Request for startups


I would love to see — and possibly invest in — more companies pursuing the following themes. I’m hoping that putting this out there publicly will increase my odds. My preference is to get involved at the inception stage, ideally as the company’s first investor. Here goes.

1. Audio university

How cool would it be if we could take audio-based courses from the world’s most pedagogically engaging professors, without looking at a screen? What if we could answer their questions with our voice? What if course software could understand our answers?

2. Scale AI for X

Unstructured data today hide in user-generated content, reviews, maps, satellite imagery, x-rays, voice recordings, support tickets, job applications, insurance claims, financial records, and legal documents. Enterprises that want to leverage ML but lack the internal willingness to label data themselves will look for a vendor. Domain-specialized vendors will label this domain-specialized data.[1]

3. Robots that text us

Until now, “robots” have underwhelmed in understanding what we’re saying or who we are. NLP models now appear to have reached a watershed moment (GPT-3, etc.). Crucially, the data needed to contextualize messages is easier to access thanks to e.g. Plaid for financial data or HealthKit for health data. In the future, I think we’ll want to text more with robots.[2]

[1] We just invested in Centaur Labs, a great example of this trend.

[2] What might we actually want to text with robots about? One example from our portfolio is turning out to be: tax write-offs.