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tv   Bloomberg Technology  Bloomberg  May 11, 2017 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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>> i am alisa parenti from washington. president trump said it was his decision to fire james comey, the fbi director. john said he was going to do it, regardless of the recommendation from the justice department. president trump: i was going to fire comey, my decision. there is no good time to do it, by the way. >> the president also said comey told him on three different invest -- occasions, he was not under investigation. the window has closed for
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republicans to rescind a lot issued by the obama administration. gop leaders were able to roll back 14 regulations, failing just once. the u.s. oil industry recovery is facing -- threatening cuts to end the worldwide glut. crude prices ahead a five-month low last week. while fighting raises on in syria, russia is urging the u.s. to accept the iranian role in a plan. and iran needs. to show a compromise and flexibility. global news 24 hours a day, powered by more than 2600 journalists and analysts in more than 120 countries. from washington, i am alisa parenti. this is bloomberg. ♪
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emily: this is "bloomberg technology." i am emily chang. all this week, bloomberg television and radio are on the ground in boston, showcasing tech giants and startups, plus breakthrough technologies in biotech and robotics. we are speaking with innovators, venture capitalists, educators across the city. caroline hyde joins us live from ge interim headquarters in boston. what have you got on tap today? caroline: so much, emily. i have had such an awesome week so far, spending time at your old haunt, harvard university, yesterday, and the museum of science, the day before. today, ge kind enough to host us in their interim headquarters. ge announced its relocation from connecticut to boston in january last year, bringing hundreds of jobs to the local area and receiving $145 million worth of incentives and tax breaks from the state of massachusetts and the city of boston. just on monday, ge broke ground on their new headquarters less than half a mile away from where we are right now.
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here is ceo jeff immelt at the event. jeff: i think boston should look to the future with great promise and optimism. i really believe that this town is going to be one of the most important cities in the world, and that ge can be part of that renaissance, whether it is in technology or manufacturing. caroline: for more on ge's grand plan for the city of boston, we are joined by the chief financial officer, jeff bornstein. thank you for having us. jeff b.: thank you for coming. caroline: this is where the digital team will be sitting. still a bit of work under construction. speak to us about what boston means for your digital transformation in the business. jeff b.: i think that boston is very unique. you start with a place where there is more r&d and research spent per capita than any other place in the world.
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you start with a place where boston is just a bed of ideas and a sea of ideas, meaning there is such an entrepreneurial spirit, so many startups and such a deep technology culture here, that it is absolutely the right place to start making the transformation, no question about it. listen, there is no other place on earth where you have 500,000 of the smartest kids in the world going to school and graduating every year in the metro boston area. boston is unique in that regard and we are thrilled to be part of this ecosystem. caroline: your conglomerate among so many areas -- power, aviation -- where do you think you will make the most obvious indent in terms of the digital transformation of your business? jeff b.: we think it plays horizontally across all of our verticals. in health care there is an enormous amount you can do with ai, machine learning, and how we think about clinical outcomes among images. the oil and gas business is plowing full steam ahead in improving
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productivity and efficiency of wells, trying to get the break-even price for a barrel of oil or gas down for our customers to make products more competitive. i don't think there is a business in the ge portfolio that is not going to benefit dramatically from the digital transformation. at the end of the day, we are trying to make our products through analytics and data perform better for customers to create better outcomes for our customers economically. we think there is an enormous amount of productivity in machines or systems of machines. caroline: we have seen you make quite a bit of acquisition activity, particularly in the area of robotics and 3-d printing. they have been targeted largely at european companies, but what about acquisition opportunities in boston and the east coast area and building that part of the business? jeff b.: so there is no question in our mind that added manufacturing is an enormous opportunity for the company and the world. it will be every bit as revolutionary as what happened
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in the digital transformation and the industrial. we absolutely believe that. we bought two big laser printing companies in europe last year. but we didn't start there. we started with an acquisition of a company called morris technologies in the u.s. about five years ago, and that got us going. we have been investing in doing an enormous amount of research in 3-d printing over that time. we did not just start with these acquisitions. these acquisitions give us new modalities and allow you to make parts differently and different kinds of parts. we will continue to invest and leverage that. it is going to completely remake how people think about designing products or parts or a finished product, and how they build it. the great thing about additive, it is a constructive process, not destructive. you only use the material you need to make the product and you can make it in a fidelity that you can never do with today's machine technology.
