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Re-Imagining Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Innovation Methods

Andrea Cinelli, CEO & Founder, Foolfarm

Re-Imagining Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain Innovation Methods

Andrea Cinelli pioneered change with a unique entrepreneurial vision, visionary acumen, and social commitment needed to thrive in today’s marketplace. He is the CEO & Founder, Foolfarm, European-based Venture Builder in the Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain founded in Milan, Italy in 2020. Andrea founded Foolfarm after he completed in 2020 a successful exit from his previous AI-based startup.  Andrea defines FoolFarm a “Corp-Up Studio” because, it’s at the same time a Startup Studio and a Corporate Venture Builder with an exclusive long industrial-like methodology and it’s aimed to improving people’s lives through the Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain innovation.  Andrea is celebrated as one of the emerging leaders in the global AI scenario, a successful digital entrepreneur, an executive manager @ top 500 companies, a venture investor, a keynote speaker , a book and disruptive patents  author (+5 patents filed in the Ai & blockchain). Excerpts from an interview with Andrea:

AI and Blockchain – Business Challenges

Andrea notes that we are amidst a technological revolution in which innovation and science offer opportunities never seen before. “Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are the pillars on which a new era of solutions and innovation is being founded. Two highly continuous and integrated and integrable technologies that in many cases together allow you to amplify each other.” There are already numerous examples of how the introduction of Artificial Intelligence together with the Blockchain in business processes has brought positive impacts, automating repetitive and low added value parts of the processes themselves, previously carried out by human beings. Conversely, the Blockchain is synonymous with traceability, transparency, and immutability; for these reasons, this technology is of great interest to companies of all sectors and sizes. The blockchain is configured as a technology to support business processes, making those in which this technology is implemented more efficient. Stressing on the need for a design approach to introduce AI into processes, Andrea notes, “If up to 10 years ago the barriers to the introduction of AI and Blockchain companies were linked to the lack of instrumentation, or inadequate analytical skills, the issue today is not technological, but mainly cultural and specific skills.”

Foolfarm – The Parallel Entrepreneurship Approach

Based out of Milan, Italy, Foolfarm is a vertical venture builder on Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain. As a startup factory, the firm creates startups in series, through a proprietary industrial process called BeFOOL and develop them with an industrial cycle by launching them in parallel as an assembly line. This includes a path for each one with 6 phases, from conception to exit, and 3 investment moments and which has a total duration of 36 months. Andrea adds that the firm create startups from scratch around their ideas or IPs, or by co-founding them with new entrepreneurs, or by co-founding or building them for major corporations around the world. “Our innovation is to have combined for the first time the Startup Studio model, a model that for example here in Europe has made the fortune of giants like Rocket Internet, with the Corporate Venture model, models that usually operate on the market separately but which in FoolFarm integrate synergistically allowing our startups to have quick access to potential corporate-exits and vice versa for corporates to have access to a startup deal flow created through a method that guarantees the maximum result in terms of success.”

The AI Journey

Noting that he founded his first company in 1980s and witnessed the birth of the Web in Silicon Valley in the early 1990s, actually, Andrea observes that the big leap in AI came from 2012 onwards when he founded his startup, Inventia, which has become one of the world leaders in biometric customer identity AI-powered digital recognition. “Today in FoolFarm, we launch startups with AI and Blockchain at the center and since the beginning of the year, we have already published over 4 patents around which we build our startups. A real revolution that will allow us one day to identify ourselves, pay everywhere and sign simply by speaking.” Today change is ever accelerating and exponentially increased by the day, according to this technology enthusiast. “The risks I see for companies in AI & Blockchain are primarily those of delaying their adoption to make themselves more efficient and create new business models.”

Leadership Traits

“Curiosity, commitment, vision and method – but above all, knowing how to dare by experimenting where it is often unknown without being afraid of making mistakes. My destiny has always been to invent new things: new products, new ideas, new business models, which have often become products or solutions used by millions of consumers, both in the companies where I have worked and in my startups.” A resilient professional, Andrea believes in never giving up. It always takes a pinch of ‘healthy madness’ inside, he chuckles.

A Word of Advice

“The challenge of the new startups in AI & Blockchain is to try to look beyond, especially to those frontier sectors but which will be decisive for our near future such as natural language understanding and processing, robot process automation, conversational and new human interfaces, Augmented and mixed reality, biometrics, security and Computer Vision.”

The Success Mantra

“Daring, daring, daring and never curbing curiosity without being afraid of making mistakes. My success has always been based on never being afraid of making mistakes and trying to see beyond and pursue my dreams with determination. What I recommend to everyone is not to be afraid of making mistakes to pursue your vision.”

Company: FoolFarm Spa


Management:  Andrea Cinelli, CEO & Founder

Founded Year: 2020

Headquarters: Milano, Lombardia

Description: FoolFarm is a startup factory that helps young companies grow.

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MemryX: a new Edge AI startup that has developed a highly efficient and scalable AI accelerator.

Keith Kressin, President & CEO, MemryX

MemryX: a new Edge AI startup that has developed a highly efficient and scalable AI accelerator.

