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IoT Platforms Market SizeBI IntelligenceThis is a preview of a research report from BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about BI Intelligence, click here.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly as companies around the world connect thousands of devices every day. But behind those devices, there’s a sector worth hundreds of billions of dollars supporting the IoT. 

Platforms are the glue that holds the IoT together, allowing users to take full advantage of the disruptive potential of connected devices. These platforms allow the IoT to achieve its transformational potential, letting businesses manage devices, analyze data, and automate the workflow.

In a new report, BI Intelligence examines the evolving IoT platform ecosystem. We size the market and identify the primary growth drivers that will power the IoT platform space in the next five years. And we profile many of the top IoT platforms, discussing key trends in the platform industry like platform consolidation. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

The IoT platforms market is set to expand rapidly in the years to come, with current leading platforms expanding and others entering the space. We define the key categories into which IoT platforms fall: building block open platforms, closed high-end platforms, and product management platforms. We highlight the ways platforms can help companies reach the full five stage potential of the IoT.

In full, the report:

Explains the coming growth of the IoT platforms. Profiles a number of leading platforms. Highlights the central role platforms play in the IoT. Looks to the future of the IoT platforms market.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. >> Learn More Now Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
Original author: Peter Newman
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Nic Brisbourne Forward Partners founding partner Nic Brisbourne Forward Partners

British venture capital firm Forward Partners has raised £60 million from a sole investor — BlackRock — for its second fund. Forward Partners wants to invest in "applied" AI startups, which use artificial intelligence to solve a specific problem, like drug discovery. AI is tech's hottest investment area right now, with VCs ploughing $5 billion (£3.8 billion) into startups through 2016.

Early stage UK venture capital firm Forward Partners has raised £60 million from a single institutional investor, BlackRock, and plans to invest in one of the hottest areas in tech — artificial intelligence (AI).

The fund closed in March, but Forward Partners has never revealed the backer beyond saying there was a solo institutional investor.

Business Insider examined public filings on Companies House, which show BlackRock invested through a diversified growth fund.

Founder partner Nic Brisbourne, formerly a partner at DFJ Esprit, said the firm wants to invest its second fund in AI startups working on a viable product, which he describes as "applied AI".

He cited SwiftKey, as an example, a predictive keyboard for mobile which uses AI to work out what a person might type next. That was acquired by Microsoft for $250 million (£189 million) last year. Brisbourne believes applied AI startups could pop up across data-reliant industries such as healthcare, financial technology, travel, and pharmaceuticals.

The company has invested in three startups to date from the new fund. They comprise Empowered, which uses AI to process research and development tax claims, realtime messaging platform Ably, and events startup Epic which will have an AI element "down the road." Forward is in the process of investing in a further three startups, Brisbourne added.

Brisbourne plans to avoid startups like DeepMind, the AI firm acquired by Google for £400 million in 2014. That's because DeepMind, despite that impressive exit and achievements like beating the world's best Go player with an algorithm, isn't about to start generating substantial revenue.

deepmind alphago round two lee sedol go Google's DeepMind took on the world's number one Go player — and won. Mustafa Suleyman/Twitter

"It's very difficult investing in businesses that are predicated on advancing research, at the early stages," Brisbourne told Business Insider. "At the early stages, there's a bunch of clever people [and] if you look at what progress they're likely to make in the 12- to 16 months after your investment, it's likely to be more research, a breakthrough in ideas, and maybe some kind of prototype.

"It's very difficult to evaluate whether they're making progress over the course of the year, and difficult to know whether next round of investors will put a lot of value on the work they've done."

Exits like DeepMind's are also rare for pure AI startups. Matt Wichrowski, currently head of funding at Entrepreneur First, noted in a 2015 blog post that pureplay artificial intelligence startups tend to make poor VC investments because they exit too early.

CBInsights artificial intelligence AI funding CBInsights

Brisbourne wants to land around 50 deals over "the next few years". He has increasing competition: Venture capitalists invested $5 billion (£3.7 billion) in AI startups globally in 2016, up around 65% year on year, according to CBInsights.

Forward Partners' latest fund focus comes as Brisbourne's cofounder Martyn Holman leaves the business.