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the greatest machines in the world won't let you make things as intricately as 3-d printing. it opens up a design space that really never ever existed. caroline: you say you didn't start with those acquisitions. did you finish with them? are there more to come? jeff b.: we always reevaluate how we put this puzzle together and whether there are opportunities to move the ball down the field and accelerate. we are wide open. boston fits that, too. we have partnerships with mass robotics, a deep relationship with m.i.t. labs, northeastern's labs, a lot of 3-d printing research going on, both in metals and fibers. there is a real ecosystem to move the whole practice forward. caroline: you are talking about investment and money spending. i know you are a man who has got to look at cost-cutting at the same time. how do you square that circle? you have been asked to take $2 billion out of the operation. jeff b.: this is about the future.
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we have to continue to invest in the future. this is for the company has gone the next decade, two decades. in the long run, these are the kinds of investments we have to make. at the same time, we will run our own company currently as efficiently as possible. we can walk and chew gum. one does not have to be at the expense of the other. i think running the company more efficiently today gives us the opportunity to invest in these technologies that will be the future of the company the next 10 or 20 years. caroline: as you make these big commitments, big investments, it is a time of political change. how do you feel the political environment fits in with this? there are worries about immigration from the leading institutions, worries about the funding going into biotech, the lifeblood of boston. what do you think of the trump administration in that respect? jeff b.: well, i don't have specific comments around the trump administration. from a ge perspective, we are a global company, we serve global
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customers and a global workforce, and that is the company we are and the company we are going to run. fortunately, our supply chain, manufacturing and technology capability, looks like the places and the customers we serve. that is how we have to run the company. we are a global company and we will remain a global company. anything we do policy-wise that makes the u.s. more attractive for investment -- caroline: taxes? jeff b.: taxes - and improves the competitiveness of the u.s., is great for ge and other companies. more than 50% of what we do and sell, we do outside the u.s. and we have to be able to play broadly globally. caroline: and consider the digital transformation globally as well. great having you here. thank you for hosting us for the day. jeff bornstein, cfo of general electric, or ge, of course, how they want to be known. now, a story we are watching for you. shares of snap tumbled more than
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20% in the thursday trading session. investors sold the stock on disappointing first-quarter results and slowing user growth. but there are 13 buys and 17 hold ratings. a few sells out there, too. with an average price target of $21 a share, they could ounce back. an rbc analyst says that snap is already larger than twitter in terms of daily active users and is more innovative. coming up, we will go under the hood of startup nutonomy, and how it is beating heavyweights like uber and lyft. if you like bloomberg news, check us out on the radio. listen on the bloomberg radio app,, and in the u.s. on sirius xm. this is bloomberg. ♪ caroline: welcome back to this
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special edition of "bloomberg technology," live from ge interim headquarters in boston. this area was designated as the city's innovation district back in 2010, part of an initiative to develop 1000 acres of land to lure companies and create new jobs. the seaport is now home to a number of tech startups, including autonomous vehicle startup nutonomy. the company has launched a fleet of autonomous taxis in singapore and have started to test on the mean streets of boston. we got an inside look at their boston headquarters and checked out what they are cooking up. take a look. self-driving technology is taking automakers and tech giants by storm globally.
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and boston isn't sitting this one out. nutonomy, a self-driving car startup, began testing here in january. the vp of partnerships previously worked at cambridge-based zipcar. >> every major city is grappling with the largest urban migration in history, and trying to figure out how we accommodate the growing urban population without having to expand our infrastructure at the same pace, which just isn't possible. that is where autonomous vehicles can be part of the solution. caroline: last august in singapore, nutonomy teamed out -- teamed up with southeast asia's largest ride hailing service, grab, for the first public trial of autonomous driving taxis, beating uber to the punch. >> grab is a known consumer is a software
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brand. by partnering with grab, we could reach a broader cross-section of the public. caroline: headquartered in singapore and massachusetts, the m.i.t. spinoff was founded in 2013. the company recently moved its u.s. offices from cambridge to within the designated testing zone in boston, now home to its employees and cars. >> having the garage on site and being in the testing area allows developers to see in real time the area they are coding and building the technology platform for. caroline: as for residents in boston hailing self-driving taxis -- >> it will take us some time to get there and we are mapping the area and working with the city to roll that out. caroline: the startup is backed by the singapore government and the ford motor chairman. it has raised $20 million so far and is in talks for a new round of funding, as nutonomy works toward a full commercial launch in 2018.