As the CEO of MemryX, Inc., an innovative Edge AI startup founded by professors at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Keith Kressin has been a passionate entrepreneur. Prior to joining MemryX, Keith was a SVP at Qualcomm, leading a spate of activities including the Snapdragon roadmap, technologies for application processing, company strategy, competitive analysis, and more. In an interview, he speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:

Conception of MemryX

“Our team wanted to develop an AI accelerator that was customer friendly in terms of ease-of-use and scalability, while providing excellent technical metrics.” Adds Keith that the team wanted to develop a hardware accelerator that could be adapted to any trained AI software model, rather than needing to train and then modify the model to run well on target hardware. “So our focus from the start was on developing technology to meet a key customer need and hence MemryX was born.”

Challenges galore – AI technology

AI continues to grow in a variety of different applications and industries as it is used to make cities, companies, and hospitals smarter, help increasing manufacturing efficiencies, better support education inside and outside the classroom, and more.  “AI can add a layer of intelligence into any device that computes. Of course, every new technology is just a tool and those tools need to be used to increase to increase productivity and quality of life, rather than the limit freedoms or increase natural biases.” MemryX envisions accelerating Edge AI by providing a highly efficient and scalable solution that is simple to deploy and support.”

The key is the company’s innovative MemryX architecture.  “Our architecture was designed to natively support pre-trained AI models with high efficiency and utilization.  If one doesn’t consider model structures and framework, and only focuses on HW efficiency the result is theoretically strong, but practically weak.  MemryX architecture was designed not for white papers or theoretical achievements, but for broad customer scale and deployment.” The combination of at-memory computing, pure dataflow, and our unique memory-based fabric interconnect all support our ability to scale verified models into high volume with a very simple to use software SDK.

One trap for AI is focusing on the core technology itself, rather than the practical application of that technology throughout the entire value chain.  As in most industries, solving customer needs be in the forefront. AI is extremely complex with many facets.  It is also very exciting and dynamic field that attracts individuals with a wide variety of background and skills. The key is to stay focused on the larger picture while being extremely adaptable to market and technology changes.

Leadership traits

“It all starts with clear and transparent organization & communications.  People need to understand objectives, timelines, and be given the tools/resources to achieve well defined goals.  Teams need to be encouraged to be open and honest.”  Realistic, approachable, in-tune with all functions of the entire organization, humble, goal-centric, empowering, and one who honestly cares about the company, the team, and the individual. Keith’s leadership style is approachable with realistic expectations and stays in-tune with all functions of the entire organization. He honestly cares about the company, the team, and the individual.

“Fear in failing is usually rooted in the reaction to the failure in terms of embarrassment or punishment. However, if leaders encourage an intelligent risk-taking culture where we learn from our failures, then we grow to become a stronger organization. Further, failures from risk-taking can be minimized through proper hiring, organization, funding, and goal setting.”

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RAIN Defense + AI: Creating synergies between AI and defense sectors

Norine MacDonald KC, President & Founder, RAIN DEFENSE + AI

RAIN Defense + AI: Creating synergies between AI and defense sectors

Norine MacDonald is the President and Founder of RAIN Defense + AI, an exciting new global platform on AI and Defense. She was formerly President and Founder of The International Council on Security and Development (ICOS), an international security and development think tank founded in 2002. Ms MacDonald is a former Distinguished Research Fellow for National Defense University in Washington and a graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management program in Artificial Intelligence (AI). In an interview, she speaks on an array of topics. Excerpts:

Conception of RAIN Defense + AI

For Ms Norine MacDonald it is clear that the business of war is being overtaken by the advent of AI, and a competitive and fast-moving global environment. Western governments need to be competitive with other countries, primarily China, that have been investing heavily in the sector.

The AI + Defense sector offers significant investment opportunities, particularly for non-traditional business players. The global AI + Defense market is projected to grow to $61 billion by 2027.

“There is no specialized single company or platform for the AI + Defense sector to source comprehensive, intelligible and relevant knowledge/data and connect to all the players globally” said Ms Norine MacDonald.

RAIN Defense + AI is an exciting new venture working at the critical intersection of AI and Defense:

  • RAIN INDUSTRY provides access to expert knowledge and data analytics on current and emerging AI technologies on defense platforms for all market participants across sectors and geographies.
  • RAINCLOUD creates a global community content platform with a validated network of multidisciplinary professionals, with curated data and news and product info in AI and defense.

RAIN, the AI and defense solution: the RAINCLOUD global platform

To understand and unpack the complex world of AI and defense, RAIN  produces commercial INDUSTRY Reports which provide:

  • benchmarking  various defense sector platforms and AI, along with trends and forecasting.
  • complete information “Who’s Who” data on individuals working in the field of AI and defence.
  • a data and directory on Venture Capital players active in AI and defense. Norine says: “We have mapped the 500 most influential individuals in the US in our RAIN 500 and we have done an extensive report on the 40 main venture capital firms in the US and the 150 defense and dual-use startups they invest in.”

