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Filtering by Tag: techcrunch

MaintainPR & Noble.AI

Ryan Sommer


Corporate R&D spending in 2018 reached $782 billion among the top 1000 companies, representing a 14% increase relative to 2017 and the largest figure deployed firms to R&D ever. Despite this, most AI-as-a-service is designed and targeted toward marketing and commerce.

Enter MaintainPR client (, AI software that helps enterprises do R&D with 10x lower cost. Since founding the company in 2017, Matthew C Levy and his team have worked with many of the largest and most forward-thinking enterprises – across verticals like chemistry, automotive, and materials science – using their unique technology to help them lower the cost of R&D and invent faster.  

We are excited about the future announcements from this stellar SF-based startup. You can read more about the seed fundraise from Prime Movers Lab and Solvay Ventures (the venture arm of world-leading chemical company Solvay) on TechCrunch below.

Big data AI startup Noble.AI raises a second seed round from a chemical giant — TechCrunch

Arago Drops AI Bomb on TechCrunch Disrupt London

Ryan Sommer

MaintainPR client Arago ( has been in the AI game since the 90s. They are a leading artificial intelligence company that helps businesses automate their IT processes through intelligent automation.

Today at TechCrunch Disrupt London, Arago dropped a bombshell: their proprietary AI platform HIRO, which uses reasoning and a knowledge-based problem-solving engine optimized by machine learning to deliver cutting-edge enterprise IT automation solutions to clients worldwide, is already beating human players at FreeCiv.

It's a huge accomplishment for a smaller company (Google's DeepMind, with much more resource, only just start accessing APIs to play Starcraft II) and some of the world's biggest AI players, like Facebook, said it couldn't be done at all!

For more details, check out the press release and coverage from TechCrunch's Darrel Etherington as well as IDG Paris bureau chief Peter Sayer. Both are Civ players themselves that never got close to even beating the game's built in AI!

Arago’s AI can now beat some human players at complex civ strategy games -- TechCrunch

Arago teaches an AI to play games, the better to manage IT systems -- PC World

Watch Arago’s HIRO Beat Out Human Gamers in Freeciv -- Futurism

colourDNA Launches iPhone App to Multiple Glowing Write-Ups


MaintainPR client colourDNA, who are slowly and steadily building an alternative social network and recommendation platform for sharing your loves online have today announced the introduction of their much anticipated iPhone app for sharing loves on the go and getting recommendations based on your current whereabouts.

Techcrunch covered the launch asking their readers whether this is "Pinterest for colour?," and both SiliconANGLE and Appolicious have standalone thought-provoking reviews at launch as well.

To top things off, Shiny Shiny, one of our favourite UK technology review sites made the colourDNA iPhone app "App of the Day" on launch day and AG Beat chimed in to cover the news as well.

Congrats to colourDNA and their developer on an app well done!

Calling All Data Hungry Journos -- Duedil Wants You!


Duedil ( is a showstopper. A beautiful and easy-to-master UI you access from your browser, wrapped around sought after information on public (currently UK) companies, and the men and women that run them.

That's why founder Damian Kimmelman and his team walked off with this year's award at the Techcrunch EU Geek N Rolla's and why technology and business reporters that are in the know are signing on to help in the next steps of the company: making Duedil the #1 place for business intelligence on the web.

If you are a data hungry journalist, covering business in this always-on world, where services like Duedil can now present a wealth of information that previously would have eaten away hours of your life in research, then Duedil wants to hear from you.

Drop a line to for access, and to be a part of a feedback program beautifully outlined here by GigaOm's Bobbie Johnson.

Search Sure is Topical Lately


Most of us in the working world can get through a day, week...even a month without thinking about the black alchemy that goes on behind Google's search results.

But recently, a fair amount of ink and commentary has brought the web's best kept secret into mainstream tech news circles.

It began last Monday with an announcement from an American media company searching for relevancy in our new digital age. When AOL made their acquisition of the left-wing news and commentary site The Huffington Post, some cheered...and most leered secretly.

The long term future of the famously independent, longtime Wilco fansite, has since been regular trolling fodder. What will happen now that there are corporate paymasters – will the liberal left of America decide that they’d rather source their opinions from somewhere that they can pretend isn’t run by The Man?

At MaintainPR, we believe this story is best left framed and discussed in the context of the Microsoft-Nokia conjunction, but we would like to briefly touch on the HuffPo's search engine ramifications and specifically how the site made it work so well for them and their journalists.

There seems to be a consensus that the Huffington Post has had a policy of supporting their ‘proper’ journalism – their political writing, essentially – with fluff posts about celebrities and music and so forth. We tend to disagree with this interpretation. It seems to suppose that, for starters, people aren’t interested in reading about politics on the net and secondly, that people who do, don’t care about popular culture.

In addition to this analysis, there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what ‘search engine optimization’ of content actually is, that somehow, a focus on visibility is at odds with investigation, breaking news, and so forth. This, frankly, is the poor writer’s defence. The reason that the Huffington Post has been successful, in blunt terms, is because it delivers what their audience wants – opinions they can echo in a bar to sound educated, be it on mildly provocative center left politics or pop bands your older brother likes.

And this, ultimately, is the lesson of ‘optimizing’ the content of your web site for search visibility – there are a variety of techniques that can be layered on top of any given piece, in terms of architecture, linkage, titling and so on and so forth – but the success of any venture is predicated on delivering something that your audience finds useful. If you’re good at what you do, you will attract links, you will attract social and search visibility, and you will attract visitors, and you will have a long term, sustainable business plan.

So, respect to AOL to recognizing a property that could drag them back to relevancy, and respect to Arianna Huffington for making the leap into the mainstream. As much as we are not ever that interested in what the HuffPo has to say, or Wilco for that matter, we do think it’s a very interesting venture, and wish them every success.

The opposite side of going about search -- and equally if not more blogged about coverage-wise -- came just days ago when the New York Times exposed what appears to be a major link purchasing scheme taking advantage of Google's PageRank architecture for better listing results effecting the U.S. retailer J.C. Penney. We should note we use the word "appears," because Penney's flat out denies any knowledge of the campaigns, and have fired their SEO firm.

This was a bomb shell of a piece by David Segal for The Times, because he had rare immediate and direct feedback from the team of antispammers at Google (which is headed by Matt Cutts) and it resulted in J.C. Penney's search listings being manually downgraded in results -- something everyone on the web could participate in watching happen in real-time, thanks to Segal highlighting keyword phrases in the piece.

Responses to both these news items by search watchdogs and players keep on coming. But if you'd like to get a more humorous view, albiet different from ours above, we recommend this Slate piece by Farhad Manjoo on the Huffington Post acquisition. If you want a fuller understanding of the decisions and algorithms involved, Vanessa Fox at Search Engine Land has a detailed analysis of PenneyGate...and of course, if you just want unbridled criticism that serves as an industry call to arms, it's all Arrington on TechCrunch: Search Still Sucks.