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now we are joined by the nutonomy ceo, karl iagnemma. wonderful to have you with us. how is the pilot going in boston and in singapore? karl: in boston we just started driving here a month and a half ago and we are adapting autonomous driving to the streets of boston. boston is different than singapore. in singapore people obey the rules of the road -- caroline: no jaywalking. karl: no jaywalking. in boston people are more creative on the road and we have to karl: no jaywalking. adapt our software to drive more like a bostonian. caroline: i want to understand where you fit into the ecosystem of self-driving cars. you are partnering with auto manufacturers and you are not making the cars. is this about sending technology to the carmakers? how are you working or competing? karl: there is a lot of companies out there that can build cars, and today there is very few companies that can build the software to power the self-driving car. we are a software company.
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we believe that building the software is the most capital-efficient way to create value in this space. we are partnering with carmakers and will integrate our software with their cars and put the cars on the road in a ride-hailing network. you will be able to call one of our cars, it will pick you up and drop you off, just like a human-piloted taxi service. the difference is there will be , no one behind the wheel, and as a result, the cost of the service will be substantially lower than today's taxi services. caroline: so the revenue from the car trips will go to you, be divided? have you decided how it will work? karl: there will be revenue share their, but the fundamental difference is we are not selling , cars in the traditional automotive paradigm. we will be selling kilometers. there were 10 trillion miles driven regionally last year. we want to sell a significant fraction at a reasonable price per mile. caroline: and the data? who owns the data? karl: that is a great question. the data itself is a very valuable resource. we are collecting more data about the boston cityscape at a level of precision that has never been collected before.
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some of these questions are unanswered. but there's a ton of potential for monetization of the data stream itself. caroline: the car companies own the data along with you? bill ford, having spoken to him a couple years ago, is worried about if they do not own the data, the likes of google and apple will eat them up. karl: all good questions, open questions. those are negotiations to be had. but clearly, people are staking out their territory. everybody is trying to get as high in the value chain as they can and we are no different. caroline: talk to us about your talent pool. you were a director at m.i.t. and founded out of mit with an alliance with singapore. how much of your team is from those academic institutions? karl: we have about one third of our company in boston, two thirds in singapore. we love being in boston. you have m.i.t., harvard, boston university. some of the best universities in the world. relatively speaking, little competition in the automotive driving space.
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we have a great line on these extremely talented individuals, and the currency in this space is finding the very talented people. it is a battle to recruit and land these folks, and the reason is that the difference between winning and losing in this space solely comes down to the quality of your team. we have 100 of the most talented autonomous vehicle engineers in the world, and that is what sets us apart. caroline: it comes down to your team and it might also come down to your funding. are you close to closing your funding round at the moment? how easy or tough has it been? karl: there is enormous interest in autonomous vehicles in general and what we are doing in particular. access to capital is not what keeps me up at night. i worry about getting the technology right and if we can get that right, everything will take care of itself. caroline: the money is coming in soon? karl: it may be. we are working on it. we are always working on it. caroline: glad you are. one piece of advice to the
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entrepreneur is looking to set up in boston -- is this the place to be or do you need to be multinational? karl: here in boston you have access to talent and capital. those two ingredients are the lifeblood of any startup. great place to be. caroline: great having you with us as well. great week, great day. nutonomy ceo -- that was karl iagnemma joining us there. coming up, we continue to go behind the scenes of big tech firm operations in boston. up next, we are visiting microsoft's cambridge labs. this is bloomberg. ♪ caroline: welcome back to a
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special edition of "bloomberg technology" from boston. all this week we have been going behind closed doors, checking out operations of tech giants like facebook and ibm. we visited the new microsoft lab in cambridge. the same week the company holds
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its annual build developer conference. let's see how they fit into the bigger picture at the company. it is microsoft's biggest event. now in its seventh year, microsoft build is an annual conference designed for developers, and earlier this week, there were 5000 who descended over seattle to dream up the future of pc's, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, and ai innovation. >> here are 10 japanese restaurants in seattle. caroline: microsoft's siri-like digital assistant, announced at build three years ago. >> ai is everywhere. caroline: ceo satya nadella took the stage to announce his vision of ai available to everyone, powered by the cloud. furthering that commitment is this microsoft new england lab, at the forefront of machine learning research, connected to health care,
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social media, economics, and more. i traveled over 3000 miles from san francisco to cambridge to visit the lab and sit down with the managing director of microsoft research new england. >> what we're doing is we have deep collaborations between people in ai and, for example, economics and biomedical. caroline: this new england lab is part of a microsoft research community of more than 1000 scientists and engineers across 11 different research labs. >> when i wrote up the pitch for bill and steve 10 years ago, it was precisely the expertise that was here. >> use either concentration and equality -- >> this is aimed at bringing together computer science with the social sciences and the biomedical sciences. there are 50 universities within about a mile of us. it was the ability to work closely with these universities.
