What is Machine Learning? A definition

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.

The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide. The primary aim is to allow the computers learn automatically without human intervention or assistance and adjust actions accordingly.

Some machine learning methods

  1. Machine learning algorithms are often categorized as supervised or unsupervised.
  2. Supervised machine learning algorithms can apply what has been learned in the past to new data using labeled examples to predict future events. Starting from the analysis of a known training dataset, the learning algorithm produces an inferred function to make predictions about the output values. The system is able to provide targets for any new input after sufficient training. The learning algorithm can also compare its output with the correct, intended output and find errors in order to modify the model accordingly.
  3. In contrast, unsupervised machine learning algorithms are used when the information used to train is neither classified nor labeled. Unsupervised learning studies how systems can infer a function to describe a hidden structure from unlabeled data. The system doesn’t figure out the right output, but it explores the data and can draw inferences from datasets to describe hidden structures from unlabeled data.
  4. Semi-supervised machine learning algorithms fall somewhere in between supervised and unsupervised learning, since they use both labeled and unlabeled data for training – typically a small amount of labeled data and a large amount of unlabeled data. The systems that use this method are able to considerably improve learning accuracy. Usually, semi-supervised learning is chosen when the acquired labeled data requires skilled and relevant resources in order to train it / learn from it. Otherwise, acquiringunlabeled data generally doesn’t require additional resources.
  5. Reinforcement machine learning algorithms is a learning method that interacts with its environment by producing actions and discovers errors or rewards. Trial and error search and delayed reward are the most relevant characteristics of reinforcement learning. This method allows machines and software agents to automatically determine the ideal behavior within a specific context in order to maximize its performance. Simple reward feedback is required for the agent to learn which action is best; this is known as the reinforcement signal.
  6. Machine learning enables analysis of massive quantities of data. While it generally delivers faster, more accurate results in order to identify profitable opportunities or dangerous risks, it may also require additional time and resources to train it properly. Combining machine learning with AI and cognitive technologies can make it even more effective in processing large volumes of information.

6 Success Tips for Startups

Starting your own business can be a daunting task, and even more so if you’re entering a market with strict quality standards and fierce competition. Starting your own laboratory is quite a leap for a young entrepreneur, but not outside your reach. Others have started their labs, and you can do the same with just these six tips and considerations. Take a look at some of the ways of thinking the most successful startups used to get their own businesses going.

PMF

Product/Market Fit is the pinnacle of successful startups. Though not your first consideration, it is the ultimate goal of your endeavor. However, what is Product/Market Fit?

The experts aren’t sure on the correct definition of PMF, but, in its essence, PMF is the moment your product becomes the exact fit for your customers. Naturally, this doesn’t mean that your product will be a perfect match for the entire market – instead, it is enough for your product, i.e. your future lab, to appeal to your own niche of customers, your own Minimum Valuable Segment (MVS), as it is named my many experts dealing in market analysis.

In essence, this is what you’ll be building towards. All your efforts will be concentrated onto reaching that point where your customers start to like and depend on your product, so much so that around “40% of users saying they would be “very disappointed” without your product”, as Sean Ellis, entrepreneur and CEO of GrowthHackers puts it.

Budget

Now that we’ve got PMF out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about something concrete, namely, your budget. However, here you won’t be thinking strictly about the amount of money you have to spend on the space, personnel and equipment, but about your exit plan as well. Whether you’re planning to sell your lab, retire or are planning for contingencies beyond your control, having a good grip on your current budget, as well as your business’s value, is an absolute must. This will lay groundwork for any future endeavors, expansions, mergers or transfers of ownership that might happen along the way. Having a sound plan will protect your business, your employees, your assets as well as you and your family should the unexpected happen.

Location

One of the major considerations when starting a lab is choosing the right place. But this, we don’t simply mean choosing the space in the right part of town or something simple like that, but more along the lines of choosing the place with the right conditions for your type of business. Considering you’re opening a laboratory, and considering what kind of lab will it be, and what kind of equipment you’ll use, you’ll have to check the place for plumbing, electrical outlets, structural integrity of the building, etc. A good way to go is actually hire a professional architect (if you can afford their services), and have them give you concrete advice on the condition of your future space.

In addition these considerations, you must also account for the needs of your clients and the proximity of your suppliers. In the case of clients, consider what kind of businesses/institutions will use your lab – some need bare-bones no-frill super-functional labs, while others can use labs as sort of pseudo-office spaces, with boardrooms, meeting rooms for customers, etc.

All in all, this can be summarized with four Fs – functionality, flexibility, feel and fit. If these four factors align, you will have certainly found the best possible location for your startup lab.