As a gateway to RAIN Research data and content platform RAINCLOUD will be launched in 2023.

“For RAIN, our access to government clients has been made much easier through our business connection as a data provider with Grist Mill Exchange, which functions as a data marketplace for government and national security enterprises. Through Grist Mill Exchange we will be able to provide our INDUSTRY reports to  government stakeholders and to onboard them to the RAINCLOUD global platform where they can connect with  AI startups, venture capitalists, defense companies and scientists working in the broad field of AI and defense.”

AI and Defence: a new Ethical Challenge

“AI solutions in defense are now more than ever driven by the commercial sector and dual-use technology. While onboarding such technology in the military world is revolutionary in terms of competitiveness, we cannot ignore the important ethical questions inherent in their adoption.”

AI enables unprecedented opportunities for more autonomy, and this changes the human-machine interaction. Therefore, we decided from the beginning that RAIN would also have an Ethics Division, which helps unpack the ethical and legal arguments involved and supports discussion and debate on these issues, she observed.

Leadership Traits

“The RAIN team has been working together for more than 20 years on international security and policy issues in Afghanistan, Latin America and the Middle East. To launch a new company requires both creativity and stamina. We are lucky to have a close-knit team that works well both independently and together.” Norine believes in having a hands-on approach to the work in the sense that she involves herself in the conception, research and implementation of projects, from field work in conflict zones contexts to testifying at the highest levels of government. “If you have a good business idea stick to it –  but at the same time be flexible and adapt as you go along. Hard work, high standards and discipline will never fail.”

AI, the Defense sector and start-ups

In the AI and defense sector, there are exciting new companies developing defense and dual-use technology. These start-ups benefit from new ways to work directly with the government to develop and test their prototypes. At the same time, there are new venture capital firms that focus especially on defense and national security-oriented startups.

“We want to bring all these actors together on our RAINCLOUD platform for mutual benefit. Companies will be able to showcase their latest products and services in our virtual trade show”, MacDonald said.

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PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH: Optimizing Industrial Business Processes with AI

Rudolf Felix, CEO, PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH

PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH: Optimizing Industrial Business Processes with AI

Rudolf Felix is the CEO of PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme GmbH, a German company that specializes in developing and providing software solutions for complex technical systems. Rudolf Felix has been with FLS in the PSI Group since 2008 and has been the CEO since already 1992. Under his leadership, the company has grown to become a leading provider of software solutions for technical systems, particularly in the fields of energy, industry, and transportation. Rudolf Felix has also been involved in various research and development projects related to fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence and has published numerous papers in these fields. In an interview, he speaks on an array of subjects. Excerpts:

Conception of PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme

Says Rudolf that making decisions is crucial for successful and efficient operation in every industrial business process. Decision-making processes that are based on business goals must reflect both long-term strategies and the current operational situation. If the decisions are based on data and the pros and cons between the business process goals are machine evaluated, machine learned and optimized, business process owners and operators get the best possible benefit. “An optimized and explainable decision support is particularly helpful here. And this is exactly what PSI FLS and the specially developed Qualicision AI technology is all about. It combines both technical and economical business goals. An efficient, easy-to-use, and explainable software that is used for business process optimization is what we deliver. It is data-based, and balances out conflicting business process goals ahead of classic algorithms and provides for the performance that our customers across many industrial sectors appreciate.”

AI- Challenges galore

According to Rudolf, many of the industry’s industrial AI use cases have long been developed and in use. Perhaps in the pandemic time, the constant work with computers at home is an additional momentum. “But in my view, business processes in industry have evolved in their objectives rather because of the growing importance of topics such as digitalization, exploitation of data, sustainability and green energy or new possibilities to integrate automatized decision-making in context with many new important aspects in business processes. Therefore, the complexity of the processes has rather increased.”

PSI FLS Fuzzy Logik & Neuro Systeme AI solution

Qualicision AI stands for qualified support with decision-making when optimizing business processes. Qualicision technology was originally based on fuzzy logic which has been extended by a full stack of AI methods that combines the advantages of all of them. In this combination Qualicision AI helps to integrate decision-making expertise of people with business process know-how and connects it with data-driven AI. In addition, the Qualicision AI software has been extended by highly automated deployment. Machine-learned explainability mechanisms are part of it, too. In business processes there are a lot of pros and cons when decisions must be made. Therefore, uncertainty is intrinsic even if all data is clearly measured and in good shape. Automated recognition of these kinds of uncertainty, in particular stemming from the variety of the data and interaction between decision options, is extremely important. “Our Qualicision AI based tools help to identify and to exploit tolerances in the business processes and to optimize out uncertainty. Many use cases show that once Qualicision AI is introduced the business process efficiency increases by 10 to even 25 percent compared to the previous unoptimized status quo.”

Leadership traits

Trying to get inspired from people for whom and with whom you work and trying to inspire them, too. Everything else is the right technology you must have and the passion to work with it.  “When you work on something with passion, the thought of possible difficulties is more of a drive. This is especially true when you are working on the implementation of something you have been involved in from the beginning on.”

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