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i don't think there was a researcher in our lab who hasn't had a deep and impactful collaboration with the local expertise. >> it is also not going to be as good as the dystopian -- caroline: for more on the exciting projects happening here, i walked around with the principal researcher at the lab. >> what we are trying to do is take a bunch of the things that economists do in their day-to-day -- pricing, forecasting, things like that -- and we want to automate those things and supercharge them with big data. >> you really need ai and machine learning to make the best use of the data, and to increase the number of users and have those users be more satisfied. depending on what you do, you could name almost any field for me, and i could tell you how ai is going to really help that field to
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serve its customers better. caroline: now, a story we are watching for you. verizon is the winner in a bidding war with at&t for airwave licenses. it has agreed to buy a company for $3.5 million in stock. straight path is one of the largest holders of spectrum approved for 5g use. both verizon and at&t have hopes to build the leading 5g network that would relieve congestion on all the networks and help to win customers looking for a lightning-fast internet connection. coming up, ge ventures has dozens of companies in its portfolio covering health care, software, and the enterprise business. we will hear from the person running it all, ge ventures ceo sue spiegel. and "bloomberg technology" is live-streaming on twitter, weekdays at 5:00 p.m. in new york and boston, 2:00 p.m. in san francisco. this is bloomberg. ♪ >> it is 11:29 a.m. in hong kong
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. the u.s. has a reached an agreement with china to provide access to natural gas as part of improver effort to trade relationships. it covers 10 areas, including agricultural trade and market access for financial services. commitments china has already made. for airlines are preparing a widening of the ban of laptops and other large electronic devices on planes bound for american airports.
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they are meeting with homeland security to discuss the decision. although it is not clear if there will be an immediate announcement. the march band hit flights originating from eight countries in the middle east. the family company of president no one son-in-law says tied to him will be at a presentation with chinese investors this weekend. they withdrew from the event in shenzhen after jared kushner's sister made a pitch last weekend. she told potential investors that buying and could help them win residency visas. the bank of england is taking it for granted the u.k. will negotiate in orchid -- an orderly brexit. they may have to raise rates sooner than expected. forecastsso based on about a smooth adjustment with the european union. traders question the likelihood of such a nap -- outlook. have assumed at the
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european union would be a smooth one. what does that mean? there will be an agreement about future trading relations, and there will be a transition for an implementation period from the negotiation to the new agreement. global news 24 hours a day, powered by more than 2600 journalists and analysts in more than 120 countries. this is bloomberg. >> checking the markets this friday in asia. this rally has dissipated after we saw that weak link from wall street. asx 200 down 1%. weakness from the emerging markets. philippines down over 1%. china is stronger, it is not had a good week but it is up half of 1%.
