Russia: Neural network food app Borsch launches; Mail.ru invests in IT education;GetIntent plans int expansion

Russia startup Borsch,a new neural-network based food app, has launched in nine US cities, Mail.Ru Group has invested in GeekBrains and GetIntent is planning for its international expansion in these areas.

Neural network-based food app’s launches internationally

Borsch, a neural network-based food discovery app, has premiered its international launch in nine US cities, Germany and Russia.

Developed by Ashot Gabrelyanov, who claims Borsch is the very first food discovery app to use neural networks, Borsch was launched over the past weeks in nine US cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Houston and Phoenix and Germany and Russia.

The app has already been downloaded over 1,500 times in a week after the launch and without any marketing efforts. It is also claims a 30 percent retention rate. “Our short-term goal is to reach 100,000 active users in the biggest US cities, to expand to more European cities, and to start generating earnings on ads,” said Gabrelyanov.

Using publicly available, user-generated food images including geotagged social media posts and review websites, Borsch allows users to virtually pick their next meal by scrolling through a grid of locally-sourced images which an underlying neural network has identified as appealing.

Upon selection, users then receive information from nearby places seeing food that resembles the selected image. The app’s neural network can also distinguish “appetising meals from unappealing ones.”

According to Borsch, the machine learning process has been going on for six months and there are still refinements to be made like showing real-time data such as the number of calories and food indexes for each meal.

“We are working on improving the quality of food image recognition; for example, the neural network is now learning how to differentiate dishes of sophisticated cuisine of Asia and India,” Borsch added.

The startup also aims to generate revenue from delivery fees and from additional features available to users like a calorie calculator. Gabrelyanov has previously invested over $150,000 of his own money in the company, which is run by a team of eight developers distributed across Brooklyn and Moscow.

Mail.Ru acquires controlling stake in GeekBrains

Major Russian Internet company Mail.Ru Group announced that is has acquired a controlling interest in GeekBrains, the Russian-Language online learning platform for developers.

GeekBrains, which has over 7,000 graduated students, will see their founders retain their stake and will continue running the platform.

Alexander Nikitin, GeekBrains cofounder said, “We have many plans for our collaboration. We’ll be continuously enhancing depth and quality of online learning. We’ll expand the range of courses to include new segments. We will experiment with learning formats and methods, to let our students achieve outstanding results.”

Yandex, a Russian multinational technology company also announced the “Yandex Lyceum,” an educational project intended for schoolchildren. It’s curriculum will include both theory and practical tasks to allow graduates to acquire basic programming skills.

Russian ad tech company GetIntent, plans international expansion

International programmatic technology solution provider GetIntent, is planning its launch into Ukraine where it will offer its services through local partner Programmatic Media.

GetIntent aims to provide transparent and convenient access to RTB infrastructure and has developed proprietary technologies powered by machine-learning algorithms. This comes at a time when emerging markets such as Ukraine and other Central & Easter European (CEE) economies are seeing significant mobile proliferation.

Interxion, a provider of carrier and cloud-neutral colocation data centre services in Europe, which claims to support over 1500 customers through 42 data centres across 11 countries, noted in 2015: “…adtech companies typically have a data centre presence in one European, one or two Asian, and two or three U.S. locations.”

Interxion argues that  adtech providers will eventually “look to positon themselves in gateway markets to capitalise on the emerging nations’ revenue opportunities, whilst maintaining the coverage and performance of where the majority of the revenue is today, without having to put infrastructure in multiple cities.”

With financial trading hubs cited as an example for advertising technology companies seeking to build out and expand on an international basis and the future of adtech growth being located in emerging markets, the plans for international expansion are a natural progression for the venture.

Also Read:

Russia Dealbook: SmartCAT raises $2.8m from RedSeed; Softline secures $40m

Russia Dealbook: InVenture launches 2nd fund; Target Global eyes food space

Russia: Rostec sells 49% stake in JVs to Mongolian partner in $500m deal

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.