The Barbell Effect of Machine Learning

Abstract: Nick Beim, Partner at Venrock, will examine future impact of machine learning on the technology landscape and in particular its likelihood to democratize basic intelligence into software broadly and concentrate higher-order intelligence into the hands of a small number of incumbents who control their industries’ data. Against this backdrop, he examines where the most promising opportunity areas for startups will likely be.

Bio: Nick Beim focuses primarily on consumer, software, data intelligence and fintech investments, with a particular affinity for new machine learning applications. Nick led the initial venture investments in a number of today’s leading machine learning innovators including Dataminr, a pioneer in the field of real-time information discovery that applies machine learning to social media and other large public data sets, and Intent Media, which enables ecommerce companies to monetize their customer intent data assets with dynamic segmentation and on-site advertising. Nick’s consumer investments include Clara Lending, a full-stack online mortgage bank that is revolutionizing both the front-end consumer mortgage experience and back-end mortgage supply chain; Care.com, the largest global online marketplace for care services (IPO); and the Gilt Groupe, the largest private sale e-commerce company in the United States (acquired by Hudson’s Bay). Nick’s software investments include Centricient, a messaging-based customer service software platform; Conductor, the leading SaaS platform enabling enterprises to manage, monitor and optimize SEO; and OatSystems, the RFID application platform company founded by the team at MIT that developed the standards for passive tag RFID (acquired by Check Point Systems); and JBoss, which developed the most widely used open source application server (acquired by Red Hat). Nick’s primary passion outside of venture investing is international development, and in particular accelerating international development through entrepreneurship. Nick serves on the board of Endeavor, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries that Tom Friedman has called “the best anti-poverty program of all.” Nick is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as an Advisory Board Member at the Center on Global Energy Policy. In 2011, Forbes named Nick one of the “Elite 8″ to watch in Venture Capital.