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interestingly, chinese stocks are headed for a fifth week of declines. you see that reflected in this chart. is theenchmark index most oversold since 2013. unlike 2015, it does not seem investors care that much. that is a state of asian markets this friday. ♪ caroline: this is "bloomberg technology." i am caroline hyde in boston. we have been visiting different locations in the city to showcase the power of the regional tech economy. we are currently at ge's interim headquarters in boston. in the last hour, we took a closer look at the investment climate in the city with ge's cfo jeff bornstein. now we are going to turn to the conglomerate's venture capital strategy. the company has invested in dozens of companies based in boston and throughout the globe like desktop metal and catalant. we are joined by sue siegel, ceo of ge ventures.
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let's talk about boston, sue. where are you finding the innovation? what companies have you put money to work on? sue: i am delighted to be here. ge ventures is investing in a number of different spaces. we invest across our horizon as it relates to what ge is involved in. we are investing in health care, energy, advanced manufacturing, and we are also investing in software. some of the companies we are excited to invest in, desktop metal you heard earlier from jeff bornstein about how big of an -- a bet ge is making in this transformative technology. we have invested in a boston-based company. we are excited about the way it is democritizing and transforming the way manufacturing is being done, and it's around a metal 3-d printing technology.
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that is just one of them. catalant is a company -- so many different business models have emerged, and catalant has taken the business model of marketplaces and essentially set it out there to find talent for what you might be looking for. it matches talent external, in the external ecosystems, and to the internal needs of the company. but it also matches your internal talent to what you might need on specific projects. they are a company right next door to our temporary headquarters. caroline: they went through a rebrand, and it seems to be working. i want to know what the strategy is. you said many times you have lined them up where ge is focused, manufacturing, for example. is this a potential m&a play, or is this seeing where the industries are going you are working within? sue: it's both.
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what we try to do is make sure we stay at the absolute forefront of what is happening. where are the unknown places that ge should be sure to keep their eyes on to make sure that we are absolutely understanding how those ecosystems are evolving? we are really involved in the future, the cutting-edge, and explaining what the technology -- exploring what those technology convergences might bring to the equation. we tried very hard, and it's not just for acquisition. a lot of corporate venture capital arms will tell you that is what they are trying to do. we do it for strategic reasons that involve both learning and allow us to participate in the ecosystem, to understand where that landscape is going, to understand what customers are liking and adapting to. this strategy of being able to invest and create new businesses is something we are excited about. caroline: it's not cheap, sue. we have seen some heady
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valuations. how are you finding the competition? sue: we are seeing valuations come down. i think you are going to hear that across the board with a number of venture capitalists. what i will say is the following. you can't depend on differentiating yourself as a financial investor. everyone has capital. what we have to think about is, what else can we bring to the equation that helps the startup and be differentiated in terms of helping them grow? we think about the scale ge brings to the party, the leadership development ge is well known for, and being able to offer that out to our entrepreneurial partners and the ceos and cfos of entrepreneurial companies we have. we also think about, what
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codevelopment activities might we be able to do with our startups? what might we be able to do in terms of distributing their products? we must differentiate ourselves not only because we have capital, but frankly because we can bring a really differentiated offering as it relates to the kinds of things we can help them grow. it is a win-win for both them and ge. caroline: and global opportunity for these startups, if they leverage your platform, jeff bornstein saying earlier, 50% of our revenue is from outside the u.s. we have to think like a global company. what do you think of the global landscape of startups and companies you are investing in? how does boston stack up against some of the other key hubs? sue: boston is undergoing a renaissance right now. it's a remarkable place to be investing in, and we are excited. of the 100 startups we had invested in, and ge ventures is pretty young giving ge's long history -- of those 100, we have about 10 investments in boston.
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part of what is incredible about boston is the whole package. you have universities that pump out talent in incredible ways, a top quality educational system. you have the entrepreneurial ecosystem that is pretty mature now. it is one that is really healthy and vibrant, and then you've got a very healthy venture capital ecosystem that understands the phases and stages of being able to invest and grow the companies, not to mention a very inviting and welcome government relationship in boston. it is really prime in terms of investing and differentiated from a number of areas. caroline: 1/10 of investments are in boston. what about silicon valley? how does that stack up? give us an idea of where the portfolio splits. is silicon valley still the big brother? sue: silicon valley is still the
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big brother. it's been there. that's not to say boston cannot get as big, and ge is certainly hoping to be right there in terms of catalyzing that, stimulating that, and partnering with the entrepreneurial ecosystem to do that. silicon valley has some secret sauce they have been able to master, and i think that everybody looks to silicon valley and what silicon valley has done and tried to mimic it all over the world. boston has been around for quite some time and knows how to do this, and now, with the kinds of things that people want to invest in, this trend of going from tech for consumer to tech for enterprise, where you are dealing with these hard problems, but using what we have learned in tech for consumer, meaning mobility and analytics and being able to apply that to hard problems, it's really quite heady stuff. it will be very important to the productivity of many different companies.