Equipment

Okay, now that you’ve got your space, your exit plan, and you’ve got a clear goal in mind, it’s time to acquire the necessary equipment. Luckily, if you’ve got the previous steps down, this will be, perhaps, the easiest step toward building your laboratory. At this point, you need to start looking for suppliers and manufacturers in your price range and specialty, something along the lines of Thermoline, who offer a wide variety of equipment off of their own production line, as well as products from other manufacturers. Such suppliers are widely regarded for their flexibility and wide array of products on offer, and you can always contact and defer to them for advice concerning the best equipment for the job.

Action

Plan as you might, once you’re put into a position where you have to actually get up and start doing something, you might just start feeling overwhelmed and underprepared. And this is natural – planning for every possible contingency is very optimistic, and it’s sometimes better to just start doing something. Build your lab, equip it, get a couple contracts under your belt, and manage on the fly. If you’ve got a good groundwork, if your plans are sound and your company growth well laid out, you’ll have no problem adjusting to your new leadership position. The important thing is not to dwell on decisions too much, and actually make a move. Even if it doesn’t turn out exactly as expected, you will, no doubt, learn from the experience and know exactly what to do to get your project back on track.

Safety

Finally, one of the most important considerations you need to make is lab safety. We are sure you’re already aware of how important this section is, but, let us reiterate just in case how big of a deal this issue can be. In practice, labs tend to cut corners, but the more corners you cut, the more you’re endangering your employees, your customers and clients, and your own business. To that end, it is of utmost importance that you have a detailer handbook explaining lab safety procedures to prevent loss of property and life, as well as invest in a wide range of safety equipment. This includes everything from gloves and goggles, to fire suppression systems, fire extinguishers and emergency exits.

Conclusion

And that’s about all the advice we have for you at this time. These considerations are the foundation of your future business – however, there are always more considerations and strategies to be perused by young and ambitious entrepreneurs, so make sure to expand your knowledge on this topic as much as you can before plunging into the thick of things

 

Start-up founders’ demands from centre: Less paperwork, fewer taxes

BENGALURU: Three demands. That’s what entrepreneurs in Bengaluru have for any government that comes to power at the centre. One, iron out issues related to angel tax for startups that have already received notices. Two, offer regulatory clarity on emerging business models and create a balance between the state and the central government. Three, don’t bury startup entrepreneurs with paperwork.

“The government came up with a regulation that will exempt companies from angel tax in the future,” said one of the 2,000 entrepreneurs who received angel tax notices. “However, for companies that received a notice, there is no clarity on what’s the way forward,” said the entrepreneur mentioned above.

About 2,000 startups received notices in December when the companies were asked to pay “angel tax”—a tax on startups that receive an equity infusion in excess of their “fair valuation”. The premium paid by investors is treated as income taxable at 30%. The government later changed the definition of a startup and relieved them of this tax, but companies that had received notices will still have to go through an appeal.

Regulatory clarity for startups coming up with innovative business models is paramount. “The issue is not which government is ruling, but how open are the central and state governments to new ideas,” said a startup entrepreneur, requesting anonymity.

“The government needs to be a bit flexible and have provisions for new ideas and even if existing frameworks don’t support the innovation. They need to give a new idea some breathing space, while setting some metrics if they want to regulate a particular industry,” he said, citing the recent suspension of cab aggregator Ola’s licence as it ran bike-taxi pilots, which are not allowed in the state.

The central government in its draft guidelines in December 2016 allowed state governments to draft their own transport regulations. Several states, including Telangana and Rajasthan, then authorized the use of bike taxis. However, other states haven’t authorized them, leading to trouble for companies such as Ola and Rapido in Karnataka.

“All states need to consider the impact of services,” said an entrepreneur in the mobility space. “During that time, the entire sector can be disrupted. If one state authorizes it, other states should follow suit,” said the entrepreneur.

Startup entrepreneurs also said they are bogged down by paperwork. Some suggested that the government should create certain exemptions for startups with respect to compliance and regulatory paperwork at least for the initial years when the entrepreneur is building the product and the company.

The latest is the regulation issued by the ministry of corporate affairs. It is mandatory for more than 1.2 million active registered companies in India to upload all details of the company, including particulars of the registered offices, in an e-filing to the government, according to the new know-your-customer (KYC) norms.

“The government is only increasing compliance. The new KYC norms are the latest to be added to the list of filings and paperwork to be done,” said Subramanya S.V., founder of fintech startup Fisdom. “I understand the intent behind it, but because of this genuine entrepreneurs end up spending more time on paperwork and paying their chartered accountants and company secretaries rather than focusing on building the product and growing the company,” said Subramanya.

Some founders also said the paperwork and processes involved in winding up a company are too many and too complicated. This prevents founders from shutting down quickly.

However, several investors believe that while issues such as angel tax are problems, they aren’t the biggest hurdles to growth and expansion for a startup in the Indian startup ecosystem.

