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Roboflow launches “Roboflow Universe,” a community hub for computer vision projects

Roboflow announced yesterday the launch of “Roboflow Universe” a community hub that allows anyone to share their computer vision datasets and pre-trained models with the world.

Up until today, everything that users have built with Roboflow has been private to that user’s account. The Roboflow team couldn’t see it, and the broader world couldn’t see it.

“And that makes a lot of sense for many of the commercial use cases that users are working on and building,” said Joseph Nelson, co-founder and CEO of Roboflow. “However, one thing that we’ve learned, and in some sense has been surprised by and encouraged by, is how strong the computer vision community is.”

Now, all Roboflow users will have the option to share their computer visions datasets and pre-trained models with others, enabling the community-at-large to be able to collaborate on projects and bring them to production faster. Roboflow Universe is launching with fifty open source projects. Some of the initial projects include detecting playing cards, finding mushrooms, and identifying plastic in the ocean.

“We’ve seen what the open source movement has done for the proliferation of code,” said Brad Dwyer, co-founder and CTO of Roboflow. “And we want to do the same thing for computer vision, we think by helping you all share your datasets together will help push this industry forward and pull the future towards us.

To date, more than 50,000 developers have used the service, with use cases ranging from protecting endangered species to accelerating microbiology research to cleaning the world’s oceans.

“We think that computer vision is one of those generational technologies, not that different than a mobile phone or your desktop computer, that every industry is going to make use of,” said Nelson. “We think that every company should be able to have access to this technology and be able to implement those capabilities with their existing software engineering teams.”

Along with the new rollout, Roboflow has updated its pricing model, making all of its advanced features free to anyone who makes their projects publicly available.

“At Roboflow we are working not only on creating the tools, but also the community, the education, and the ecosystem around enabling developers to build with computer vision,” said Nelson. And as always, we cannot wait to see what you all build next.”

Previous coverage

Roboflow raises $2.1 million seed round -Jan. 12, 2021

Roboflow accepted into Y Combinator’s Summer 2020 Batch -Aug. 25, 2020

Roboflow is streamlining the development of computer vision apps -Jan. 23, 2020

Roboflow launches "Roboflow Universe," a community hub for computer vision projects | Clay & Milk
A central Iowa ag-tech accelerator has secured more backers and finally has a name. The Greater Des Moines Partnership first announced the accelerator last year, naming four initial investors. On Monday, the Partnership said the program will be called the "Iowa AgriTech Accelerator" and named three new investors. The new investors include Grinnell Mutual, Kent Corp. and Sukup Manufacturing, all Iowa companies. They join investors Deere & Co., Peoples Co., Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. and DuPont Pioneer. Each investor has agreed to put up $100,000 for the first year of the accelerator. Startups entering the program will receive $40,000 in seed funding in exchange for 6 percent equity. Tej Dhawan, an angel investor and local startup mentor, is serving as interim director until the AgriTech Accelerator names a permanent leader. Dhawan held a similar role with the GIA before Brian Hemesath was named as managing director. As interim director, Dhawan said his main job includes hiring the accelerator's executive director, establishing a business structure and initial recruiting for the first cohort. The accelerator will place few filters, such as location and product, on the applicant pool, Dhawan said. "When you’re seeking innovation, innovation can come from every corner of the world so why restrict ourselves," he said. One area the the AgriTech Accelerator won't recruit from is biotech. For its first cohort, the AgriTech Accelerator will work out of the GIA's space in Des Moines' East Village, Dhawan said. A future, permanent home is still to be decided. The accelerator's program will host startups from mid-July through mid-October, ending with an event connected to the annual World Food Prize. The GIA, which the AgriTech Accelerator is based on, also ends with presentations at an industry event. The accelerator has also started lining up a mentor pool. The Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Association have agreed to provide mentors, as has Iowa State University. While the AgriTech Accelerator is loosely based off of the GIA, it will differ in its business structure, Dhawan said. The GIA runs through a for-profit model for both operations and its investment fund. The AgriTech Accelerator will have a nonprofit model for its operations and a for-profit setup for its fund. Dhawan said the nonprofit model is being used so the accelerator can better work with other nonprofit partners, such as trade associations. "These are all organizations that are nonprofits and can be amazing stakeholders without ever having to be investors in the accelerator," he said. "It becomes easier to work with trade associations in their nonprofit role when we are also a nonprofit." When it's up and running, the AgriTech Accelerator would be one of a handful of ag-focused startup development programs in Iowa. Others include the Ag Startup Engine out of Iowa State University and the Rural Ventures Alliance from Iowa MicroLoan. Matthew Patane is the managing editor and co-founder of Clay & Milk. Send him an email at
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