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for the competitive nature of corporate america, this is going to be very important. boston is committed to building up that type of capability. caroline: a fascinating conversation, sue siegal. great to get your expertise. a few tech stories we're watching outside the east coast. in europe, uber has suffered a setback in its fight against being regulated as a taxi service. an adviser to the european union has rejected the argument that uber is nothing more than an app. the opinion is nonbinding but gives an indication that uber might not be able to shake off national restrictions. coming up, gv's capital arm has been investing heavily in life sciences and preventative health care. we will take a look at their portfolio, including clover health, next. we're broadcasting on bloomberg radio at 1200 a.m. in boston. bloomberg is the official
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broadcast media partner of the boston pops fireworks spectacular on july 4. this is bloomberg. ♪ caroline: welcome back to this
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special edition of "bloomberg technology" in boston. one venture capital fund has been making a splash, and its gv, alphabet's venture capital arm. joining us now is the venture capital partner who invests in life sciences and health care companies, not to mention your own background. you are a physician, programmer, entrepreneur. there isn't much you haven't
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done. talk to us about the investment areas you are particularly excited about based in boston. >> thank you for having me. in boston, we are investing heavily in life sciences. it's across the spectrum of health care. therapeutics, even if there is a non-i.t. component, we will do diagnostics, med tech. there are a lot of i.t. opportunities. caroline: just today, we were talking about clover health. that seems to be a new investment. now it is a newly minted unicorn. what about clover health sets it apart from others? krishna: i go back to the people who started it. there are two special people behind clover health, vivek, the ceo of the company, and chris gayle. chris used to be a yammer. vivek is someone we have known through flat iron health,
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another one of our health care investments. it's rare to find a company that can marry the health care insights that come from somebody who has been in the industry, with where i.t. is going. and the two of those people together, we saw it as being a special opportunity. caroline: it's about founders and leadership. it's not about the idea, to some extent. is that what sets it apart? if i'm a boston-based entrepreneur looking to get money, i have to woo you with the force of my personality and experience i have. krishna: i think those two things go together. big ideas attracted great people. great people will only work on big ideas. so it's got to be both for us. but it's very rare that we find somebody really great is working on something that is not of the highest caliber. caroline: there are also political risks. we are looking at changes to the affordable health care act at the moment. how much do you have to look through these initial political instabilities? krishna: any sort of venture
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investment is getting involved in a company at the very beginning, and these stories always take several years to pan out. often beyond the scope of any given administration. we are always looking at the fundamental changes that are happening in a space. and that is what we are investing in. even four years ago, there were other changes happening. we have to look at the things that are going to be pervasive in any of these administrations, and that tends to be the thing we are investing in. caroline: at the moment, that is data meeting with health. krishna: absolutely, but also, we are paying a lot for health care. are we getting enough for it? what are the things we can do to increase the efficiency of understanding diseases and what is happening in our health care delivery system? understanding how we pay for things. these are fundamental questions that are going to transcend any of the immediate political or payer shifts we are seeing. caroline: you're talking about seven or 10-year bets.
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we were just talking about valuations, and ge ventures feels that valuations are coming down. do you think they are, and what about the exit areas? krishna: i think it depends on the different areas. we are very active as a venture fund, so we are still seeing a lot of very robust valuations in parts of the market. i would agree that there are parts where the froth is cooling off. caroline: which parts? krishna: i think some of the areas where we have seen some social media, things like that, where you have seen the stories play out. caroline: with snap q1 numbers being so poor, does that hurt the pipeline a bit? krishna: perhaps in tech. i think we have had the most robust tech ipo market in years, so i don't anticipate that slows down. in the life sciences arena, we are going to see more ipos.
