No Limit Texas Hold 'Em has long been heralded as the last "skill game" where artificial intelligence (AI) has failed to conquer humans.Relative to other games, Poker is complicated by multiple players, imperfect information, and the ability to go "all-in” at any moment. As a result, poker is frequently cited as a top benchmark for advanced game theory and AI algorithms.
Recently, an AI-driven bot developed by Facebook and Carnegie Mellon (named Pluribus) achieved a significant milestone in AI research by beating 15 professional players in the upper echelon of game. Like the systems trained to play Go and StarCraft, Pluribusachieved greatness by training in matches versus itself – it started from scratch and gradually improved as it determined the optimal strategy.
The crazy thing is that Pluribus proved that it was exceptionally good at “bluffing” – normally a characteristic we associate only with humans. Moreover, it achieved its goal with just $150 worth of cloud computing power for its training!
So all this begs the question, how would our resident ranked poker player turned VC, Sean Lippel, fair against Pluribus?
Judging by his performance at the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event, let’s just say we are skeptical that these facial expressions will help versus the well-oiled machine that is Pluribus…
MoneyLion raises $160m Series C - Portfolio company MoneyLion goes beyond rebundling the bank to create an immersive, holistic digital offering for 90m working Americans. Credit scores going up, savings going up, life management improving. Congratulations to such a phenomenal team! Read more
New York City is at the forefront of real estate data - Over the past 10+ years, New York City has become the real estate data capital of the world, thanks in part to favorable open data legislation. Portfolio company Reonomy has been at the forefront of cultivating New York's data for commercial use, and is taking what it has learned in New York and is now applying its knowledge to other markets. Read more
Flutterwave participates in Visa roundtable - Portfolio company Flutterwave was one of four West Africa-based fintech companies that participated in a roundtable discussion hosted by Ryan Mclnerney, Visa's Global President, in Lagos, Nigeria. Participants discussed promoting growth in the industry and the digitization of economies across the continent. Read more
Most important cricket match of the year [on Shelter Island] - Hot on heels of England's emphatic win in the Cricket World Cup, Gareth talks to the Shelter Island Reporter about the 7th nail biting encounter between the Shelter Island Cricket Club and the “Rest of the World." The match starts around 10am on Saturday, July 27th. Proceeds from the fundraiser benefit the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation - more details can be found at www.sicricket.com Read more
Know When To Fold 'Em
Facebook and CMU’s ‘superhuman’ poker AI beats human pros -According to The Verge, "we're at a superhuman level for AI - and that's not going to change." Pluribus, the AI bot trained by Facebook to play poker, won an average of $5 per hand with hourly winnings of $1,000 versus the top human No-Limit Hold 'Em poker players. Read more
Atom Bank - UK based challenger bank has raised £50m from BBVA, Toscafund, Woodford Patient Capital Trust and funds advised by Perscitus, valuing the company at an estimated £530m. Read more
Aura - San Francisco based provider of a social bonds program, which enables banks and other financial institutions to invest in loans to low-income individuals, has raised $28.7m in residual debt financing from Angel Island Capital. Read more
Ethic - New York City based provider of RIA services and tech-driven asset management raised $13m in Series A funding led by Nyca Partners. Read more
Gusto - Denver based provider of payroll and HR benefits software for SMBs has raised $200m in Series D funding, co-led by Fidelity and Generation Investment Management. Read more
Hippo Insurance - Palo Alto based insurtech startup redefining home insurance has raised $100m in Series D funding, led by Bond. Read more
Homeward - Austin, Texas based financing platform for homebuyers has raised $4m in equity funding led by LiveOak Venture Partners and $21m in debt funding from Genesis Capital and Keystone Bank. Read more
Liquefy - Hong Kong based blockchain agnostic issuance platform for security tokens raised $2.6m in funding led by Ideanomics and NEO Global Development. Read more
PayMate - Mumbai based payment automation platform for enterprises has raised $25m in Series D funding, securing commitments from Recruit Strategic Partners, Visa, Brand Capital and return backer Mayfair 101. Read more
Robinhood - Menlo Park, CA based provider of free stock trading services raised $323m in Series E funding led by DST Global at a valuation of $7.6b. Read more
Secfi - San Francisco based provider of loans against employee shares in startups has raised $6m in Series A funding, led by Rucker Park Capital. Read more
VNPAY - Vietnamese based payments startup is in talks to raise around $300m from a group that includes SoftBank Vision Fund and GIC. Read more
Zeta - India based provider of a full stack neo-banking platform and enterprise payments solutions raised a Series C round from Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services (BRS), which valued the company at $300m. The amount of funding has not been announced, but is reported to be less than $60m. Read more
FinTech Collective Newsletter
Curated News with Context
Delivered every Saturday, the weekly newsletter, produced by our team, provides a tightly edited rundown of global fintech news, along with a bit of our original analysis.