Deeplite co-founders Davis Sawyer, Ehsan Saboori and Nick Romano

My number one investing thesis for 2021 is around AI at the edge. As machine learning proliferates, there are so many small devices that can benefit from ML functionality. I expect AI to be in cameras, wearables, tvs, remote controls, vehicles, phones, headsets, computer peripherals, toys, games, clothing, glasses, appliances, and the list goes on and on.

The problem is — machine learning models are large and getting larger. More data, bigger models, more compute. That is the trend. But not all of these edge tools can be constantly cloud connected. Sometimes they can’t be for latency reasons. A few…


I originally wrote this post in 2012 on the Backupify blog. It has since been lost and my friend and colleague Rob Stevens managed to record it. Rob and I both think it’s a useful example of how to think about scaling marketing through the next phase of a startup, so I’m re-posting it now so it is findable. Some of the methods are dying, or less relevant, but, hopefully you find some gems that help your company.

Almost everyone in technology now knows the Customer Discovery process. All I hear from startups is stuff about “product/market fit.” …


Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

When I first entered the workforce, every business had a server closet where it kept the computers that ran the applications used daily by employees to run the business. Cloud computing changed that, and it is much less common now. But it didn’t stop application development, or innovation, and it certainly wasn’t anti-competitive in any way.

I think about GPT-3 from OpenAI in the same vein. Nothing about GPT-3 makes it difficult to build a startup in the NLP space. …


Before you trash everything I write in this, please read the whole thing so you don’t miss the nuance…

When I ran my first company I used to give these mini talks at our all-hands meetings every month. The goal was to expose the team to a new idea or perspective, and the second most controversial talk I ever gave was called “Why I Never Tell My Daughter She Is Smart.” It’s based on the research of Carol Dweck.

But before we get into that I want to tell you about my proudest moment as a parent. When my daughter…


Listen on: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

When I sold my first company, I was deeply intrigued by the corporate development role at the acquirer. How do they decide what to buy? How do they decide what to pay? How do they decide when to walk away?

If you are an entrepreneur, understanding the M&A process is crucial, but it’s one area where you probably have very little experience. For our second podcast season, we decided to uncover some of the secrets of M&A by talking to corp dev leaders across the spectrum.

In this season, we talk to big companies that are active acquirers like IBM


One of the things that VCs will tell you is that we love big markets, and the way we measure market size is usually called TAM, which stands for Total Addressable Market. I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs get tripped up on this in pitch meetings, that I want to lay out how I think about TAM as an investor, how I suggest entrepreneurs figure out the appropriate TAM, and how to think about different TAMs that have different traits.

The key word in “total addressable market” is the middle word “addressable.” If your business plan is to sell bottled water…


“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” — Ronald Reagan

“What we do now echoes in eternity” — Marcus Aurelius

I hate that I have to write this post, because I am primarily an economic voter, and I believe the by and large the Republicans (pre-Trump) had much much better economic ideas than the Democrats. In fact, I wrote a piece (subscription required) defending Trump’s economic ideas in the Boston Globe just…


Up until recently, it was assumed the Republicans would hold the Senate even if Trump lost the White House. The latest polls call that into question. While there is still a chance of a Trump win, and a chance even if he loses the Republicans keep the Senate, there is also a turn of events that could lead to a landslide loss for the Republicans.

The scenario works like this… as we get closer to the election, if it looks like Trump may lose AND the Senate goes Democrat, then Trump will be blamed for the loss, and have no…


When you want to train a machine learning model to discriminate between pictures of dogs and cats, you can show the model thousands of examples per minute because it’s all digital. If you want to train a robotic arm, using a machine learning model, to set a table, you can’t do it nearly that fast. Every iteration is governed by the laws of physics in the real world, and so having a robot do that tens of thousands of times may take way too long.

One way around this is synthetic data. If you create a virtual world that is…


The Technology: Real-Time Detection

I first met Josh and Ryan from Root AI back in 2018 when they were getting started with Root AI, and was impressed with their backgrounds and experience. But at the time, I knew nothing about indoor farming.

I’ve been very interested in robots for some time now because, with all the standardization in so many parts of the robot tech stack, it’s easier than ever to get a robotics company off the ground. But you need the right application. Indoor farming is one of those applications.

As I learned about this industry, I found out it is massive. Indoor…

Rob May

General Partner at PJC.vc, Author of a Machine Intelligence newsletter at inside.com/ai, former CEO at Talla and Backupify.

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