Burgeoning AI: Investments in revolutionary technologies to avert risks in post-COVID-19 world?

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As the uncertainty due to COVID-19 pandemic grows, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are taking on a variety of tasks such as delivering medicines, essentials and sanitizing large areas & buildings. Although UAVs are a formidable innovation and their use in the modern world is immeasurable, they can still be harmful to society. Ever since drones were used to attack the major oil processing facilities at Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia in 2019, the world has been more watchful and aggressively deploying Anti-UAV systems which can help deter and avert such prospective threats.

To meet these increasing challenges, a French company Cerbair came into existence in 2015. Its state-of-the-art radiofrequency technology embedded in mobile or fixed anti-drone solutions can be used to secure sensitive sites and events against malicious drone use. Co-founded by Lucas Le Bell and Olivier Le Blainvaux, Cerbair has been awarded the first prize in the “Digital Cities” category at the EIT Digital Challenge- a company recognizing ‘deep tech’ scale-ups of the continent.

The start-up reportedly received a seed investment of around 1.5 million Euros from VCs, one of which came via Boundary Holding, a Luxembourg-based bridge fund that invests in global AI technology-driven startups. The investment terms between the two companies were finalized after Lucas Le Bell, CEO of Cerbair and Rajat Khare, the founder of Boundary Holding, met in the Paris office of Technofounders. With this investment, Boundary Holding aimed at facilitating automatic protection of vulnerable facilities, and critical infrastructure which includes monitoring of drones.

Apart from Cerbair, Boundary Holding, in the last two years, has also invested in startups like Singaporean facial recognition startup XRVision, AI-based drone solution provider Asteria Aerospace and among others.

Founded by two former Rockwell Collins and Boeing engineers Neel Mehta and Nihar Vartak, Bengaluru-based Asteria Aerospace develops drone-based solutions to provide actionable intelligence from aerial data. Via the Luxemburg private equity firm Boundary Holding, Rajat Khare finalized his investment in the tactical drone company to assist Asteria in providing specialized unmanned aerial platforms to the military, paramilitary and police forces, particularly the Border Security Force (BSF). The investment has significantly added to the Boundary Holding’s portfolio investments in various facets of drone technology. However, last year, Boundary Holding had successfully exited Asteria Aerospace after Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate RIL acquired about 51.7% of its stake.

In 2018, Boundary Holding invested in Singapore-based XRVision, a leading facial recognition and video analytics company. XR Vision was founded in 2015 by Guy Ron, an IT engineer who previously worked with Microsoft and Yaacov Apelbaum which secured funding from NUS and TNF Ventures, and currently reports clients in Singapore, Taiwan, Israel, and the U.S. This funding could help XR Vision expand into market and frame solutions to mitigate collective challenges faced by the public and private sector via real-time connect IoT intelligent solutions.

Amidst such essential investments, Rajat Khare founded Boundary Holding has also fostered the growth of investigative analytics solution- to build a global big data and crime analytics platform. In 2017, Luxembourg-based investment fund acquired Wynyard Advanced Crime Analytics Software from the New Zealand-based software firm, Wynyard (NZ) Limited. Headquartered in Newark, CA, Wynyard partners with major systems integrators and leading software companies. Through collaborating with Boundary Holding, Wynyard ACA aims to pioneer the domain of high-consequence analytics software and enhance it by expanding its AI-based critical Infrastructure operations.

It is due to such investments in AI-based disruptive ideas and innovations, we have witnessed unconventional ideas turn into a reality. Post COVID-19, the world would be more digital than ever, which may give rise to cybercrimes, security breach & illegal spying, thus organizations must be watchful and prepped up. Integrating AI-ML based solutions would strike interesting synergies with the organizations and is likely to dictate the post-COVID-19 world.

Last modified: June 3, 2020

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