01 Jan 2020
Quantum Computing Breakthrough

TechBits, Jan 01, 2020

1. Shipfix raises $4.5M seed for its dry cargo shipping platform

  • Shipfix, a relatively new startup aiming to drag the dry cargo shipping industry into the digital age, has raised $4.5 million in seed funding.
  • Leading the round is Idinvest Partners, with participation from Kima Ventures, The Family, Bpifrance and strategic business angels. The company was founded in December 2018 by Serge Alleyne (CEO) and Antoine Grisay (COO), and launched just two months ago.
  • “We’re trying to fix the email overload for everybody involved in the process of fixing a dry cargo ship by providing a comprehensive market monitor,” Alleyne tells TechCrunch.

2. India’s richest man is ready to take on Amazon and Walmart’s Flipkart

  • As Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart spend billions to make a dent in India’s retail market and reel from recent regulatory hurdles, the two companies have stumbled upon a new challenge: Mukesh Ambani, Asia’s richest man.
  • Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio, two subsidiaries of Ambani’s Reliance Industries, said they have soft-launched JioMart, their e-commerce venture that works closely with neighborhood stores, in parts of the state of Maharashtra — Navi Mumbai, Kalyan and Thane.
  • The e-commerce venture, which is being marketed as “Desh Ki Nayi Dukaan” (Hindi for new store of the country), currently offers a catalog of 50,000 grocery items and promises “free and express delivery.”

3. InsightFinder bags $2M to detect infrastructure issues early with AI

  • InsightFinder Inc. launched in 2015 with a grant from the National Science Foundation to create an artificial intelligence tool that can detect information technology infrastructure issues ahead of time. Today the Raleigh, North Carolina-based startup announced that it has raised a $2 million round of funding to bring its technology to the enterprise.
  • The investment was led by early-stage venture firm Idea Fund Partners with participation from Eight Roads Ventures and Acadia Woods Partners.
  • InsightFinder’s namesake product, which is set to become generally available in 2020, uses machine learning to identify IT issues before they snowball into a full-blown outage. It employs data analysis techniques developed by founder Helen Gu at North Carolina State University. Gu, a professor with the university’s computer science department, is a former IBM Corp. researcher and onetime Google LLC visiting scientist.

4. Quantum Computing Breakthrough: Silicon Qubits Interact at Long-Distance

  • Princeton scientists demonstrate that two silicon quantum bits can communicate across relatively long distances in a turning point for the technology.
  • Until now, this has been the situation for the bits of hardware that make up a silicon quantum computer, a type of quantum computer with the potential to be cheaper and more versatile than today’s versions.
  • Now a team based at Princeton University has overcome this limitation and demonstrated that two quantum-computing components, known as silicon “spin” qubits, can interact even when spaced relatively far apart on a computer chip. The study was published today (December 25, 2019) in the journal Nature.

5. Stretchable High-Efficiency Solar Cells for Wearable Electronics or Flexible Robot Skin

  • Combining silicon with a highly elastic polymer backing produces solar cells that have record-breaking stretchability and high efficiency.
    Crystalline silicon solar panels could be just as effective when incorporated into stretchy wearable electronics or flexible robot skin as they are when used as rigid rooftop panels. KAUST researchers have devised a way to turn rigid silicon into solar cells that can be stretched by a record-breaking 95 percent while retaining high solar energy capture efficiency of 19 percent.
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