A spokesman for the firm confirmed Holman's departure and said: "After almost a year as a partner at Forward Partners, Martyn took a personal decision to transition from the business and channel his energy into pursuing other career avenues outside of VC."

Original author: Shona Ghosh
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Philippe de Chanville and Christian Raisson, cofounders of ManoMano Philippe de Chanville, left, and Christian Raisson, the cofounders of ManoMano. ManoMano

An online DIY marketplace has raised €60 million (£54.6 million) to fuel expansion across Europe, with Britain one of the top markets in its sights.

Paris-headquartered ManoMano raised the "Series C" funding from growth equity investor General Atlantic, as well as existing investors Piton Capital, Partech Ventures, and Bpifrance.

Founded in 2013, ManoMano is an online DIY marketplace that connects people directly to home improvement and gardening merchants. The business has 1.9 million customers across Europe and has 1.2 million products listed on its platform. It sells everything from sheds to cleaning tools.

The company operates in six countries across Europe including the UK, where it launched 18 months ago. It has racked up sales of £9 million in Britain since launching here.

The latest funding injection will be spent on a marketing blitz across all markets, as well as increasing the product range, and hiring more business development staff in the UK and Germany.

Christian Raisson, cofounder of ManoMano, said in a statement: "In the UK, we will be focusing on a number of key issues, notably: implementing new logistics and delivery services for consumers and sellers, facilitating cross-border trading and European expansion for partners, as well as redesigning the website to allow for easier navigation, a simplified purchase funnel and more efficient pre-sales advice."

ManoMano's war chest and UK ambitions will likely worry B&Q, the iconic British DIY chain. Parent company Kingfisher's share price has tumbled over the last year amid a slowdown in sales. The retailer is currently part way through an ambitious restructuring plan aimed at combating the decline but has so far struggled to find success.

Chris Caulkin, an investor at General Atlantic, said ManoMano has an opportunity to capitalise on the relatively low take up of online sales in DIY and gardening.

He said in a statement: "We believe the DIY and gardening category today has low online penetration despite the advantages over traditional retail, including a wider product offering and the ability to search and filter products and drill into technical information."

Original author: Oscar Williams-Grut
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Original author: Oscar Williams-Grut
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YouTube's biggest star, Felix "PewDiePie" Kjellberg, used a racial epithet on Sunday in an expletive-laden outburst during one of his popular livestreams.

The Swedish web personality was broadcasting himself playing the survival game "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" when he used a derogatory word for African-Americans.

"What a f-----g n-----!" Kjellberg said. "Jeez! Oh my god! What the f---? Sorry, but what the f---?"

Here's a clip of the moment:

Kjellberg was streaming the game on his YouTube channel, which has more than 57 million subscribers and is the platform's most popular by far. The livestream was being viewed by more than 30,000 people when he used the racial slur.

After Kjellberg uttered the slur, he said, "I don't mean that in a bad way," before trailing off and laughing again.

Though Kjellberg usually leaves his livestreams up as archived sessions after they're over, this one — titled "CALIFORNIA ROLL" — isn't available.

This isn't the first time Kjellberg has used stirred controversy. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal published a story detailing several instances of Kjellberg using anti-Semitic imagery and phrases in his videos.

Pewdiepie A screenshot from a video by Felix Kjellberg, also known as PewDiePie. YouTube

As a result of that report, a deal with Disney and a produced YouTube show starring Kjellberg were canceled.

And already on Sunday evening, at least one prominent video game developer said his company's games won't be allowed for use in future PewDiePie videos.

We're filing a DMCA takedown of PewDiePie's Firewatch content and any future Campo Santo games.

"I am sick of this child getting more and more chances to make money off of what we make," Sean Vanaman, co-founder of the game studio Campo Santo and co-director of the popular game "Firewatch," wrote on Twitter. "He's worse than a closeted racist: he's a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry." 

Kjellberg's stream of "Firewatch," which Vanaman said had around 5.7 million views, has seemingly already been taken down.

"We're complicit," Vanaman wrote. "I'm sure we've made money off of the 5.7M views that video has and that's something for us to think about."

It's unclear how YouTube will respond, if at all. A request for comment was not immediately returned on Sunday.

Original author: Ben Gilbert
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