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there is great science behind these companies. i think we are going to see a lot more great companies coming out. caroline: what about your global eye? you set here in boston looking at the massachusetts state, but how does it compare to what other hubs are producing when it comes to life sciences? krishna: outside the u.s.? caroline: yes. krishna: we have an office in london. we have two partners looking at a variety of companies. we have made several large investments in the european life sciences community. we are not seeing that many investors and that is partly what makes us excited about it. caroline: less competition is always a good thing. it's been great having you. thank you for joining us. it's been great to be in your home city for the time being. now a story we are following for you, softbank is leading a $502 million investment in
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improbable worlds, a u.k.-based company that creates virtual worlds for multi-player gaming. the investment comes as softbank finalizes a $100 billion vision fund with backing from apple and saudi arabia. according to bloomberg data, the improbable worlds deal ranks as the fifth-largest u.k. venture investment in the past decade. coming up, there's an arms race going on in the lucrative industry of warehouse robotics. we will go behind the scenes of one boston-based startup. this is bloomberg. ♪ caroline: welcome back to this
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special edition of "bloomberg technology." the disruptive force of e-commerce drove america's warehouse operators into the robot business. for decades, they were focused on shipping bulk products to
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retail locations. online orders required shippers to pack boxes for a diverse set of items and route them to customers homes. that shift has given way to collaborative robots in which a warehouse employee works alongside an autonomous machine. bloomberg visited six river systems to see how one robot is making that job easier. meet chuck, an autonomous warehouse robot who helps employees fulfill online orders. chuck guides workers down aisles and features a screen that shows where items are located, how many to pick, and where to go to complete the next task. >> at this point, chuck is stopped at the location i am looking for. >> he is the cofounder of six river systems, a waltham, massachusetts-based startup. >> the chuck is named after the charles river.
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we are a boston-based company, very proud of our origins and roots. caroline: this is all part of a fulfillment solution for e-commerce, traditional retail, and third-party logistics companies. >> we designed this as a collaborative robotics solution to be able to drop in and be used in any warehouse environment. >> it is more economic than people alone. the same person can do two to times as three many orders per day. caroline: it breaks down to about $30,000 per robot. it's not just hardware. it's a cloud-based platform that also tracks data. >> it took me 18.2 seconds to pick that item, 10 seconds of walking. caroline: chuck, however, is not alone. when amazon bought keever systems in 2012, now known as amazon robotics, it ended the commercial sale of those robots that warehouses and retailers have come to rely on. the founders of six river solutions worked at kiva. >> the exit of kiva and amazon robotics from the commercial marketplace left a void for a number of companies. caroline: a void that set off an arms race.
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there is fetch, a company in san jose, california. and a growing number of massachusetts-based companies. >> it's a very significant market. e-commerce alone in this space is about $1 billion to $2 billion. we know there is a tremendous amount of my going into this market and a lot of money invested in automation. we are hopeful to get our percentage of that. caroline: six river systems has raised nearly $7 million in funding to date and plans to double its number of employees to 35 by the end of the year. as we wrap up day four of our coverage in boston, i want to head back to emily chang in san francisco. we got some insight on the investing climate in this area compared to silicon valley.
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silicon valley is still the big brother. but compared to the rest of the globe boston is stacking up. ,emily: it has been lovely to watch you this week. i've learned so much about what is going on outside the silicon valley bubble. i appreciate all the stories you have been bringing us. tell us what you have on tap for tomorrow. caroline: plenty, as ever. we can geek out entirely at mass robotics. it is one of the fastest-growing startups in the city. of course, i'm hoping we get to get our hands on some of those robots. we will also be speaking to the ceo of draft kings, jason robbins. both companies, based right here in boston. both companies we need to keep an eye on. emily: so much going on in boston. thank you for sharing the stories with us. we are looking ahead to that show tomorrow. that does it for this edition of "bloomberg technology." all episodes, streaming on twitter. check us out weekdays at 5:00 p.m. in new york, 2:00 p.m. in san francisco. that is all from san francisco and boston. this is bloomberg. ♪
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