“Issues such as angel tax are irritants but they are not the main hurdle for a startup. Of course, they need to be resolved and we need more clarity in regulation,” said Anand Lunia, partner at India Quotient. “Let’s focus on the opportunity, market, growth, disposable income because of low inflation and low housing costs. The only negative is high interest rates, which is a shame,” he said.

 

Courtesy :

Varsha Bansal

from  https://www.livemint.com/companies/start-ups/start-up-founders-demands-from-centre-less-paperwork-fewer-taxes-1555434815781.html

All you need to know about the 2019 SA Innovation Summit Pitching Den, Inventors Garage

Looking for investment, funding, new markets or new customers? Or do you want to showcase your invention to the world? Then you’ll likely be counting down to the days until the SA Innovation Summit take place.

One of the annual summit’s highlights are its competitions. Last year the event organisers received over 1500 applications for the four competitions the hosted at the 2018 edition.

Pitching Den

The Pitching Den competition gives high-growth early-stage startups from around the world an opportunity to pitch their solutions to a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors and business development experts.

However, it’s more than just about competing for investment, the SA Innovation Summit says the competition is all about exposure and connections.

Participants of the Pitching Den will get access to the Match and Invest Lounge where key investors will be available for consultation. The SA Innovation Summit says on its website that it has out together a “high impact group” that would take years to identify and pitch to.

In addition, Pitching Den participants will have access to technical expertise from venture capitalists, intellectual property specialists and advisers.

The SA Innovation Summit says participants will also have access to funds and acceleration support as judges will commit to second interview if pitches are of interest.

To be considered for the Pitching Den, startups must have an annual turnover of at least R100-million, be close to achieving break-even or profitability, demonstrate high-growth potential, scalability and have national or international expansion plans.

Applicants will be judged on: business model and execution strategy, market attractiveness and ability to provide a solution to the identified need, business proposition innovation level, revenue and profit models, strategic competitive positioning, and the quality of the management team.

A team of expert judges will select up to 25 finalist to compete in the final live pitch round. The summit organisers are yet to announce prizes that winners will receive.

Inventor’s Garage

The Inventor’s Garage is aimed at African innovators and inventors with demos, working prototypes or products that are in the early commercialisation stage.

Those who enter the competition will have their inventions posted on the SA Innovation Summit’s official Facebook page and exhibited at the summit.

Featured image: SA Innovation Summit Pitching Den winner MPost co-founder Abdul aziz Mohamed receiving his award at the 2018 SA Innovation Summit (SA Innovation Summit via Facebook)

Courtesy-

Staff Reporter

From https://ventureburn.com/2019/04/2019-sa-innovation-summit-competitions/

These are the world’s 5 most innovative countries

For a nation to be successful, being powerful is not the only essential factor; innovative

countries focus on the power of technology instead.

The importance of innovation is realized by all the countries across the globe. As innovation is crucial throughout the development of any kind, technological inventions lead to a better-grown economy. Various innovations are taking place with an improvement in communication technologies. Several factors, such as open trade and foreign investment, have been affected due to economies accepting the nature of being innovative for the betterment of their people. As technologies are evolving at a marvelous speed, different countries are trying to be innovative in their approach towards them and how technology can be used for national benefits.

Here are 5 of the most innovative countries in the world.

1.  Switzerland

Switzerland has been named as the most innovative country in the world because of a very valid reason – they use technology to have all their financial transactions online. This further leads to enhancing their financial sector in such a way that their national strengths and industries are enhanced.

2.  The United States of America

Since the great recession, USA has been brought back to track by its innovators. With huge leaps in technology and Internet enterprises, it has made it back to the top 5. USA has several technological innovations to boast about – from building the first computer to its role in the rise of the Internet to being home to the Silicon Valley – USA has shown some true potential, and the urge to be ever innovative seems to be never-ending.

3.  The United Kingdom

With the ever-evolving innovations in its medical research, the UK has proved to be one of the most notable and leading innovators across the globe. The UK has been blossoming since the announcement of the silicon roundabout. The “Tech City” also has been a point of discussion for many. The tech city has gained renowned recognition because it is one of those places that hold tremendous amount of technology start-ups.

4.  Finland

Finland is on the list of the top 5 innovative countries across the globe because of its education system. The attitude of the Finns about to attach as much importance to student recreation as academics, and shorter schooldays has led to Finland being on this list. Furthermore, Finland has stopped urging its students to compete with each other, and ask them to focus on improving their all-round growth instead.

5.  Netherlands

The government in Netherlands focuses on unconventional areas like energy, agri-food, logistics, and life sciences. The nation has also faired respectfully in the patent filing and e-participation arena. Furthermore, start-ups have been urged to focus on bringing better resources that focus on increasing the agricultural output of the nation.

Technological innovations are ever evolving as they directly deal with improving lives of the people. A country’s emphasis on improving its ability to innovate is what makes it stand out.