CasperLabs, the open-source blockchain platform powered by the correct-by-construction Casper proof-of-stake consensus protocol, has raised $14.5 million in Series A funding led by Terren Piezer. The new investment will be used to accelerate product development and expand hiring of world-class engineers. Blockchain networks today have yet to achieve widespread adoption for both businesses and consumers because they all compromise on something — speed, efficiency, cost, flexibility, and/or security. Moreover, transaction fees are climbing and already-slow transaction times are increasing as networks become more and more congested. A better platform is needed to remove barriers to mass adoption – a platform that not only solves the “trilemma” of scale, decentralization, and security, but is also developer-friendly to build and operate apps. Enter CasperLabs, the “blockchain for builders” that’s built to scale opportunity for everyone in the blockchain ecosystem and beyond -- including developers, entrepreneurs, and consumers. "We are humbled by the enthusiasm and financial support for our Series A from leading traditional and blockchain investors to build enterprise-grade, decentralized blockchain infrastructure,” said Mrinal Manohar of ADAPtive Holdings Ltd., parent company of CasperLabs. “We look forward to delivering several interesting technical updates in the coming months and welcome any and all feedback via our open source code repository on Github,” added the Indian American.

Infosys Inaugurates Arizona Technology and Innovation Center

Infosys, a next-generation digital services and consulting firm, joined Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to inaugurate its Technology and Innovation Center in Arizona. Infosys plans to hire 1,000 American workers in the state by 2023. Infosys also announced that it has surpassed its Spring 2017 commitment to hire 10,000 American workers as part of its ongoing efforts to accelerate the pace of innovation for American enterprises. The Arizona Technology and Innovation Center, temporarily located at The Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, has a special focus on autonomous technologies, Internet of Things, full-stack engineering, data science and cybersecurity. Infosys' investment in Arizona will amplify top local talent alongside the best global talent to shrink the IT skills gap in the state. Hiring is currently in progress and the Center will move to its permanent location, a 60,000-square-foot facility, in the ASU Novus Innovation Corridor by 2020, and would accommodate up to 500 employees. "The inauguration of our Arizona Digital Technology and Innovation Center is an important milestone in our efforts to help American enterprises accelerate their digital transformations," said Pravin Rao, Infosys COO. "Our focus on digital change driven by data, cloud and experience is the foundation of our digital centers across the US." The Center includes a series of living labs, showcasing new prototypes in virtual reality, augmented reality and robotic technologies and serves as a space to foster co-creation, training and collaboration, among other features.

Indian American Owned Nakunj Inc Honored with Best Technology Award

Nakunj Inc., led by president and CEO Pramod Kunju, was honored with the Best Technology Company award. The award was presented at the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce's Annual Green & Technology expo. The award was presented for Nakunj’s Artificial Intelligence-based customer retention solution. Nakunj is built on a set of core values that it adhere to, which represent the core of its existence. They are “Empower our customers: We believe in empowering our customers with knowledge and skills to enable them to navigate the future by themselves; Trust and respect each other: We believe in creating and nourishing an environment of trust and respect with our partners and customers; Be ethical: We believe in being ethical in all our dealing, be it internal or external. We will not engage in any act that is against the ethical framework of our society; and Work in teams: We believe in team work. While delivering solutions to our clients, we work in teams, with full involvement of our partners from the client team.”

Professor Anshul Gandhi Awarded Rising Star Research Award

Stony Brook University computer science professor Anshul Gandhi has been selected by the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGMETRICS as the recipient of the 2019 Rising Star Research Award. The award recognizes Gandhi’s fundamental contributions to the analysis, modeling, design, and implementation of energy-efficient systems in data centers and cloud computing. Being selected as a Rising Star by ACM SIGMETRICS — a special interest group for the computer systems performance evaluation community — is an incredible distinction. SIGMETRICS rising stars have been chosen from world-renowned institutions such as Columbia University, Caltech, Tsinghua, University of Illinois-Chicago, Microsoft Research and MIT. Specifically, the Rising Star Research Award “recognizes a junior researcher who demonstrates outstanding potential for research in computer/communication performance evaluation.” Gandhi, who is also an NSF CAREER awardee, is broadly interested in systems and performance modeling, or applying theory to systems.

AI-Powered Insurmi Secures Funding

Insurmi, a conversational-AI powered customer engagement platform for insurance carriers, has secured an additional $1 million in funding to accelerate market expansion and grow the team at its headquarters in Phoenix. The round was led by Coplex. After turning industry heads when it debuted in 2017, Insurmi validated its model by attracting a diverse array of customers from across the insurance sector, including two Fortune 500 insurance carriers. This injection of capital further validates the demand for technology-driven solutions in the insurance industry to meet the needs of up-and-coming generations. “Today’s carriers are challenged by engaging with a consumer base that is now largely skewing toward 20- and 30-somethings. The Insurmi platform empowers them to create meaningful experiences and interact on the customer’s terms,” said Sonny Patel, founder and CEO of Insurmi. “This new capital injection will accelerate our growth and strengthen our position as true allies to insurance carriers to help them transform how they communicate and engage with the next generation of the insured.” Patel founded the company in 2016 after recognizing how unnecessarily cumbersome and outdated the process of buying and selling insurance was, particularly when taking into account the buying behaviors of millennials and Gen Z. He developed Insurmi as a solution that would simplify and take the guesswork out of the insurance buying process and has since evolved into a suite of digital tools that will enable carriers to continue to thrive throughout the 21st century.

By GIOVANNI ALBANESE Jr., India-West Staff Reporter

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