth of solutions and breakthroughs were shared by Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad from IBM and Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google in their speech on FML.
Besides how FML can help tackle challenges in the business world, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad also shared the concept of Fusion AI, which means to train models on widely distributed data sets, but fuse them to produce one equivalent to what centralized training would yield. “Unlike traditional machine learning, in Fusion AI, model parameters are shared and data is not transferred, which makes Fusion AI model better than models that moving data centrally.” Given the widely distributed data, the development of Fusion AI and FML became ever important and imminent.
“FML enables machine learning engineers and data scientists to work productively with decentralized data with privacy by default,” said Dr. Jakub Konečný from Google. He also shared with us how FML works and its use cases at Google. In the case of Gboard, as on-device data is privacy sensitive or large or is more relevant than server-side proxy data, and labels can be inferred naturally via user interaction, the application of Federated RNN compared to prior n-gram model can increase the accuracy of next-word prediction by 24%, and the click rate of prediction strip by 10%.
Major Figure Panelists Discuss the Way Ahead for FML
The moderator of the panel discussion, AI Principal Scientist of WeBank Dr. Lixin Fan joined panelists including Professor Benny Pinkas from Bar-Ilan University, Dr. Shahrokh Daijavad of IBM Academy of Technology, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, Research Scientist of Google Dr. Jakub Konečný, Dr. Baofeng Zhang from CTO Office of CBG Software in Huawei, Executive VP of Clustar Dr. Junxue Zhang, VP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng and other experts in a host of in-depth exchanges with attendees, to shed light on the way ahead for FML.
Experts shared thoughts in the panel discussion on questions including but not limited to: How to meet the security and compliance requirements? Is there a way to extend the value of data while observing user privacy and data security? Given the classic trade-off between data regulation and development of AI, how to achieve the long-term goal of establishing a stable and win-win business ecosystem?
List of Award-Winners
Best Theory Paper Award, Best Application Paper Award, Best Student Paper Award and Best Presentation Award selected by all attendees were announced at the closing of the workshop.
Best Theory Paper Award:
Preserving User Privacy for Machine Learning: Local Differential Privacy or Federated Machine Learning? By Huadi Zheng, Haibo Hu & Ziyang Han;
Best Application Paper Award:
FedHealth: A Federated Transfer Learning Framework for Wearable Healthcare. By Yiqiang Chen, Jindong Wang, Chaohui Yu, Wen Gao & Xin Qin;
Best Student Paper Award:
Quantifying the Performance of Federated Transfer Learning. By Qinghe Jing, Weiyan Wang, Junxue Zhang, Han Tian & Kai Chen;
Best Presentation Award:
Federated Generative Privacy. By Aleksei Triastcyn and Boi Faltings.
President of IJCAI, Chief AI Officer of WeBank Professor Qiang Yang, Chief Architect of Squirrel AI Dr. Richard Tong, andVP of AI Institute in Sinovation Ventures Dr. Ji Feng presented the awards.
“The mission of this International Federated Machine Learning Workshop is to facilitate further understanding in the academia, business community as well as legal and regulatory institutions by promoting the establishment of FML ecosystem in the hope that more businesses will join and build a platform for students aspired to work in FML to find research teams that suit them,” said Professor Qiang Yang.
Held Aug. 10-16, 2019 in Macao, China, IJCAI-19 is one of the leading International Academic Conference on AI, attracting over 3000 AI research personnel and experts. The 1st International Workshop on Federated Machine Learning (FML’19) was a highlight for experts joining this event. Visionaries in the academia and industrial sector expressed the willingness to be part of the effort for academic research, application of FML in the future, and the development and boom of AI ecosystem.
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